One of next summer’s most anticipated movies is George Miller’s re-imagining of the iconic Mad Max. Filmed way back in 1979 and starring Mel Gibson in the titular role, the re-imagining had actually been stuck in development limbo for over two decades, when Miller (whom also directed the original trilogy) first tried to revive the franchise and planned to have Mel Gibson reprise his original role. Since then, a few things have changed. Mel Gibson has aged past the point that he felt comfortable playing the lead, and he may also have taken his “road warrior” moniker a little too literally in real life. Gibson notwithstanding, filming for Mad Max: Fury Road finally started in 2012, and after teases by way of photos and plot leaks, we ultimately have our first trailer for the film.
Tom Hardy (Locke) takes the mantle as Max Rockatansky, in a film that is more of a reboot than a sequel (although the events of the film take place after the first Mad Max, and re-imagine everything from that point on). He’s joined by Charlize Theron (A Million Ways to Die in the West) as the bionic-armed Imperator Furiosa, as well as Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and Zoe Kravitz (Divergent).
George Miller has described the film as both a “Western on wheels” as well as a “hundred and ten minute chase sequence”, and judging by the trailer, it seems to be a shrewd description. The footage is filled with lush cinematography of the post-apocalyptic frontier that occupies Max’s world (filming took place in the African country of Namibia), and the characters within the film are in constant movement and almost never static.
The fact that Miller is at the helm of a reboot of a film that he first launched over thirty years ago may be something of a refreshing thought for fans of the original trilogy. There is a sense of authenticity in the trailer (Miller has said that most of the effects are practical, with cars really being smashed and actors really performing stunts) and CG is kept to a minimum, only used to enhance the visuals rather than manipulate them. Even without his defining franchise, Miller has kept somewhat busy during the dormant stages of the Mad Max canon. He directed Babe: Pig in the City in 1998 and directed Happy Feet (2006) and Happy Feet Two (2011) a decade later. It appears, however, that talking pigs and penguins haven’t softened Miller, who is already planning a sequel to Mad Max: Fury Road.