I think anyone who reads this site and pays attention to bylines knows my thoughts on nostalgia. Heck, I wrote a whole piece last week saying horrible things about Krull more or less for that very reason. I wasn’t planning on seeing the new Mad Max at all for a number of reasons, ranging from not being a Mad Max fan to being generally against remakes. But the reviews started coming in very positive, and Ryan and Watson were both raving about it, and hey, Ryan may like Krull, but Watson sure didn’t (he likes Clue), so that means there’s a variety of opinion out there.
So, I went. And I loved it. Further SPOILER-FREE comments after the cut.
First off, you don’t need to be a fan or have a lot of knowledge about Mad Max to dig the movie. What little you need to know is dispensed in the first few minutes and that’s about it. This movie is basically an excuse for a two hour car chase through the least habitable parts of Australia. Max might as well be along for the ride. And that’s OK!
This is how to do a revamp. Stick to the basic ideas, updates things as needed, but do it with an appreciation for the source material and not because people might be willing to fork over money for something left over from their childhood. Above all, it has to be a good story with an interesting conflict and (for a movie like this) plenty of exciting set pieces to keep an audience rooted in their collective seats no matter how much that small soda is making their bladder want to flee the room for relief. And for that matter, since a lot of movies and sequels in the script stage don’t start off as a sequel or remake of something…don’t make it look like that’s what you did. This particular story was probably always a Mad Max story. That helps.
It also helps that Max isn’t a particularly complicated character with a complicated backstory. Writer/director George Miller created Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic world, cutting his teeth with movies that made due with practical effects because he didn’t have any other choice. Miller knows how to throw together a crazy car chase. Now, bringing back an original creator isn’t always a good move. George Lucas stepping away from the director’s chair is generally the best that can be hoped for with Star Wars these days, and if half the stuff I’ve heard about Gene Roddenberry’s work on Star Trek for both the original movie and Next Generation are true and he envisioned a setting where there was no conflict between people (AKA the origin of all drama), then having him as hands off as possible before he died may have been the best for all involved.
But seriously, if all you want is a popcorn flick involving crazy spiked cars, explosions, and a warlord with his own traveling rock band, then this will be the movie for you.
It makes me wish Miller had made that Justice League movie he was supposed to at one point.
Let’s say 10 out of 10 skull-steering wheels.