Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mad Max: Fury Road - Black & Chrome Edition

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I'm wondering if the song "You're Welcome" is meant to be sarcastic because I can't get that damn thing out of my head.  Oh, what an edition...what a lovely edition!

 

Mad Max:  Fury Road – Black & Chrome Edition – 5 out of 5

Without a doubt, I find Mad Max:  Fury Road to be one of the best action films of 2015.  The film perfectly marries practical stunts and computer effects, there’s a goddamn fire tornado in it, it’s a two hour chase scene that never gets old or repetitive, and it gifted us the badass that was Furiosa (which made a whole bunch of Men’s Rights Activists upset and cry like little babies—that was another blessing).  Not long after its release, the director; George Miller, stated that he wanted to release a black and white version of the film called the Black & Chrome Edition.  Sometimes when these re-releases happen, they are done just to have fans pay for the same movie again but with erroneous changes made to them.  Surely, this couldn’t be one of those things, could it?  I mean, the whole thing is re-rendered into black and white.  This isn’t like putting in some extended and deleted scenes and claiming it’s now an R-rated version of a movie in order to piggyback off of another movie that just made a killing and just so happened to be rated R, right?  Well, I picked up this version of the film and checked it out.  I gotta say:  It was worth every penny!

                                                                          Roadshow Films/Warner Bros. Pictures
Nothing was happening in this shot but it still looked badass.  Making it
black and white made it even more so.

Nothing about the story is changed with this version.  Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is captured by a mad warlord named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Bryne) and our wasteland hero seems like he’s going to end up being a blood donor slave to Joe’s War Boys army.  However, a driver for Joe; Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), ends up double-crossing Joe and attempts to escort his prize wives away from his rule and to a fabled land of green and life.  Max ends up coming along for the ride as Joe and his army follow and attempt to reclaim the women.  What follows next is pure awesomeness!

                                                                         Roadshow Films/Warner Bros. Pictures
He may be a mad warlord but at least he always has a smile on his face.

So, can something as simple as making a vibrant and visually stunning action film in grayscale really change the entire tone of the film?  That answer is obvious because it does.  The thing is Mad Max:  Fury Road can easily be written off as a popcorn summer blockbuster action film filled with loud noises, explosions and a rocking score but the film actually is a whole lot deeper than that.  The film explores themes of redemption, solidarity and personal independence.  The movie breaks away from Hollywood tropes and dares to show that a female action star is just as good as the male (which pissed off so many dudes with extremely fragile masculinity) and it defied norms by having two leads of opposite gender act as comrades in war rather than potential breeding ground for romantic relationships.  The film has layers with its roaring engines and that awesome truck with the guy playing guitar on it.  Transferring the film from color to black and white only seemed to enhance the tone and its themes of survival in a god forsaken world.

                                                                         Roadshow Films/Warner Bros. Pictures
I really, really, REALLY want a Furiosa solo film.

Removing all color from the film not only made for a new breed of striking visuals for the movie, it also made the whole ordeal that Furiosa, Max and the escaping brides of Immortan Joe are going through feel that much more bleak.  Enhancing the dread that was their mission and their whole world really upped the stakes to the conflict and ended up making their victory feel that much more momentous.  Granted, there are some minor moments that lose impact due to the loss of color but, for the most part, this was an exciting new way to see an already amazing movie.

                                                                          Roadshow Films/Warner Bros. Pictures
I ask this a lot but is there a role that Tom Hardy can't nail?
The dude is insanely talented.

Now the real question is:  Is this the definitive version of the film?  George Miller seems to think so but I don’t agree with that.  I don’t really think this is better than the theatrical version—in fact, I think both of them stand pretty equally and I can’t put one over the other. 

                                                                          Roadshow Films/Warner Bros. Pictures
My army would probably have a truck that has a dude playing the recorder
on it--just because that's most likely all I'll be able to afford during the apocalypse.

                                              Roadshow Films/Warner Bros. Pictures
I really don't understand how anyone can hate this
film.

The original is a punch to the face of pure, uncut awesome and this one is the same film but with a different tone thanks to the black and white.  It’s still a punch to the face of epicness (totally a word) but it’s done so with an existential feeling of dread that acts as a chaser.  Usually, when films are re-released as new editions and re-edits, it’s pretty easy to put one over the other because they are often either an improvement or a waste of time (or a marketing gimmick to get more money from the film) but this is the first case where I’ve sat down and said, “This is just as good as the original edit.”  In fact, the Black & Chrome Edition feels like a terrific companion piece that somehow places itself and the original into an infinite loop that constantly reinforces the other and is making each other better.  Overall, Mad Max:  Fury Road – Black & Chrome Edition isn’t an improvement because the film never needed improving.  It’s just another way to watch and appreciate an already amazing feature and to digest it in a whole new way that is as equally amazing as what came before it.

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