Mad Max: Fury Road is the most incredibly fun, engaging, and just plain interesting action movie that has come out in as many years as I’ve been alive to care about movies. There are two examples that I think really bear that out over the last few days as the film has really sunk in.
First, the movie is so fun, and sunk such delightful claws in my mind that I find myself yelling “WITNESS HIM” or variations thereof at least ten times per day to different friends. My Saturday night D&D game this last week basically deteriorated into the three of us who’d seen the movie yelling quotes from it every two minutes or so and explaining why the party needed to immediately get a guitar gimp and a wagon for him to be mounted to. Yes, we were being those people who won’t shut up about a movie and irritate everyone around them for hours on end.
Thing is, that hasn’t really happened, in that bubbling uncontrollable way since I was a teenager. Mad Max: Fury Road is a nostalgia for the feverish joy of watching movies so fun that they just consume you.
Second, the sheer and amazing depth of every part of the film and its design became more and more apparent the more it rolled around in the back of my head, and the more random articles I happened to browse. Bits like this article explaining that the red-pajama guitarist from hell (named Coma-Doof Warrior because I don’t even know anymore), despite being on screen for five total minutes and having no dialogue, had enough backstory to practically have a script ready for his origin story by the summer. An interview with the actor/musician (because yes, he was playing guitar all day everyday for the shooting, even though it was dubbed over) Sean Hape gave an interview and revealed that Miller sat him down and gave him an extensive backstory:
“Miller created a grim backstory for the character: He was a child music prodigy who watched as his mother, also a musician, was beheaded. The boy was then found by Fury Road’s chief villain, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), mom’s severed head still in hand. Joe adopted the boy, who continued playing and grew up to be Joe’s troop-rallying rocker … the mask he’s wearing in the film, according to his backstory, is the face of his late mother, which he sliced from her skull.”
In any case, that’s the background for the true intent of this article, which is pointing out that Mad Max has one of the highest ratings in Rotten Tomatoes history. Now, we don’t normally put too much stock in such things, but in this case there was something incredible about just how universal the praise was. Of the 232 reviews catalogued by Rotten Tomatoes (I don’t have any reviews on there; there’s probably paperwork that I don’t want to fill out) only 4 critics have given it negative reviews. Let’s see who these critics are so that we can know to never ever listen to them again.
Avi Offer of NYC Movie Guru pans the movie as a boring B-movie and “we’re living in shallow times where people celebrate style over substance”. First of all, it should be “in which” not “where” since time is not a location except metaphorically. Second, this website looks like Geocities hung itself. Third, this critic once said unironically that a film was “Not nearly as funny as The Hebrew Hammer. “
Donald Levit of ReelTalk Movie Reviews says of Fury Road: “Just as fourth century Coliseum imperial panem et circenses grew and grew to a reported five thousand pairs of arena combatants, so, too, is always more excess ratcheted up to attract jaded moviegoers. Such stuff is as much cause as effect of dumbing down.” It does take a lot of something in order to only bother writing a 200 word movie review and still drop cut and pasted Latin instead of using colloquial English, but such stuff is as much cause as effect of pretentious writing. What’s an example of an action movie that he found memorable? Solomon Kane, a movie so bad that TK refused to even write a review after seeing it, and we managed to make him review The Client List.
David Edwards of The Mirror describes Fury Road as “noisy, explosive and visually spectacular but depressingly hollow”. How does Mr. Edwards’ opinion land on other big films? Well, he thinks that Fifty Shades of Grey is “sexy and stylish”, that Fury rather than being one of the best war movies in years is “a piece of unsubtle propaganda” and that Battleship was “like the very best junkfood”.
Mike LaSalle of SF Gate calls Fury Road “a long dull chase” and “entirely lacking in suspense, and with some clever but fake-looking special effects”. To be fair, Mr. LaSalle does admit that the film “isn’t bad”, but then again he liked The Gunman, enjoying “Penn’s particular aura of irascible integrity” that other critics merely interpreted as misogynistic assholery. In addition he thinks that the horrific Exodus: Gods and Kings is “a victory”.
One hint of hope for these critics? Not one of them gave Getaway a positive review.