David Stratton Files Mixed Review Of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

It was hardly surprising news, this week, that George Miller‘s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ made it to the Australian cinema history books as one of our top three most highly-reviewed films of all time. 

The hype over ‘Mad Max’ has been boiling away furiously for months, and it’s been the unanimous star and darling of the Festival de Cannes this week. The reviews are in—discounting men’s rights activists’ take on it—and the wrap is glaringly simple: Mad Max: Fury Road is absolutely slaying – at the box offices and on entertainment pages around the world alike. 

It’s a shame, then, that Australia misses out on seeing the legendary Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton‘s delightful take on it during an episode of At The Movies; but at least At The Movies’ sterner half has today filed his review of Miller’s epic piece of cinema, which looks something like this for about two hours straight:

Stratton asks, in The Australian today, “Was it worth the wait?” as he dissects Miller’s fourth Mad Max film, trailing its predecessor by thirty long years. 

While Stratton praises the film’s technical finesse, the ensemble cast’s strong performances, and its likelihood to dominate the box office in the weeks to come, David Stratton’s main gripe with ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is fairly glaring:

“While the stunt work is mind-bogglingly impressive, and in most respects the freaky imagination that’s gone into the characters provides lots of fun, the core of the film, the narrative, is almost nonexistent. It’s interesting that the lengths of the four films have gradually extended (the original ran just 90 minutes, while the new one clocks in at two hours), the budgets have ballooned (the first was made for a reported $380,000 in 1979 dollar value) but those essential ingredients, a good story and characters with whom we can empathise, have markedly diminished.”

Zing. Stratton does praise Miller as a filmmaker, but takes umbrage with the director’s lack of amping it up a notch, saying: “Miller is a superb filmmaker, one of this country’s best, but I find it disappointing that he’s rarely stretched himself.”

Overall, Stratton gave ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ 3 stars – a far cry from Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregated 98%. Granted, Miller’s epic was probably never going to be Stratton’s thing, and three stars isn’t a bad rating, after all. But to quietly put it into perspective, Stratton has previously awarded films such as ‘Napoleon Dynamite‘ and ‘Happy Feet’ with four and five stars respectively. 

Dave, pls. 

You can read David Stratton’s review in full here. 

via The Australian.