The Art Of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein (book review).

Oddly, I never saw the original ‘Max Max’ trilogy, not helped by its infrequent showing on TV, although I suspect with ‘Max Max: Fury Road’ now out, some of the UK TV channels will do something about that.


Director/creator George Miller depended heavily on storyboards to make his fourth film in his series and considering the amount of live effects, being organised is very important. There is only one element that is solely CGI but to do it any other way would have been difficult and particularly hazardous to equipment and people. As to which, well you’ll have either watched the released film by now or shortly  about to buy this book.


One thing that became very obvious was that this book will be seen as a bible for those people who want to dress up as characters and for scratch-builders, the opportunity to make some snazzy and albeit dangerous looking cars. The details shown here are impressive. I doubt if many will want to wear the tattoos of Miss Giddy (actress Jennifer Hagan), though. There are some elements of steampunk about this film although perhaps it should be called petrolpunk. After all, that is what they rely on and the supply is limited.


For those who don’t know, the reality of ‘Mad Max’ is post-apocalypse and any transport has to rely on cars that didn’t have computer based technology because it got seriously fried in the nuclear war. It’s not exactly a human eat human world, but that’s because there is no evidence of cannibalism, but there are a few people in power and they rule the roost. Fertility is way down and so is the lack of clean blood. Nomadic Max Rockatansky (actor Tom Hardy) gets caught up with a group, led by Furiosa (actress Charlize Theron) fleeing from Immortan Joe (actor Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his people. Considering that Furiosa’s group contain his ‘wives’, this shouldn’t be surprising that he wants them back. This isn’t a remake but more like what happened after ‘Beyond Thunderdome’ according to the text.


Unlike the original three films, this one wasn’t filmed in Australiaeven if that is the setting because the desert was in bloom when they wanted to film so Namibia was selected instead.


My impression from reading the book, mostly because little of the plot is given, is that at heart ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a car chase movie with a lot of violence. It also looks very stylistic and sure to appeal to those who’ve seen the earlier films. From an art perspective, I can see a lot of hard work done here so if the film lives up to that, both book and film should do well.

GF Willmetts

May 2015

(pub: Titan Books. 176 page illustrated large hardback. Price: £24.99 (UK), $39.95 (US), $46.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78329-816-7)

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