The first footage for Mad Max: Fury Road screened at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, and by all accounts it is utterly bonkers.
It’s impossible to say at this juncture whether Fury Road will be good or terrible, but either way it’s definitely going to be interesting. Starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, it’s the first Mad Max movie since Mel Gibson and Tina Turner starred in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome back in 1985.
The footage shown to Comic-Con’s Hall H included scenes of carnage and destruction, with Mad Max franchise director George Miller describing the movie as a “105-minute chase scene through the wasteland.” The trailer included a lightning tornado, a half-naked Tom Hardy being shaved, tattooed, and then suspended in a cage, and Charlize Theron as “Imperator Furiosa,” the leader of a group of women in mysterious white outfits. This movie adds a whole team of new female characters to a series that was previously very male-dominated.
Some are already comparing Fury Road to The Raid, an ultraviolent Indonesian action film that gained a cult following in 2012, but proved to be very divisive with critics.
Mad Max response remind me of The Raid 2 response. CAN'T WAIT— Film-Goon (@DepressedGod) July 26, 2014
The Mad Max Fury Road footage just shown in Hall H at #ComicCon was indescribable. Absolutely beautiful madness. Blood. Oil. Gasoline. 2015.— JCON (@jarrettconaway) July 26, 2014
Aside from the extreme content of the SDCC footage, another reason for the uncertainty surrounding this movie is that Fury Road has been beset by mishaps for years.
The film was actually shot all the way back in 2012, then went over budget and was subsequently stuck in post-production purgatory for the next two years. At one point, Warner Bros. had to fly a studio representative to its film set in Africa, to “get the film back on track.” Also, while filming in Namibia, the crew were accused of seriously harming local wildlife, thanks to the many car chase sequences being filmed on untouched land.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD sounds like the definition of a movie that does gangbusters in Hall H but gets "meh" response from moviegoers. #SDCC— Ray Subers (@raysubers) July 26, 2014
Possibly the oddest thing we learned from the SDCC panel was that Fury Road wasn’t made using a traditional screenplay, but instead was based on visual storyboard, much like a comic book. For this reason, the film will be very light on dialogue.
Mad Max: Fury Road is in the unusual position of being able to use SDCC’s Hall H crowd as a true test audience, as the film isn’t scheduled for release until 2015.
With most of this audience waiting for later panels like Marvel and The Hobbit, this crowd was a lot more like a “normal” cinema audience than a screening for serious Mad Max fans. So hopefully the extreme (and somewhat freaked out) reaction from Hall H will let George Miller know what to do when completing the film’s final cut.
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