Dimensions: 273 x 302 mm
Publication date: 15 May 2015
Illustration detail: Full color illustrations throughout
Author: Abbie Bernstein
“From director George Miller, originator of the post-apocalyptic genre and mastermind behind the legendary Mad Max franchise, comes Mad Max: Fury Road, a return to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky.”
The world of Mad Max should be familiar to any self-respecting Terminator fan. The look and visual style of Mad Max movies was very apparent in 2009’s Terminator Salvation; director McG made no secret about borrowing the look of the movie and using various aspects to draw inspiration from it visually (not to mention storytelling) when making the movie. Mad Max’s bleak desert style future being one of those aspects.
Even back in 1984 film critics drew comparison between Mad Max’s Road Warrior and The Terminator (probably due to the battered car chase future war scenes and the post-apocalyptic theme). This year Mad Max was back and the movie itself (although, Tom Hardy has replaced the original Mad Max- Mel Gibson) was visiting the same world and telling a new story for the character but still helmed by the original writer and director George Miller which would be the equivalent of Jim Cameron returning to give us a new Terminator tale in the same universe he had created. On retrospect it would have been very likely Gibson would have returned as Max if he had not had such a turbulent time in mainstream media (for all the wrong reasons) after all he was involved and privy to the early stages of Fury Road and obviously can only be disappointed that he didn’t get to reprise the role. Mel’s unannounced appearance at the premiere was horribly cringe worthy on closer examination. While on the surface the world could see the original Mad Max approving and endorsing the movie- I could see something else entirely going on.
Overall Max Max Fury Road was the movie that had everyone talking this year, even celebrities couldn’t help but tweet about the amazing action and old school spectacle they had witnessed in theaters; even the very concept of Fury Road had us way more excited than Terminator Genisys- especially when we heard Fury Road would be Rated R!
From the offset the movie was described as one giant chase/action sequence with only the occasional pause to let you breathe and for some storytelling… Miller and his team designed the movie to be a very visual movie, all mapped out with a clear vision of story-board visual storytelling, The Art of Mad Max shows you this journey of creative artwork and the clear ‘shared’ vision the creators had for the movie. It was decided early on that the movie would be filmed old school style and overall Fury Road is roughly ten years of collaborative minds working away on the same project.
Whilst the book does have interesting information- it is the concept art which speaks a thousand words; the heart of Mad Max was beating again and waiting to come to life on the silver screen. The book, while showing plenty of concept art, also has plenty of Hi-Res movie stills of the final product and the concepts are never that far from the final movie/shots again, reinforcing the fact that time and effort was put to the overall vision of this project much like the classic movies did back in the day… no rush job or slapdash writing here. The images will take you on a journey through the rustic, dry desert, just looking at the images will have you reaching for a glass of water as you explore the concepts for the movie, the artwork itself clearly shows there was never any intention of watering down this series or to allow any studio to compromise or taint the master’s work (Miller).You will find a bounty of information ranging from costume design, plot, environments and world building, insight into high octane stunts and fearless camera teams and much more. If Miller had not been involved in the project then it is likely that the integrity of the project would surely have been lost too, this is real movie making people! Those ego-maniacal studio executives… how many movies have they ruined now with their soulless money grabbing decisions?
While CGI was used in Mad Max the book also shows it was used in the right way to enhance scenes that did feature practical shots, with physics and action that felt and looked as real as possible instead of everything on screen being 100% CGI nonsense.
One vital ingredient to the project was a man by the name of Brendan McCarthy, a fan who made strong effort to communicate with Miller many years ago when he was a production designer on a kids CGI animated series called ‘ReBoot’ an episode titled ‘Bad Bob’ homaged Mad Max and McCarthy sent a copy to Miller’s office posing the question “Whatever happened to Mad Max?”. Brendan was not expecting to hear back but Miller’s producing partner Doug Mitchell phoned Brenden which later evolved into a meeting of minds, the questions and ideas began to roll.
Brendan McCarthy would go on to heavily story-board and write with George Miller- described by McCarthy as “It would be like somebody being a fan of Star Wars doing the new Star Wars with George Lucas”. His passion had one thing at the core and that was to give a new generation the feeling he had when he watched Road Warrior all those years ago and became a hardcore fan.
Mad Max stands on its own in its own world as a classic post-apocalyptic science fiction franchise and masterpiece. Terminator Salvation tried to tread that ground, let’s just hope that movie studios don’t see Mad Max’s success and attempt to mimic that look and that world again with Terminator; it would simply be a sin and would show a continued lack of understanding of the Terminator franchise once again.
We highly recommend this book for anyone who likes Mad Max, deserts of peril, and anyone with an interest in visual creativity/visual storytelling. The book will definitely teach you a thing or two about the movie making process, the work involved on a movie of this scope and the countless talent it took to realize the vision on the big screen.
Titan Books, as always, provides a book full of detailed information, glossy high quality pages oozing with vibrant color and hi-res images, with a foreword by George Miller; the book’s author Abbie Bernstein does a fabulous job in taking you on a journey down the Fury Road and capturing the magic of Miller’s world on the pages of this excellent book.