[UPDATE: New Fury Road images have been released. Scroll down for those.]
If there's one thing to be said about science fiction thrillers that unfold within post-apocalyptic worlds, it's that they are not in short supply right now (the latest addition to the sub-genre, Snowpiercer, opens in the U.S. this weekend). That wasn't the case when George Miller released the first Mad Max film back in the late 1970s, so it'll be interesting to see how Miller's upcoming reboot of the franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road, fares by comparison to his original cult movie and its sequels.
Early signs have been encouraging, with regard to Miller's new flick - and with a cast headed by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, Fury Road is in a decent position to appeal to a younger generation of moviegoers (many of who have never even heard of Miller's previous Mad Max films), while also offering a satisfying new trip to Miller's futuristic wild west, for longtime fans of the series.
Most post-apocalyptic films that are released nowadays tend to have overt sociopolitical overtones, be it Snowpiercer's examination of class tensions and social inequality, The Hunger Games' subtext about the modern economic wealth gap, or the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' allusions to the dangers of the contemporary tribalist mentality. As Miller informed EW, however, the genesis of Fury Road was not to be some kind of allegory, but instead a straight-forward race to survive (brought to life in cinematic form):
“I wanted to tell a linear story–a chase that starts as the movie begins and continues for 110 minutes,” says the Australian writer-director. Fury Road features few digital effects and even less dialogue, he explains. “In this crucible of very intense action, the characters are revealed.”
Pictured above, are Hardy as the "very damaged" road warrior Max Rockatansky (taking over Mel Gibson's iconic role), alongside the "bad-ass commander" Imperator Furiosa, brought by life by Theron. Other Fury Road cast members include Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), and Zoë Kravitz (Divergent), among others.
UPDATE: There are now additional images from Fury Road online, similar to the one below (for the full gallery, head on over to EW).
What Miller talks about in the aforementioned EW interview, is pretty much equivalent to saying that Fury Road is a prototypical action movie - in other words, a film that explores characters though their actions and responses to stressful circumstances, so to speak, allowing deeper meaning and symbolism to arise more naturally from the proceedings. That's not to say it's a bad idea to be very conscious about building your sci-fi world so that it serve as a funhouse mirror for the present (see: The Hunger Games), but setting out to create a kick-ass thrill ride can get the job done as well, if not better sometimes.
... And Fury Road is a film that, if nothing else, has already had a lot of time, effort, and money poured into getting right. So really, if Miller and his cast/crew's passion shines through in the final product, it could result in one post-apocalyptic movie that manages to stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Fingers crossed, the new Mad Max will do just that.
Mad Max: Fury Road opens in U.S. theaters on May 15th, 2015.