Just like landmark action movies The Matrix in 1999 or Die Hard way back in 1988, Mad Max: Fury Road did something wonderful for the genre: It raised the bar by doing everything right. Instead of approaching the genre as a throwaway story filled with fluff and nonsense, George Miller invested the film with great characters, a powerful villain, and a thrilling story which stops to explain or justify itself.
How did they do it? Let’s take a moment to point out 10 things Mad Max: Fury Road did perfectly.
1. The Storytelling is Lean and Mean
Fury Road doesn’t try to cram more story into the movie than necessary. In the words of a Los Angeleno vegetarian: It’s all organic.
2. All Show, No Tell
One of the best examples of the SHOW, DON’T TELL storytelling mantra in modern film.
3. It Doesn’t Over-Explain
Nearly everything is implied and we understand it perfectly, once again proving that gopod story doesn’t need to over-explain itself because the audience will get it.
4. Creative Action Sequences
It skips the typical action movie tropes to make each sequence unique and exciting.
5. Rich World with Implied Culture and Backstory
We experience a rich world filled with implied culture and backstory without beating us over the head with it. Did I mention the film doesn’t explain anything and we still understand all of it?
6. Everything Makes Sense
Everything makes sense within the world, from the self-sacrificing Val-halla religious ideals to the electric guitar player’s battle music.
7. Strong Female Characters
…even in a man’s world and in situations where they were “helpless.” You won’t be seeing any stereotypical Hollywood token resistance from these ladies!
8. A Strong Antagonistic Force
Immortan Joe pursues the protagonistic forces through the powerful force of his desire. Yes this same alpha male patriarch overturns his own car to avoid killing his own pregnant wife. Empathy? That’s the beauty of it. Since only see him in terms of his will versus that of the protagonist forces, other aspects of his character remain somewhat ambiguous, creating a more complex antagonist.
9. Proves CGI is No Replacement for Good Storytelling
Are the visuals incredible? Yes. But rather than relying on CGI as a crutch in place of good storytelling, Fury Road uses its SFX as a storytelling tool — the way it should be.
10. It Never Stops Entertaining
Rule #1: Never stop entertaining; don’t be boring. Here’s hoping filmmakers will take a cue from Fury Road and set out to make even an “action flick” a great cinematic experience.