Mad Max: Fury Road may prove to be not only the manliest movie of 2015 but probably the seminal home release for manly movies too, although the four-pack quadrilogy of the Mad Max series could be up there too. This is a review of the 3D Blu-Ray release for Fury Road, but also covers the standard 2D release and its features, since that is included by default. I thoroughly enjoyed this release, the picture improved from the theatrical version and the extras are packed with people who clearly had fun in creating this classic for us – which makes for great extras.
You don’t really need to now much plot-wise, for an animal like this. We’re deep in the post apocalypse and a tyrant, Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne) begins chasing a leader of a band of scavengers, Imperator Furiosa, after she ‘rescues’ his wives. Joe was keeping the seed flowing, see, since humanity was on its deathbed. Joe and Mad Max, the desolate shell of a man we know, but not the same Max from the original movies, have history, thus Max agrees to assist Furiosa’s crew and make good their escape.
The film is an assault on the senses, George Miller pins you to your chair and slaps you across the face back and forth. But in a good way. The speed is there, you can feel it, and the movie is mostly practical apart from the occasional noticeable greenscreen. When a car is wrecked in this movie, forget it – it’s written off in the real world. This counts for gearheads, we need to smell that gasoline and pungent rubber burning. There are monster trucks, there are black on black Interceptors and there are roaring engines that clearly need an oil top up. There is violence that simply does not belong anywhere outside an ‘R’ rated specification.
After over a decade of watching movies with chase sequences that were so ineptly filmed that I often had to resist the urge to get up and walk out, George Miller shows ’em all how it’s done. This is how real speed and action is put to screen.
Now let’s talk Blu-Ray shop. When I caught the movie in 3D before, I adored the film but less so the three dimensional experience. There are two problems there, at least, one that we know of and another that I suspect is still hanging around. The first is that the film is a post-conversion job, so something that isn’t built from the ground up isn’t going to be thoroughly astounding as something that is, like Avatar for instance. The second problem with theatre 3D is that many cinemas simply have two reels of film (for both eyes) layered over one bulb, and that darkens the experience. You also lose resolution, I haven’t been in a cinema that is active 3D.
The story is different on Blu-Ray. I always notice a difference in a movie witnessed in 3D on the big screen with those flimsy passive glasses and the privately owned 1080p 3D panel, with active glasses powered by their own batteries. That difference is appreciable here. Fury Road looks more vivid, the colours are more alive. While I wouldn’t care to check the movie itself again on the big screen in 3D (I would like to see it again in 2D), the 3D version of the home release is the one I’ll return to on repeat viewings. It’s not on hypnotic Avatar (1080p 3D ative) levels, but it is mostly superior to the 2D version and sometimes, downright astounding in ways that 2D can’t impress.
There is around 90 minutes of extras for the Blu-Ray release. These are made up of six documentaries and a series of deleted scenes. You get around five minutes of deleted footage, although they are not entirely special. Those looking for that ton of extra footage that is rumoured to exist will be disappointed. Although they’re mildly interesting they are ‘work print’ in nature. The two heftier documentaries here are the making of, Maximum Fury 30 minutes and my favourite extra, Fury on Four Wheels – a feature on the vehicles. What I like about the first documentary is that it highlights just how practical the movie was. There may have been scenes in there that looked entirely CGI, I know I had that suspicion, but you’ll find the stuntmen (a lot of them in this production) will talk you through how they did it, and lived to tell the tales.
Fury on Four Wheels gives us a look at the vehicles. And if you’re like me, this is right up your street, just like the crew and producers here, because they genuinely like giving us a tour of the hardware. It’s not faux PR like we too often see. They know their blowers and their nitro from their nitrous. And yeah, the Black on Black is gushed over. And you know what? Hearing Hugh Keays-Byrne salivate over how much he enjoyed driving his rig is a sight to behold in itself. And by the way, the docos on this disc are not those shitty EPK things that will float around YouTube. Too big, too long, too full bitrate 1080p.
So, to sign off, I was like a pig in shit with this Blu-Ray release. I love the film and I love the home release. In fact, now I’m starting to eyeball some of those special editions…