Mass, unanimous box-office and critical-ink embrace to the contrary, Mad Max: Fury Road is among the worst, most insulting of recent films though, unfortunately, not unrepresentative of what fans want. Hype and groupthink lead public sheep to water, not to think but to drink as a herd and pony up. Mencken’s misquoted estimate still holds.
Plot, development, dialogue, intelligence, subtlety, suspense, wit, chemistry and logic get tossed out the window as screen irrelevant in Australian George Miller’s return after thirty years for a fourth milking of the franchise. What remains is two hours on the nose of visuals, specifically of car chases and crashes, flat uninvolving goodies fighting off nasties in heavy metal studs and duds, where tired storyline is no more than an excuse for continuous noise beyond thunder and kinky violence in the Namibian desert.
Co-producer Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nick Lathouris’ thin script is not necessary for this spectacle which panders to current debased taste in viewing. Just as fourth century Coliseum imperial panem et circenses grew and grew to a reported five thousand pairs of arena combatants, so, too, is always more excess ratcheted up to attract jaded moviegoers. Such stuff is as much cause as effect of dumbing down.
One good thing, at least, this will not play well on a phone or wristwatch.
I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and may therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.
--The World as Will and Representation (1819), Arthur Schopenhauer
(Released by Warner Bros. and rated “R” for intense sequences of violence throughout and for disturbing images.)