What a lovely movie. But it was also one of many, nay! More than many: infinite rehashes. It was directed by George Miller, the same man who brought this franchise into existence, so in a way it’s purer than its contemporaries. Certainly it’s a fabulous flick against which I can make no complaints. It was both elegant and cacophonous. Mayhem imagined with such clarity that every stupendous feat felt absolutely serene. Chaos could not be made more ordered.
But during the coming attractions I became despondent. Each and every film preview that preceded the screening of Mad Max Fury Road was a remake, a sequel or an adaptation save one: A new horror thriller from M. Night Shamoolgorth called “The Visit” because that’s how he titles every movie he’s ever made. There was also some Joseph Gordon Levitt movie based on the guy who walked on a tight rope between the twin towers. They already made a movie about that though. It was called Man on Wire, a documentary, and it will always be superior to whatever new monstrosity they’ve concocted deep in their summoning pits. The list goes on: Ant Man, Jurassic World, Fantastic 4. Even a Vacation remake… or sequel?
Ed Helms stars in this 2015 Vacation as Chevy Chase’s son, and he flippantly tells his family, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know about the original Vacation. This is the new Vacation!” It’s meant as a joke but the words rumbled out across the audience like the hollow song of a plastic reaper. It does not matter because nothing matters. This is the valley of gilded garbage. Beyond here lies only greed.
Then Fury Road began and I knew that all was not lost. In this vision of a hellish radioactive world I saw a man named George Miller driving a flaming masterpiece through the remake blockade with all the gusto and fervor deserving of Mad Max. As suicidal warboys spray painted their teeth chrome in the anticipation of a glorious death, when Max disappeared into the night to return splattered in the blood of his enemies, when the green eyed Imperator collapsed without hope against a sand dune that seemingly stretched against the entire empty bosom of planet Earth: In these moments I knew hope.
Good movies can be made. For I was watching one. And the hero was a woman named Furiosa.