As exciting as the “Batman v Superman” footage was, I have to confess that the massive sizzle reel that George Miller brought to show from “Max Max: Fury Road” caused a huge emotional reaction for me, and I think it comes down to the importance of “The Road Warrior” to me as a fan of movie action in general.
The first time I saw “The Road Warrior,” it was on PPV in a hotel room, and I had to watch it with the sound turned down low because my parents, who had no idea I had ordered it, were sleeping in the next room. Even seen like that, panned and scanned and on a 13″ screen, it punched a hole in me. I saw things I'd never seen and it offered up a view of Hell that has stuck with me ever since.
The footage Miller brought with him was amazing. I know we've devalued words like amazing and awesome by using them to describe sandwiches and parties and tennis shoes, but I was genuinely dazzled by what Miller showed. It starts with the image from the teaser poster that was released last week, with Max standing and looking out over the horizon. A small two-headed lizard climbs up onto a rock and looks around, then scurries down and over the sand, towards Max. Just as it gets to him, he stomps it under his boot.
He immediately turns, grabs all of his things from the ground, and throws them into that familiar black car before jumping in, gunning the engine, and taking off. Moments later, four or five other cars, loaded up with freaky dudes, race in and head out in pursuit of him.
Max loses that first race, and they destroy his car. He's taken prisoner by a group led by Immorten Joe, who is as strikingly designed as Lord Humungous or Master Blaster, with long white hair and a crazy mask, and while it's not immediately evident, Miller revealed to us that he's played by the same actor who was The Toecutter in the first film. That's one of the coolest touches, and it certainly feels like there are so many things in this footage that evoke the first three films. There's a great shot of Immorten Joe in a room where a question has been carved into the floor in a large spiral: WHO KILLED THE WORLD?
At some point, it looks like Furiosa (Charlize Theron) crosses paths with Immorten Joe, and she is visually remarkable as well, with her robot arm and her buzzed hair. She appears to be a protector of a group of young women including Zoe Kravitz and Rosie Huntington-Wheatley, and the majority of what we saw was from a chase sequence where Immorten Joe's men are trying to capture a tanker truck driven by Furiosa.
During that chase, it looks like Max is strapped to the front of the car in an image that is directly out of “The Road Warrior.” Remember that poor bastard who was driven out in front of Lord Humungous's ranks? That's exactly what Max looks like, only it's in the middle of a car chase across a desert, heading directly into what looks like a giant mass of fire tornadoes.
There are remarkable action beats during the chase, and Max starts to work his way loose, trying desperately not to die. He's not interesting in being a hero or helping anyone. He just wants to live, and at one point, the guy whose car he's now chained to decides that he's ready to die. The driver starts pulling fuel lines loose, flooding the cab of the car with gas, spray painting his face silver, and preparing for a full on immolation.
I am dying to see this movie. I cannot believe the things I saw. God bless George Miller, the mad genius, and his fetish for destroying vehicles in the most amazing of ways. I wish they'd played the footage ten times in a row.
“Max Max: Fury Road” opens on May 15, 2015, and I plan to go get in line for the movie as soon as Comic-Con ends. See you there.