Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in a hell of a long time. I’d hold it up with Die Hard, The Terminator, and Aliens as one of the best in the history of the genre. Making this incredible film even more interesting is its long and storied journey to getting produced. That story, along with the incredible efforts of the production team, are documented in The Art of Mad Mad: Fury Road, which is an interesting mix of traditional art book and behind-the-scenes documentation.
One thing that really struck me about Fury Road was how customized and lived in it felt. It doesn’t take much to make everything dirty and rusty, but this film went far above and beyond that. Tools, vehicles, and even people were decorated and personalized in hundreds of ways. As a post-apocalyptic film, it didn’t rely on the tried and true de-saturated brown and gray color scheme, and instead injecting rich and sometimes garish colors into the world. Just because it’s the apocalypse doesn’t mean people won’t want to surround themselves with pretty things.
It’s exactly that incredibly detailed eye for design that made me how that Mad Max: Fury Road would get a full art book treatment, and I wasn’t disappointed by what I got.
The book is divided into a bunch of small sections, each detailing a single character, set of props, location, or sequence in the film. Within each of these sections is an incredible mix of set photography, prop pictures, concept art, and a miniature essay on the subject. Those subjects include everything from Imperator Furiosa and Immortan Joe to Coma the Doof Warrior (the guy with the flaming guitar) and creep bog our heroes find themselves in at the conclusion of the first half of the film.
Each of these sections sheds a lot of weight on the subject, while providing amazing artwork and beautiful photography. To be honest, I wish some of them had a little more textual content, although I definitely understand that isn’t exactly the point of an art book.
Another thing I really loved about the film is how it didn’t bother to explain a lot of things. It simply immersed you in the world and counted on you to piece things together from the context rather than slowing the narrative with exposition. This might seem like a cheap way to avoid writing a bunch of backstory, but The Art of Mad Mad: Fury Road shows just how much Miller and his team built out their universe
In regards to production quality, The Art of Mad Mad: Fury Road does not disappoint. It’s an absolutely huge volume, leaving plenty of room for the beautiful artwork and photography. It’s printed on thick, glossy paper, making it a tough and weighty book. All the better for clubbing the occasional war boy who might want to loot your library.
You know, if you’re worried about that sort of thing.
I also really love the art direction of the book, which immediately evokes the film it’s documenting. Everything looks dirty and used, but also imbued with beauty and love.
If you like art books, Mad Max, or both, you need to add this one to your library.