A heavy metal apocalypse…
36 years after the original Mad Max, director George Miller returns to the iconic franchise for an update. As reboots go Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the most successful since Batman Begins in 2005. As with Nolan’s dark, gritty take on the dark knight, Miller refuses to tell the same story again with Fury Road a totally different story to the original Mad Max.
The world presented in Mad Max: Fury Road is nightmarish and obsessed with violence and greed whilst still remaining vibrant and colourful. The landscapes are so pronounced as to almost be overbearing but the star power of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron brings the human element of the story into sharp focus. Nicolas Hoult also impresses in an unrecognisable turn as Nux further cementing his position as one of Britain’s top actors.
While Hardy, Theron et al are very good it is the action sequences that are the real star of Fury Road. Imagine the car chase sequence from Blues Brothers but two hours long and set in a desert occupied by Tolkien’s murderous Orc’s and you are somewhere close to the constant high octane action that courses through Fury Road.
Underneath all the explosions and violence though there is a number of high quality performances, some stunning visual flair and cinematography and a memorable and fitting soundtrack. In this reboot Miller has created one of the most successful reboots and one of the best out and out action films in years.
George Miller’s last film before Fury Road was Happy Feet 2 in 2011. Happy Feet 3 should be interesting…
2001: A Space Odyssey meets Gravity to birth really long, never ending film.
Christopher Nolan’s work on the Batman franchise and much loved modern classics Inception and Memento among others ensured that Interstellar would be the most hyped film of the year. Already featuring 8 Oscar nominees and ranking an astonishing #23 on the revered IMDB top 250 have only increased the huge amount of interest in this film. Is Interstellar worthy of the hype? There is definitely a lot to admire here.
The script does not hold back on the science but always holds the audiences hand when things get a bit too technical. McConaughey is very good, particularly in the more harrowing, emotional scenes but he is in danger of being typecast as a Texan oddball talking in hushed tones. As Cooper, McConaughey manages to pull off devastated, doting father and full on action hero in the same role as well as being compellingly intense throughout. Nobody really competes with McConaughey when sharing the screen with him (aside from John Lithgow in earlier scenes) but Jessica Chastain impresses as Coopers daughter Murphy and it is nice to see Casey Affleck in a relatively big role considering recent failures.
The main triumph though in Interstellar is Hans Zimmer’s absolutely jaw dropping score. Some of the more lengthy, boring scenes (of which there are many – more on that later) are still kept engaging by Zimmer’s masterful cacophony and this is actually the only area in which Interstellar is a rival for 2001: A Space Odyssey (beloved by Christopher Nolan – it’s influence looms large throughout the entirety of Interstellar).
So Interstellar deserves all the plaudits then? Not quite for me. Despite the heavy subject matter this is still a movie drenched in Hollywood. Possibly the only film to have more endings than Return of the King, Interstellar feels like it is never going to finish with each new revelation taking impact away from what has preceded it. The constant allusions to love holding the key go from grating to downright ridiculous when Anne Hathaway delivers a soliloquy that wouldn’t be out of place in a Sex and the City movie and some of the more emotional scenes fall a bit too close to being manipulative for my liking.
There are two fundamental problems with Interstellar. Firstly it is far, far too long and as with The Dark Knight Rises the pacing is all wrong. The second half feels rushed with major plot points covered in single scenes whereas large parts of the first half are just flat out boring. Secondly the reason that Inception, Memento and even The Prestige were so good is they kept you guessing. Inception in particular was made magical by its ambiguity and debate still rages around the enigmatic conclusion. Nothing is left to the imagination with Interstellar though as Nolan explains what is happening every step of the way. A very good film for sure but a masterpiece? Definitely not.
IMDB TOP 250 #23
WON 1 OSCAR (5 NOMINATIONS):
Best Visual Effects