The rich and textured world building done by George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road is phenomenal. Miller used minimal CGI, opting to do things on a practical level that gave the Tom Hardy starrer an authenticity that few blockbusters have in the 21st Century. The hard work is captured in Abbie Bernstein’s The Art Of Mad Max: Fury Road.
A foreword from George Miller sets the scene where the post-apocalyptic wasteland starts ‘next Wednesday…when the bad stuff we see in the news comes to pass at once’. We then roll-back to 1997 when the the first origins of Fury Road were born (and Mel Gibson was still set to star). The book then covers the films troubled pre-production as Miller and his crew developed the script as it slowly geared-up for a 2012 shoot. Dotted throughout this are wonderful sketches and storyboards from Mark Sextons, which helped Miller and co-writers Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris hone the story and develop a unique visual language for the onscreen action.
Bernstein’s book goes into tremendous detail and the book features many close-up images of hardware that may only have a split-second of screen time. The work that Miller and his team went into is breathtaking – and that’s before we see images of the film’s crazed stunts. These look dangerous as singular behind-the-scenes images and their visceral nature onscreen shows that the hard work does pay off. These are the things that can’t be cheated by CGI.
The Art Of Mad Max may pack a visual punch but it doesn’t skimp on words. All key technical personnel have their say on the film’s production. The supporting actors also have their say – but it would have been nice to have more input from Mad Max himself, Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. However, it’s nice that the book celebrates the film’s crew and sometimes that’s what you want from a book that covers the production of the film.
Mad Max fans will be thrilled by the sheer amount of detail in The Art Of Mad Max: Fury Road. This book is as heavy duty as George Miller’s film, bold, brash and badass. Titan Books have taken things to the Max.