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We have a review from a test screening of George Miller's MAD MAX: FURY ROAD! Does it live up to the hype!?!

Published at: Aug. 6, 2014, 5:50 p.m. CST by Draven

Hey Yo, Draven here.

A new level of anticipation was set for George Miller’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD after WB unveiled the first footage from the film at Comic Con and online (not to mention the early test screening reactions). The footage was pretty incredible and really won over a lot of people who were skeptical of the project.

Well, we heard there was a test screening in Burbank last week and miraculously a reader who was able to attend, contacted the site and offered to write a review. No, this is no plant, but it is a very positive review with very minor spoilers (that really only detail story and first act stuff) so read on to find out what George Miller and crew have in store for us next Summer:

I know what happens when you give George Miller hundreds of millions of dollars to make a contemporary MAD MAX sequel. It may take a few years, and countless days, hours, seconds of anticipation, but it'll get completed into a full, exhibitable feature film. And baby, it's a thing of beauty.

The film starts out with the shot you've seen of Max's back and the two-headed lizard, before launching right into a chase where Rockatansky is eventually bested and caught. Max is taken to a citadel run by Immortan Joe, the masked, decrepit warlord worshipped by his devout slaves and a handful of captains, led by Furiosa (Charlize Theron). When Furiosa goes rogue and appears to be hijacking a rig (and its contents) for herself, Immortan Joe sends his army after them. Max only gets involved because one of Joe's footsoldiers, Dux (Nicholas Hoult), straps him to the hood of his car as his "blood bank," literally syphoning off his blood to increase his adrenaline. Through a series of events, Max ends up fighting alongside Furiosa and her cargo, Immortan Joe's bevy of young, gorgeous "breeders" (read: wives), including Joe's crown jewel, a quite-pregnant Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Cue the batshit vehicular mayhem.

This is the movie many of us always dream about, and rarely ever actually get. By that I mean this is a huge, multi-hundred-million-dollar production done by a major Hollywood studio that is both grand and odd, epic and intimate, crowd-pleasing and self-indulgent.

It's not uncommon to see one-time greats falter when given free reign and a limitless budget. Whether they're out of touch with contemporary demands, or that they just don't have the drive they once did, a bunch of directors (Lucas, Cimino, De Palma, Coppola) have hurt their legacies by putting out later films that failed to live up to the promise of their earlier work.

This did not happen with George Miller.

FURY ROAD is just as weird, bombastic, and MAD MAX-y and you'd want a MAD MAX movie to be. Sure, it's apparently PG-13, and Max himself has the least amount of dialogue (and is given the least to do) of the whole series, but there's no doubt this movie is cut from the same cloth. From the chrome Immortan Joe sprays on the teeth of the more worthy of his warriors to the guitar-playing minstrel live-scoring the car chases while harnessed to a moving car, FURY ROAD is permeated with the kind of bizarro world-building that keep the first three so distinctive amidst the wide range of post-apocalyptic action/sci-fi out there. Furiosa, Immortan Joe, and especially Nicholas Hoult's fanatical, half-mad Dux are extremely captivating, original characters; every moment with Dux, the first sorta-sympathetic henchman of the entire series, is striking and surprising, and adds a nice layer to the MAD MAX mythos. Charlize also deserves a ton of credit, both for her take-no-shit, grease-painted asskickery and for still being the most luminous female in the movie with a bald head and head-to-toe dirt and alongside dolled-up supermodels half her age. Furiosa is as much the hero of this movie as Max, and Charlize manages to make you forget she's an international superstar and believe she's an armless, carved-from-an-engine-block Road Warrior.

You'll hear many describe the film as "one long chase scene," and while that's not entirely true (nor would many of us want it to be), it's understandable why it comes across as such. It has such a breakneck pace, only stopping to linger on plot details very briefly and seldomly, that it does kind of feel like one sustained set-piece for the 2-hour running time. Once Furiosa takes off with her rig, the tension never lets up, and the film starts alternating between ROAD WARRIOR's epic vehicular madness and SORCERER-style, "Is something about to happen right now?" slow-burn intensity. I wouldn't dare reveal any more about the joys of the film, except to say that the storm scene you've seen in the trailer really does achieve a sort of mythic beauty in and of itself. But it comes relatively early, and the film's got plenty of gas left in the tank at that point, so don't think that's the end-all-be-all of the movie's action.

I'm not sure whether this movie's going to "set the world on fire," as my buddy said he thought it will, but the people who are going to love this movie are going to LOVE this movie. As a fan of the series, I was hoping for something that (unlike, say, INDY 4) could sit alongside the rest of the series as a worthy entry in Miller's ouvre. FURY ROAD cleared that high bar like it had springs for legs, and transcended into rarified territory: a blockbuster with balls, a pulse, and an unwillingness to do anything safe, all from within the confines of a PG-13 rating. This is a great movie, guys. I really can't wait 'till we can sit around and talk about it with the giddiness and glee I had last Monday.

Well it sounds like the new expectations are right on with the quality of the film and next May can’t get here soon enough!

If anybody else was able to attend this screening and wants to offer up their thoughts to me, please e-mail me!

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