Release: 15th May 2017
Format: BR / DGTL
Haunted by his turbulent past, Mad Max believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannised by the Immortal Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord marshals all his gangs and pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.
Mad Max: Fury Road holds a special place in the heart of Silver Screen Write-Up. Not simply because it is awesome (because it is), but because it was the first blu-ray that we ever reviewed. It has been a while since Max was reborn in an eye bulging pallette of reds, yellows and oranges, the blistering landscape of Geroge Miller’s scorched Earth is a key element of what makes this electric world buzz with frenzied charm. So the very thought of inverting all that in to a polished chrome chart, seems counter intuative. Make no mistake though, this is no gimmick; Fury Road Black & Chrome is a viewing experienced unto itself. This is Mad Max 2.0.
The story that accompanies this special edition is that while editing Road Warrior, Miller saw a cheap print of the film which was being used for scoring purposes. Back in the day, it was cheaper and easier to print a black and white version than colour (obvs). Noticing the striking images in contrating black and white, and the visceral beauty of its cinematography, Miller was touched by his Muse and vowed one day to revisit this world in similar fashion. Fury Road makes good on that promise, and there are times when it is incoceieveable that the film was ever filmed in full colour at all. Time and again, Fury Road looks more like a masterclass in photography than it does a balls out drug trip.
Not everything works, of course. As much as he may claim this is the “prefereed” version of the film, it is clear Miller designed many of the action scenes with colour in mind. The storm, for example, is more disorientating without colour tags to tell characters apart. In fact, a lot of the scenes in Immortan’s Joe homeland of The Citadel do not play so well in black and white either. Without enough contrast to really make scenes pop, it is a slightly disappointing start to such a widely publicised approach. However, once Max stumbles upon Furiosa and company, things start to take shape, and this version proves its worth almost instantly. The film’s chaos seems all the more beautious in its new form, and Miller’s artistic eye is pushed to the foreground.
There is no right or wrong version of the film to watch, and both have their merits, so it is a healthy offering for Warners to provide both versions of the film in the same purchase. The big question though is, having already purchaed the original release would this be worthy of a new investment? For fans it should be a no-brainer, but the casual viewer might find the outlay less resonable. The truth of the matter is that had the black and white version be the primary release, it would have served the overall project much better; there is no doubt that it feels like a slightly better film this way. But things are what they are, and if you can justify it, then going all shiny and chrome is the best way to witnessed!
Film Grade: B+
Same as before, but with an intro from George Miller.
Special Features Grade: C-
The same Fury, but with added class.
Overall Grade: B