With a quarter-century of rewrites, cast replacements and location shifts spent knocking around the brain of director George Miller, it’s still a fair worry whether “Mad Max: Fury Road” can match the same manic energy and apocalyptic tone of the series’ previous films. Embargo prevents us from an in-depth reaction until next week, but rest assured that the end result hits damn near close. A duo of road warriors played by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron lead a rampaging tale of revenge, redemption and auto-based chaos, but during a recent LA press conference for the film, Miller acknowledged that he faced a very different cinematic landscape with his fourth ‘Mad Max‘ installment.
“If we were going to go back into [that] world, you sure as hell couldn’t do what you did 30 years ago,” Miller said. “It had to be uniquely familiar —like visiting [your] hometown but seeing it through new eyes. Everything had changed in 30 years —the world had changed, cinema had changed, and technology had changed, so it was an opportunity to sort of blend that all together. ‘Mad Max 2‘ had 1,200 cuts. This has 2,700 cuts, and it’s not much longer. Cinema is no doubt getting faster through commercials and music clips. So this is a language we’re speed-reading now.”
Similarly, the director also spoke about his usage of CG, one of the more significant question marks related to “Fury Road” and its balance of practical and digital effects.
“Even though we had to go and do it old school in terms of the vehicles and the people in the desert, you’re also able to do so much [with CG],” Miller explained. “The frame becomes so much more plastic. One of the most common uses of CG in this movie was to change the color of the sky —or indeed put a sky in— so you could get some consistency. You could erase tracks and you’re able to modify the frame to make that eyescan just a little bit more creamy so it’s not jarring or confusing, even though the movie is very fast. The average shot in the movie is two seconds, nine frames. That’s pretty fast. So I would hope I was able to improve on the last movies after 30 years —otherwise I haven’t learned anything.”
You’ll soon be able to find out if Miller achieved his goals, as “Mad Max: Fury Road” opens in theatres on May 15th. You can catch the rest of the LA press conference with Miller, Hardy, Theron and Nicolas Hoult in audio form below, as they talk MacGuffins, Miller’s original barebones score for the film and the cast’s takes on their most dangerous stunts.