Hollywood in the 21st century is obsessed with trashing its best work from the 20th century with sequels, prequels, reboots, and re-imaginings. Tim Burton personally has been on a crusade of attempting to ruin the things I love from my childhood, including but not limited to PLANET OF THE APES, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and SWEENEY TODD (yes, I was into Sweeney Todd as a child, but that’s a different topic entirely).
Like is often the case, when a sequel to something that has been on the shelf for more than thirty years comes on the horizon (I’m looking at you, new Bladerunner), the greatness of the original is exactly proportional to the amount that I will bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening. As you may recall, discussion of the new Mad Max project has been in various incarnations since at least the early 20-nothings.
And I’m not entirely against reboots and remakes of genre films. Particularly, if the original has glaring issues that could be updated and re-styled in a way to give pull it off the nostalgia shelf and make it interesting for a new generation, I’m all for it. I’ve always used LOGAN’S RUN as the perfect example for this. Although a great movie, the hokey 70s Mr Roboto effects and shopping mall interiors make it a perfect candidate for an update (I actually read a pretty good script that went through a number of adaptations when I first moved to Los Angeles that could have been a fascinating version, but to my knowledge it never went into production. Please correct me if I’m incorrect on this one, because I pay zero attention to industry gossip).
But FURY ROAD has that special something that most twenty+years out sequels don’t have, and I can articulate it in two words,
George Motherfucking Miller.
George Miller, the writer/director/producer of the original Mad Max Trilogy, is at the helm of this sequel. It’s not being handed off to Tim Burton, or McG, or even his inscrutableness himself, JJ Abrams. THE man, the director of BABE, and possibly the bummeriest of all bummer films, LORENZO’S OIL. Mr Mad Max himself is in charge, and he cast two of the two weirdest stars in LAlaland to scrape their pretty faces in the sand in Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, who, if you gotta cast pretty people, are very likely just creepy enough to swing the job of anti-industrial-future-that-never-was-wasteland-wanderers.
Now I don’t know anything about the script, I don’t know anything about the plot, except what I can extrapolate from the previous MAX films, and Miller’s work generally (excluding HAPPY FEET, which bothers me most in that the third act was pure propaganda, even if for the right agenda). And based off what I know about George Miller, there will be tons of revenge, chasing, crashing, stoicism in the face of near martyrdom, bizarro-gender-role-deyfing costumes, oddball plot twists, and a nearly seamless world-building that glides you into a reality that is almost officially NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, but will make a remarkably compelling, yet grotesquely beautiful cautionary tale about mankind’s trajectory on this planet.
It’s going to be good. Tom Hardy is going to grunt, and get beat to holy hell. Charlize is going to get seven kinds of wacky. Nameless dudes in headdresses are going to jump off of tanker trucks at speeds only acceptable in Australia. Man the sonic, spin the wheel, fire up the gyro, look into the night sky and collect your shotgun shells, because Mr Dead is hot on Captain Walker’s trail, and it’s gonna be big, i tell ya, BIG!