BOOK REVIEW – The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein

By Marty Mulrooney

The Art of Mad Max Fury Road

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein is the official companion to the recently released post-apocalyptic action film of the same name, which AMO’s review described as “the most exciting cinematic experience of 2015 so far.” With a foreword written by visionary director George Miller, the book details the making of the film from beginning to end, showcasing storyboards, behind-the-scenes photos, concept art, props and much more, as well as featuring in-depth interviews with the cast and crew.

We shot the film ‘old school.’ As much as possible those are real people, cast and stunties, in the speeding vehicles and catastrophic crashes. Every behavior, every moment of fight and stunt choreography were the product of a shared vision.
Foreword by George Miller

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road is a story every bit as gripping as its big screen counterpart. 70-year-old Australian film director George Miller was working on the idea for a fourth Max Max film as early as 1997, but numerous delays meant the film wasn’t released until May 2015. As a result, Miller had many years to work on his vision in the form of scriptwriting and highly detailed storyboards, many of which are shared here.

The result is extraordinary – an art book that is actually more of a comprehensive ‘making of’, a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes insight into the creative process of a cinematic juggernaut. In fact, the somewhat misleading title is the only fault to be found in an otherwise beautiful and essential companion piece. Much like the film it details, the pace never lets up, with the epic journey of Max Max and Furiosa shown chronologically via concept art, storyboards, interviews, set photos and character portraits.

George Miller strived to capture as much ‘in camera’ as possible, using CGI to enhance scenes rather than replace them. Therefore, the answer to “How the hell did they do that?!” is often truly fascinating rather than simply “With a computer.” Even when computer effects were used, there is an artistry to the filmmakers’ approach that makes the explanation of how the technology was utlised thoroughly engaging.

What’s more, the attention to detail and amount of untold backstory is absolutely staggering, with many details only glimpsed on screen and some never even mentioned at all. It all adds up to a world that feels scarily alive and practically begs to be explored despite its inherent danger. Every car and weapon has a design, story and personality to match its wielder. Every crash and smash has been choreographed to within an inch of its life, a controlled ballet of hypnotic destruction.

The storyboards shown throughout are incredible in their vision and scope – what’s even more incredible is that The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road clearly illustrates how those visions became a reality. This is an essential behind-the-scenes companion book that fans of Mad Max: Fury Road should pick up immediately without a second thought. Strap yourself in and get a grip – we’re going on a trip down the Fury Road.

9.5 OUT OF 10

FILM REVIEW – Mad Max: Fury Road

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