One of the real cinematic gems of 2015 was “Mad Max: Fury Road.” While I thought it looked weird at the time, it received very high praise, which made me wonder what I was missing. Obviously quite a lot as it was fantastic and well deserving of the Oscars it received. Unfortunately I can’t say as much for the original…
Coming out in the late 70s, “Mad Max” shows its age quite well with a very boring and confusing story. While its reboot doesn’t necessarily have the best narrative, the original doesn’t do a good enough job of telling you what’s happening. Scenes don’t really connect together and when you couple with that with the puzzling Australian accents, as a viewer you have no idea what the point of everything is.
From what I gathered, this is somewhat of a dystopian future (and a fairly lame one) where this biker gang basically does whatever it wants. While intimidating at first, the group becomes weird and annoying. They just make a lot of strange noises and people seem to just run away instead of actually doing anything about them.
Of course these men are pretty insane so they kill plenty of people, which has a direct impact on the protagonist Max. A policeman (I guess) who is like really good at driving but wants to live a normal life…? Like I said earlier, very confusing. And it doesn’t help that Mel Gibson gives a very dry performance. I mean Tom Hardy’s depiction had a lot more depth and I know Gibson can play very complicated characters like in “Lethal Weapon.”
You see the main problem with “Mad Max” is that it’s weird but not in the way “Fury Road” is. The 2015 film accepted its weirdness and because of that the film flourished. The characters were dressed eccentrically, the cars were shaped oddly and most of the individuals were insane but it all fit together perfectly. The ’79 movie instead gives you more of a headache. Seriously my head was hurting as I kept watching it. The oddities of the film don’t fascinate you but instead drive you away.
Look am I biased since I watched the new, Academy Award winning movie? Sure. Were some of the special effects and cinematography of the original strong for the time? Probably. But that doesn’t change the point that this film is way too confusing. I mean the story really isn’t that complicated but the way it is presented left me scratching my head.
I’m sure enough people liked “Mad Max” at the time in order for it to lead to impressive sequels like “Mad Max: Fury Road.” There are some interesting ideas but they don’t make up for a mess of a movie. Plenty of older films still hold up today so I’m not asking a lot when I expect a movie to make sense. However this checks all the wrong boxes when it comes to being entertaining today. If you loved the 2015 masterpiece and want to see where it all came from, don’t. It isn’t worth it.