Witness! Mad Max: Fury Road

Watch: Mad Max: Fury Road

On the surface this film may seem like a two-hour car chase, but when you look at it more closely, it’s a story of redemption. The focus is mostly on the character of Furiosa and her mission to liberate the captive wives of the tyrannical Immortan Joe. While Max who is haunted by his past and has spent many years living in the Australian wasteland has become rather feral. He ends up helping Furiosa with her mission and in turn begins his journey of redemption. And finally we have the warboy Nux who during the course of the film finds something much greater to die for than the fanaticism that he was raised on.

I’m inclined to call this film a piece of art, especially compared to other actions films that were released this year. For films that have been released in the past year or so, in terms of visual style and intensity, it is matched only by the phenomenal World War 2 film, Fury. That’s not to say other action films released this year were bad -I really enjoyed Age of Ultron, Chappie and Ant ManFury Road was just different. It probably also helped that of the aforementioned films, Fury Road didn’t have the same level of expectation associated with it.

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are both excellent in their respective roles, which to be honest is unsurprising, they more often than not give wonderful performances (sometimes making them the best thing in the film, Theron in Snow White and Hunstman for example). What was surprising to me though was the performance from Nicholas Hoult as Nux; I didn’t actually realise it was him at all while watching the film for the first time. I still find it strange to think he is the same young boy that was in About a Boy, but here is a grown man and quickly becoming a damn fine actor.

A film like this is often reliant upon great special effects and those that are bored with the oft used Computer Generated Images will be pleased to find that practical effects are used quite extensively for the action with some CG being used to enhance the scenes; such as the great sandstorm.

The cinematography and the musical score (provided by Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL) are outstanding. There’s a scene just over half way through the film where Furiosa is kneeling in a desert and it’s incredibly beautiful, which in turn makes it one of my favourite scenes in the film. It was in fact listening to the score after seeing the film that fuelled my desire to see it a second time.

The world which George Miller has built over the past thirty years since the last Mad Max is quite astonishing. I firmly believe that this is the best of the four films and look forward to seeing what ideas are explored in the next film.

Read: Mad Max: Fury Road Comics

The Fury Road comics fill in some backstory in the film and for those interested in how all four films fit together, adds some details to that too. There’s four comics in total, one that outlines how Immortan Joe became the man we see in the film and how Nux became a Warboy. There’s also the Furiosa comic which explains why she is helping the wives escape the Citadel and is possibly the most interesting of the four comics. The other two comics are of course focused on the titular character of Max and although it is mostly focused on a stand-alone event, it does also add some detail that would link the original trilogy with the new film. The artwork in each comic is great while the writing is typical Mad Max so fans of the universe won’t be disappointed. Although you don’t need to read the comics to fully understand and enjoy the films I do feel that if you are a fan of the universe then the extra detail the comics offer is enough satiated your desire for me. At least until the next film is released.

Listen: Mad Max: Fury Road OST by Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL)

Regardless of whether it be a score to a film or game or an album by a band/musical artist, a truly great piece of music is a journey that will explore many facets of the emotional spectrum while also entertaining and inspiring the listener. This score does exactly that.

Pounding drums, gorgeous synthesisers and strings as well as crushing guitars traverse the musical soundscape from adrenaline fuelled intensity to haunting and serene. As one might expect from a film that is, on the surface, a giant car chase, the music is often very intense and adrenaline fuelled (Brothers in Arms, Claw Trucks, Chapter Doof) however there are also moments where the soaring notes will reduce my beating heart and racing mind to an almost standstill (particularly the track Many Mothers).

Before seeing Fury Road I wasn’t aware of Holkenborg’s work, however due to brilliance on show here I shall be listening out for his future compositions, while also exploring his back catalogue to see what I have missed.

Recommended: Cyberpunk

Read: Ghost in the Shell (by Shirow Masamune)

A Japanese Manga that follows the fictional Public Security Section 9 which is charged with investigating and subduing cybercrime and cyber terrorism. The Manga is a good mix of action and intellect, sometimes delving into philosophical questions such as what makes us human. It should be noted however, that this is very much an adult book as there are scenes of violence and sexual content.

The Manga is available from Amazon (at time of writing) for about £20. I recommend checking your local comic book store too just in case 🙂

Ghost in the Shell

Watch: Blade Runner (Dir by Ridley Scott)

A beautiful film with gorgeous visuals, a wonderful musical score and a very personal story. A book adaptation that differs to the source but without losing its soul. Based upon Philip k. Dick’s seminal Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Blade Runner, tells the story of Deckard, a man who earns his living by hunting rogue Replicants (synthetic humans designed to work off world).

At time of writing Blade Runner is available on Blu Ray and DVD from Amazon for less than £10.

Blade Runner

Listen: Blade Runner OST (by Vangelis)

The album is a wonderful mix of sounds that invoke familiarity and otherworldliness; a haunting and beautiful piece that will transport you to a very personal world. I find this album is a great option when you want to work or relax on a rainy night.

At time of writing the standard verison of the OST is available for about £5 from Amazon.

Blade Runner OST

Play: Shadowrun Returns (Dev by Harebrained Schemes)

Based upon the Tabletop RPG game, Shadowrun Returns is a Science Fantasy turn based Role Playing Game. It combines fantasy elements like magic and races such as elves and orcs with science fiction elements like cybernetics and hacking to create something a little different. It’s a classic style RPG with no voice acting but a fair amount of reading which had me completely immersed and delighted.

At time of writing the game is available for around £10 from GOG.com, Steam, and HumbleBundle.

shadowrun Returns

If you have any other Cyberpunk recommendations then please leave them in the comments below.