At a time when CGI spectaculars are the norm, the vehicular action movie Mad Max Fury Road stood out for largely using real stunt people and practical effects…and still being just as exciting as one of those CGI spectaculars. But while the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, 3D Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and DVD pair the film with some informative extras, they still come up a little short.
When Mad Max Fury Road begins, Max (The Dark Knight Rises‘ Tom Hardy) is out in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Australia, picking up some food, when he’s captured by some bandits, who strap him to the front of one of their cars when they head out after one of their own, the ridiculously-named Furiosa (Prometheus‘ Charlize Theron). Seems she’s taken the girlfriends of the head bandit because, well, he treats them more like baby factories instead of like girlfriends. All of which leads to Max and Furiosa joining up…and taking their act on the road.
Based on the above synopsis, you might think I’m downplaying the role of Max. But, actually, it’s the movie that does this. While Mad Max Fury Road is an immensely exciting and intense action flick, Max has very little to do with that. Not just because anything Max can do, Furiosa can do better, but because she often does. Though it helps that Theron is magnetic here while Hardy might as well be named Hardly for how much personality he displays. Which I why, much as I enjoyed this movie, I can’t help but wondering what it would’ve been like if Max wasn’t in it. And if Theron’s character had a better name than Furiosa.
It also doesn’t help that Mad Max Fury Road also suffers from such post-apocalyptic nonsense as a guitarist on a truck who overstays his welcome, as well as some bad moments when the film was obviously sped up like something out of a cheap ’80s action flick. Though even with all this silliness, the film still holds together as an invigorating adrenaline rush.
Along with the film, the Mad Max Fury Road Blu-rays and DVD include the usual bunch of special features. For starters, there’s a general overview of how the film was made in “Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road,” a half-hour making-of featurette that, as usual, pairs behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards, and interviews with the cast and crew.
For a more in-depth look as certain aspects of Mad Max Fury Road, the Blu-rays and DVD have five making-of featurettes: “Mad Max: Fury On Four Wheels,” a twenty-two-minute look at the cars in the film; “The Tools Of The Wasteland,” a nearly fifteen-minute-long look at the designing of items in the world; “The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome,” which spends eleven minutes telling us about the warlord’s girlfriends and the actors who play them; “Fry Road: Crash & Smash,” a four-minute collection of test footage, unedited shots, and behind-the-scenes video which, together, show how the film’s impressive stunts were shot; and “The Road Warriors: Max And Furiosa,” which spends more than eleven minutes talking to Hardy, Theron, and director George Miller about the main character…and Max. Though while all of them are informative and engaging, it’s hard not to think they and “Maximum Fury” couldn’t have been combined into a single featurette.
Along with the making-of extras, the Mad Max Fury Road Blu-rays and DVD also include three deleted scenes. While none are very long, or add anything of great import, especially the third one, they are interesting to watch. Though I do wish it said knew why they had been cut, since their combined length of three minutes makes it obvious that it wasn’t to make the movie shorter.
As good as these extras may be, it’s hard not to think that the Mad Max Fury Road Blu-rays and DVD couldn’t have been better. For starters, this really needs a commentary by Miller and Theron, both of whom are entertaining, intelligent, and always unfiltered. This collection also doesn’t include the movie’s original trailers.
Speaking of which, it’s also odd that Mad Max Fury Road doesn’t have a trailer for the Mad Max game, which comes out the same day as the Blu-rays and DVD, as well as something about the prequel comic books, especially given that Miller was involved in their writing.
But the biggest thing missing piece from the Mad Max Fury Road Blu-rays and DVD is the as-yet-unseen alternate version of the film that’s black & white and has no dialog that Miller has said this is his preferred version of the film. But while he wanted Warner Brothers to include it on the Blu-rays, it’s not here. Which may mean there will be a second Mad Max Fury Road Blu-ray at some point, to which I say “Shenanigans.” I’m a firm believer you should not double-dip, and that the Blu-ray and DVD you put out for a movie should be the definitive collection of that film.
Also, while Warner Home Video didn’t send me the Mad Max Fury Road 3D Blu-ray/DVD combo pack to check out, I saw the 3D version of the movie in theaters, and can tell us that, aside from a couple things flying right the camera rather cheesily, the third dimension didn’t add much.
In the end, Mad Max Fury Road is an exciting and exhilarating action movie, and the Blu-rays and DVD mostly do a good job showing how they pulled that off. It’s just too bad they come up just a little short.