Wednesday, May 13, 2015

George Miller reborn

I can't believe this is my first time writing about Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that opens tomorrow here in Australia. And I can scarcely believe I will wait until next Tuesday to see it, when ticket prices are cheaper for a night.

There are so many great posters for this movie that you'd figure I would have chosen that excuse alone as a chance to write about it, just to show them off and take vicarious credit for their awesomeness. (Many of them not commissioned by the studio -- I've gone conventional and chosen a studio one here.) Maybe I'll save that for another day.

Simply put, I am more excited for this movie than I have been for any since Gravity.

I broke my 2015 rule of not watching trailers in order to catch the first Fury Road trailer that was released, back in January or whenever it was. I felt I had a pretty good excuse: I wasn't expecting much from this movie, which seems like it was once scheduled for release as long ago as 2013, and a good trailer would have probably been needed to change my mind.

Did it ever. Since then I have been like a salivating dog, just waiting for May to arrive. 

I've left the subsequent trailers untouched. I want the rest of Fury Road to just wash over me next Tuesday, and the early critical indicators are that it will rush so fast and so hard that I'll be gasping for breath.

Seriously. It's got an 87 on Metacritic and a 98 on Rotten Tomatoes. I may be meeting a friend for drinks after work tomorrow, and I'm tempted to just pop straight over to a screening after that.

But I think the thing that's so crazy about how awesome Mad Max looks is that it's directed by the guy who directed the original Mad Max.

Although it may look like the visionary work of some hot shot who's fresh from his latest ground-breaking music video (or whatever today's cinematic proving grounds may be), nope, this is George Miller -- the same George Miller who directed Mad Max in 1979. (The same George Miller who also had a hand in both Babe movies and both Happy Feet movies, oddly enough.)

The same George Miller who is currently 70 years old -- an old dog still learning new tricks.

Just from the throbbing energy and scuzzy magnificence of that one Fury Road trailer I saw, it appears that Miller is not just back to his old form -- it appears that he's actually learning a new cinematic language.

I'd say it's a surprise that "they" "handed Miller the job," but it actually sounds like this is a treatment Miller himself has been working on for more than ten years. If something's been sitting with you that long, it's no surprise that you want to be the one who makes it -- even if you have spent the lion's share of the previous twenty years on children's movies.

A template exists for this type of thing, I suppose: Ridley Scott directing his own new Alien movie in Prometheus. The passage of time between the original Alien and Prometheus and the original Mad Max and Fury Road is very similar as well. The difference is that Scott has been as prolific as ever into his 70s, and continuing to demonstrate his visual ingenuity in each film (even though many of them have been a disappointment beyond the visuals). Miller, meanwhile, gave off the appearance of being retired -- or practically "retired" in the sense that he has not directed a movie for adults since 1992's Lorenzo's Oil.

Will Mad Max: Fury Road be even better than Lorenzo's Oil?

I guess we will just have to wait and see. 

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