I’ve heard Mad Max: Fury Road described as a non-stop adrenalin fuelled chase sequence from start to finish. This kind of thing is often said about films like this and is often a well-meant over-statement but this was often presented by reviewers as a literal truth in this case. Fortunately this isn’t really the case and there are quite a few bits of slower paced stuff which are often really well done.
The world is brilliantly realised and beautifully shot with stunning natural landscapes cleverly enhanced with digital imagery. I’ve read great things about the effects in this film, that the CGI is unobtrusive and used to great effect to enhance physical effects, props and landscapes. While it is true that many of the scenes are favourably enhanced by digital effects that you wouldn’t even notice are there, unfortunately there are also a lot of very obvious and over the top CGI effects that somehow cheapen the marvellous subtle ones. It is a bit of a shame really as the practical effects are really good and are greatly enhanced by a little CG in the background.
There is an interesting article discussing the use of visual effects in Fury Road with a lot of before/after shots here. I think you can see from the comparison images that a lot of times the digital effects improved on the scene and some times made it worse by going way over the top.
Of course, one of the most important things in a Mad Max film is the cars and this film definitely does not disappoint on that front. Every vehicle is outrageously over the top and embellished in a number of ridiculously impractical ways. Outrageously large engines and improbable superchargers poke out of holes cut into bonnets, fire belches out of exhausts and stupidly oversized wheels are bolted on to tiny vehicles. Most of the modifications obviously have no practical application but look spectacular.
Likewise the action sequences are well choreographed, exciting and predictably over the top. Of course there is a lot of hurtling around in the cars and trucks with spectacular crashes and explosions that you won’t be disappointed with.
Much of the plot makes no sense but really that’s not what we are watching a Mad Max movie for anyway. After the original, the plot has made progressively less sense and been less important for each incarnation. It seems a bit odd that the world could have changed so much in what appears to be one generation, after all Max was originally a cop in a world not dissimilar to our own and Furiosa was born when the world was green rather than dry dessert.
It also seems odd that after the world was essentially destroyed fighting over water and gas, as established in the opening credits, that the people would waste these things so prolifically. OK so tyrants often waste precious resources to intimidate their subjects and reinforce their power but you would have thought in a future where petrol is scarce that driving massive fuel guzzling V8s with turbo chargers and nitrous injection would not be such a great idea. Since sun and wind seem plentiful maybe everyone should be driving electric cars. Now there’s a thought for a sequel, Max could have his interceptor powered by electric motors and be able to creep up on the baddies with their noisy V8s!
As for the girls pouring precious water all over the desert floor just to have a wash that is totally outrageous behaviour even today in that kind of environment.
At the points where the film slows down and allows characters and viewers alike to catch their breath, the interactions between characters are realistic and believable. I never felt impatient for the action to carry on or that a slow scene was getting in the way of the pace of the film.
Overall more like Mad Max 3 than the original, an over the top nitrous fuelled chase movie to be sure and full of plot holes, dodgy effects and odd acting but great fun while your disbelief switch is firmly in the off position.