“Mad Max Fury Road” is a 2015 film directed by George Miller, starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult. This film was so great that according to film critic Chris Stuckmann, it “might be the best action movie of the decade”. There were many factors that made this film so great to be possibly considered better than any other action movie of this decade. It was not just George Miller’s directing skills, who despite being old enough to get a senior citizen discount, still directed this film with the enthusiasm of a man half his age. It was also the editor of the film, Margaret Sixel that elevated this film beyond just a basic action movie. Her hard work even earned her an academy award. The task of editing any film is no small one, or simple one, and “Mad Max Fury Road” had its own particular set of challenges. Sixel had to take four hundred and eighty hours of footage and turn it into a two hour film and this daunting task took her three years to complete. George Miller, the director of the film, who also just happens to be Sixel’s husband, wanted her to edit the film despite the fact she never had worked on an action film before. George Miller stated why he why he wanted his wife in particular to edit his film, “because if a guy did it, it would look like every other action movie.” George Miller is correct in saying that“Mad Max Fury Road” is not like every other action movie; this film depicts a post apocalyptic wasteland as beautiful and brightly lit with colour, and not just gray and dreary like many other post apocalyptic action films. At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss this film as just a two hour car chase that’s all style and no substance. Watching this film on fast forward proves that this film has a plot which is missed by watching it too quickly.
This film is so fast paced that it makes two hours seem to go by like minutes. The question I explored was of what would happen to the film experience if one were to watch this film in five minutes and without sound. This created a very jarring visual experience where everything went by way too fast to fully appreciate it. While the story is very visual, the dialog is very limited so a viewer misses a lot without the sound such as the many memorable sayings that make this film so unique. If I were to get up in the middle of class and shout “witness me”, people might think I have gone just as mad as Max Rockatansky, but also would know exactly what movie I am referencing. Not having a musical score made the action scenes feel less exciting and it also made the emotional moments in the film less emotional. Despite being very much a visual story with minimal dialogue, watching this film at such a fast rate made it very difficult to make out the storyline. I had to pay really close attention to the images on the screen to make out a story, so someone who has not seen this film before, like I have, would be very confused. The biggest thing that is missed by watching this film so fast paced, is the relationships between the characters that really make this film special, such as the fascinating growth of trust and friendship between Max Rockatansky and Imperator Furiosa. The best part of this film for me was completely missed on fast-forward and that’s Nux’s character arc from devoted follower of Dictator Immortan Joe to being completely against him. It is abundantly clear to as why the film “Mad Max Fury Road” is considered a feminist film by many and the feminist themes are missed when watching it on fast forward. The theme of people seeking bodily autonomy is very prevalent in the film ranging from the war boys being used as cannon fodder to the five brides being used for breeding. Both groups wanted to escape this form of slavery. The feminist theme is also seen in such strong female characters such as Imperator Furiosa and Immortan Joe’s five brides. These female characters were not only physically strong, but also emotionally strong. These themes cannot be seen when watching the film in five minutes, so the film really loses out on any deeper meaning watching it in that way.
The interesting effect of watching this film on fast-forward on Apple TV was at some point it stopped looking like standard fast-forward and became still images flashing on the screen. That was a really interesting effect because it allowed you to look at each individual shot and evaluate the beauty of how this was filmed. This really draws attention to the use of the film technique of eye trace, which simply put is where your eye focuses shot after shot. In “Mad Max Fury Road”, this is accomplished by having the action at the center of the frame. When you look at a still from the movie, you can see clearly that the action is in the center of the frame, guiding your eye where to look in this chaotic film. This effect of showing the film in individual pictures reminded me of a moment in the 1929 film, “The Man with a Movie Camera”, directed by Dziga Vertov, where this film has the same effect of slowing down and showing parts from the film as pictures. In my humble opinion, the film “The Man with a Movie Camera” and every other film, could be vastly improved with more men with flamethrower guitars strapped onto cars.