HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Mad Max: Fury Road (Black and Chrome Edition)
HTS Overall Score:88
Like always. Anything new (being that I've reviewed the film in the past) will be bolded so you can immediately skip to those portions if you don't want to re-read anything from the past review.
I think “Mad Max: Fury Road” has been released 5 different times on Blu-ray (or at least 5 different editions). We first had the 2D combo pack and the 3D combo pack released back in 2015, then early this year we got it once again. This time it was the 4K UltraHD pack. We all knew that George Miller had stated that he really liked a black and white rendition of the movie and it was his preferred vision, but sadly that never made it to market until now. Last month the “Black and Chrome Edition” was slipped inside of the giant mega “Mad Max: High Octane” collection which housed the first three movies, “Fury Road’ on UltraHD and this disc here today. Now, a month later, it’s been given an individual release in a 2 disc setting containing the “Black and Chrome” version of the film as well as the regular 2D Blu-ray.
I have to say that this has been the hardest review I’ve had to write in my career. “Mad Max” has been a staple of my life since I was in my teens, watching Mel Gibson play the famous road warrior across three films. Years later George Miller has resurrected the franchise with “Fury Road”, a weird hybrid of remake, reboot, and sequel all in one. I was stoked beyond belief when I heard a new “Mad Max” film was coming to the big screen, and even more excited with Tom Hardy as the lead character. When the film hit theaters the response by critics and filmgoers alike was INSANE! The film STILL holds a 98% on rottentomatoes and I haven’t found more than a handful of professional reviews that has anything bad to say about the movie. However, I went opening night and left with jaw hanging to the floor, and unfortunately it was not out of awe and amazement. Leaving the theater I would have rated the film 1.5/5 straight off the bat. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I saw nothing of the “Mad Max” I grew up with and the complete lack of verbal storytelling was horribly off putting. Everyone said I was nuts, didn’t know what I was talking about, or just looked at me in stunned surprise when I said I wasn’t a fan. No matter how much I disliked it, I decided that I wanted to see what other people saw, so I went back a second time, gestated over the material and still didn’t feel any better. It took me going back and watching the original 3 to realize, even the original movies weren’t that good. Their redeeming factor was having Mel Gibson be the lead, as his charisma can cover a lot of sings. Fast forwards 3 months and I now have the Blu-ray disc in my hand, as well as a plethora of things gleaned from discussions on the forums about the nuances of the film in my mind. Watching it not once, but twice on my home theater, along with several months of gestating between my disappointing theatrical experiences, allowed me to see it in a new light.
Welcome to a world of insanity. Where the world has gone post-apocalyptic, and the survivors live under the rule of warlords and savages while driving nitrous fueled muscle cars and serve as vicious “war boys” to their masters. One such Warlord, named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Burn), rules with an iron fist in his little corner of the world and his tyranny has led to much pain and suffering. Our titular hero, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is captured by Joe’s men and used as a universal blood donor, nicknamed meatbag, to the radiation poisoned war boys. After the escape of his second hand woman, Furiosa (Charlize Theron), with his favorite breeding wives, Immortan Joe sets off on a deadly road chase to get his women back and exact revenge on Furiosa.
I can’t really say much more than that, since, there really isn’t much more to say about the film. The rest of the movie is 95% just one big action scene with Max, Furiosa, a war boy named Nux (Nicholas Hoult, who steals every scene he’s in), and the fleeing wives all doing their best to stay alive. Furiosa grew up outside of Immortan Joe’s grasp, and remembers her childhood home, full of green and hope, and is taking her wards there. However, 20 years later, there may not be a home to go to.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=85890[/img]I’ve gone from abject despising “Mad Max: Fury Road” to rather enjoying it, but I make no bones about pointing out that it’s the most over rated movie of the year. While it may not seem obvious on the surface, there is definitely plot in the movie. The only thing is that it’s all told through the action and the looks between the characters. Watching Furiosa and Max interact at the beginning of the film, and then watch their characters form a bond under the heat of battle. By the end of the movie you can see their growth and their trust in each other forming, but if you’re just paying attention to the words you’d never see that. Nicholas Hoult is simply fantastic though, even though he’s only a co-lead, he’s completely likeable and somehow even relatable as the crazed war boy Nux. He’s desperate to prove himself to a god/warlord and secure a place for himself in the afterlife. Like most young boys, he just wants affirmation from his father figure, even if that father figure is a crazed lunatic like Immortan Joe. Interesting little tidbit here, Immortan Joe is played by Hugh Keays-Burn, who is the SAME actor who played “Toe Cutter” in the original “Mad Max” film. They aren’t the same character in the film, but it is certainly neat that George Miller cast one of his old actors in this 20 year remake/reboot/sequel (whatever it is).
What makes this movie special is the incredible use of practical effects in the movie. The entire 90 minutes of road race (with the rest of the movie being more laid back), we see George Miller revel in a sort of insane action that is not seen in modern movies. Pretty much EVERY car explosion, every stunt, every flip of a vehicle was all done with real cars, real wirework, and real booms. There was barely a drop of CGI used for the whole movie in terms of action. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of CGI, as the compositing works to get the landscape to looks so stylistic utilized a lot of CGI, but the action stunts and fight scenes was 100% practical, and it shows!
All being said, I ended up enjoying “Fury Road” more than I originally did, but still can’t see it as the masterpiece that the internet has been raving out. It’s certainly insane, and the action work is something that has been lost over the decades, with constant use of CGI eroding a well setup practical effect ridden movie, but I can’t get over the fact that the whole experience seems overwhelming and more than a bit tedious in the second act. I had fun enough watching it on my home theater, and the Blu-ray is nothing short of magnificent, but I can’t seem to find the same levels of enjoyment that appears to have taken over the rest of the world while watching.
Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52698[/img]“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a visually stunning film no matter if it is in color or this new black and white grading. Whether you like the new grading or not, I have to admit that it makes for a different viewing experience when compared to the burnished reds and oranges of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Gone are the over saturated colors that made it a burning nightmare for the participants, and in its place is a grey and white land of bleakness and despair. The film has very obviously been regraded and some chroma changes have been done to adhere better to the black and white look of this new image. I have to say that I actually LIKE the “Black and Chrome” version of “Fury Road” as I noticed several distinct changes to the viewing experience. The first was that the chaos and insanity of the battle is more subdued. The craziness is still there, but you can focus on the individual characters and cars more in this version. They seem to stand out and are more in focus when the colors have been drained out of the chaos. An oddity that is decidedly pleasing. The other is that certain characters stand out in the foreground more while others kind of blend into each other. Immortan Joe is more menacing and his pale face is almost luminescent against the sun bleached landscape, while the surging masses begging for water at the beginning blend together into a seamless mass.
Now, there are some mild changes that may seem less than inviting too. The 5 wives of Immortan Joe are less distinct and noticeable without their hair colors and skin tones making them visually distinctive, and the masses of invading minions tend to be less recognizable on an individual level. Not to mention Max’s blood going through the tubes on top of the car are less noticeable and rather bland. It all really depends on if you’re a fan of black and white cinematography or not. Neither version is left out in this edition so you have a choice at your fingertips, but I actually enjoyed “Fury Road” just a little bit more this go around after seeing the color drained away and regraded. The only major complaint I have is that Warner has made this disc a slight bit more compressed than the 2D regular version (21 mbps on average) and there is a lot of unused disc space available that could have gone towards making a crisper encode in my opinion.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=85898[/img]I’m still in shock, and I don’t mean that I’m shocked at how good the sound is, or how loud it was. I’m talking full on military PTSD shock after this sonic assault on my ears. I remember it being aggressive in theater’s, but this is beyond amazing, as the Dolby Atmos track just tears apart your system with the ferocity of Immortan Joe himself. The dialogue is fairly limited, but still clean and clearly replicated in the center channel, while the rest of the track just sits on top of you and pummels the listener to death with a dynamic range that shows no mercy and takes no prisoners. The surrounds are basically in perpetual state of action, with war trucks and bullets and the random war boy exploding all around, with the throb of those heavy engines rattling every stud in the house with visceral LFE. Not only is the bass LOUD, but it goes deep with several scenes going near the single digit range. I literally felt like I was in the center of a tornado, as every speaker was constantly in use and the directionality of the individual sounds kept shifting. You can hear the shifting of gears up in the front of the room, only to hear a bullet plink off the back of the truck from the left year, or the pop of a tire over your right shoulder. Everything is just a nonstop cacophony of incredibly nuanced noises that really give the movie that surge of excitement.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=85906[/img]• NEW Miller's introduction
• Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road
• Fury on Four Wheels
• The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa
• The Tools of the Wasteland
• The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome
• Deleted Scenes
• Crash & Smash
I can’t say that I’m as enamored with “Mad Max: Fury Road” as the rest of the cinematic community, but after watching it several times, I’ve picked up on the nuances that really make the story quite fun. It’s short of character development, and about as high as you can get on action, with some incredibly well done practical effects by George Miller and crew. I may not be giving this a screaming two thumbs up, but I DO highly recommend checking it out. With a 98% score on Rottentomatoes and every other critic on earth raving over this one, I am an anomaly, and even if you don’t share my opinion, I would say that with those numbers, it’s worth seeing for yourself. This new iteration of the film makes some changes (with both give and take) that make for a rather entertaining watch. Whether or not you upgrade your disc (or at least add to the collection) is all up to whether or not the black and white version is appealing to you. For those who HAVEN'T picked up the disc and don't care about 4K or 3D, then this is the version to get as it contains both the colorized and "Black and Chrome" discs. The downside is that there is not Ultraviolet digital copy or slipcover, but those are more window dressing than anything in my opinion.
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Zoe Kravitz
Directed by: George Miller
Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 120 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 6th, 2016
Buy Mad Max: Fury Road (Black and Chrome Edition) On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Mad Max: High Octane Collection On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check It Out
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