Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Awesome Writing in Media, Pt.6: Mad Max: Fury Road

No, I haven't lost my mind, and I haven't been abducted by pod people. A Tomatometer score of freaking 98% fresh can't be wrong. Just trust me on this.

So, full disclosure, I haven't seen any of the previous Mad Max films. I've heard that they're good; hubs has seen them and enjoyed them, but I never had the chance to. Nothing against the movies--it's one of those things where the occasion to watch one never really came up (or there was something else I'd rather watch on). But I love a good action movie as my lucky husband can attest, though, to be fair, I'm game to watch pretty much anything. It's him who doesn't want to watch Sharknado...

The previews for Mad Max: Fury Road all looked as good as any summer popcorn blockbuster could--explosions, ridiculous vehicles, vibrant settings, lots of intense staring. Hubs and I agreed that it was one of the ones we'd see this summer (besides any Marvel outputs) that was an absolute must to view on the big screen.

Sorry, Pitch Perfect 2...you'll have to wait for Netflix.

Hey, stop throwing fruit--I loved Pitch Perfect (the first one), but you really can't argue that it's a must-see for a giant screen. It comes across as good on our television as in the theater. I'll see the second one, don't worry...keep your shorts on.

Anyway, a quick scan of the Internet with the husband's help caught me up on the Mad Max mythology, though it must be said (by me here, and by many others on the web) that you don't need to know much at all, if anything, about the previous movies and the timeline. Fury Road stands on its own, no Googling required, and isn't hard to follow.

In my effort to keep the majority of the posts under the Awesome Writing in Media tag spoiler-free, I do want to concentrate on why I chose this movie to appear in the series.

The writing (Fury Road was directed, produced, and co-written by the creator of the whole damn thing, George Miller), is a prime example of what editors (and writers) always tell you is best: showing, not telling. The dialogue is minimal--there are grunts and noises and spoken words, but actual conversations between characters is rare. Instead, we're treated to a talented group of expressive actors (and let's not forget the stunt people) showing us what is going on.

And show they do.

We don't hear Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa telling us that she's devastated about a new piece of information she's learned (sorry, I did promise no spoilers); instead we see her fall to her knees, face and body racked with emotion.

We don't hear Imperator Furiosa say what she intends to do, or why she's gone off track with her war rig; instead the reason is told to the audience through exposition.

We don't hear the reason Mad Max is, well, mad; instead we see the horrifying images that haunt him through violent, detailed flashes.

Mad Max: Fury Road is the best example I've seen in a long time of minimalism, at least in actual dialogue and writing. Now, that's not to say that there's no plot; that couldn't be further from the truth. The plot is heavy and driving, very like one of the intimidating vehicles seen on screen. The whole thing is a spectacle, and one of the most satisfying movies I've watched in a while.

It's a testament to George Miller's skill and vision that this movie (which, from what I understand, had quite a few bumps along the way to getting made) is as amazing as it is.

Have you seen Mad Max: Fury Road? What did you think?

xoxo Sarah

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