Fans of George Miller's Mad Max movies have been waiting a long time for the fourth installment in the series. It's been almost thirty years since the release of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, which starred a young Mel Gibson as the tough survivalist with a tragic past, and next year Max Rockatansky will return to theaters once again in Mad Max: Fury Road. Gibson himself won't be in the movie, even for a cameo, but The Dark Knight Rises star Tom Hardy has taken up the mantle and definitely looks the part after being kitted out in grim, post-apocalyptic gear.
Speaking on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road earlier this year, Miller said that early screenings of footage were "testing extremely well," and Warner Bros. held the first full screening in Burbank this week. Keep in mind that the version of Mad Max: Fury Road that was screened was only a rough cut that was a little over 2 hours long and still had a lot of sound, music and FX work to be done in post-production - not to mention conversion to 3D. There's still over a year to go until Mad Max: Fury Road arrives in theaters, and a lot could change between now and then.
Caveat in place, the first reactions to this early cut of Mad Max: Fury Road have now made their way online. The most detailed assessment of the preview comes from AFTimes and was written by a self-confessed "HUGE Mad Max fan," who summed up his impressions with a lot of enthusiasm:
"What is Mad Max Fury Road? It isn’t NOT [sic] the first Mad Max. It isn’t NOT [sic] the MM-Beyond Thunderdome. It is not the movie that 1985 Randy walking out of a movie theater in Plymouth, MA, having been only slightly sated after waiting so long for sequel. This IS the kind of Mad Max II/The Road Warrior on steroids, go-big-or-go-home, bug-nuts crazy, toss-you-in-the-deep-end mythology and put-it-all-out-there-in-case-we-never-make-another-one Mad Max Fury Road.
"This movie feels like thirty years of Miller holding in passion for a world that he built so long ago, exploding on the screen... You want groovy cars? By the car-carrier load! You want auto combat? Parts strewn for miles! You want practical f/x and stunts? I wonder how many on the stunt team died making this madness?!"
That sounds like a very definite fan thumbs-up, and other reactions have been positive as well. Adam Lamar promises that moviegoers are "in for a treat," and Kevin West says that although it was "weird to not see Gibson as Max... Tom Hardy holds it down just fine," adding that the movie has "great action sequences and amazing post apocalyptic vehicles and costuming with awesome makeup."
AFTimes also posted a new synopsis for Mad Max: Fury Road, which offers some new details about Charlize Theron's character, Imperator Furiosa. The rest of the cast includes Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Zoë Kravitz (Divergent) and Josh Helman (Jack Reacher).
"MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is the fourth film of George Miller‘s Road Warrior/Mad Max franchise co-written and directed by Miller. The post-apocalyptic action film is set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and most everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life.
"Within this world of fire and blood exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order… There’s Max (played by TOM HARDY from The Dark Knight Rises), a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos.
"And… Furiosa (played by CHARLIZE THERON from Prometheus), a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland."
It might have the approval of a die-hard fan, but will Mad Max: Fury Road be able to impress the average moviegoer as much as it pleases those who are already in love with the series?
Mad Max: Fury Road will release in U.S. theaters on May 15, 2015.