Mad Max: Fury Road - Blu-ray Disc Review

Mad Max: Fury Road -2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Package
Mad Max: Fury Road -2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Package. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

After an approximately 30 year break, director George Miller delivers the fourth installment of the Mad Max film series, titled Mad Max: Fury Road. The film has made its way onto Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D, Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Atmos. To find out if it is worthy of your Blu-ray Disc collection, check out the following review of the 2D Blu-ray package.

Story

The story is simple, in a post-apocalyptic world where oil and water are two most valuable commodities, control over these scarce resources is the foundation of societal structure. This situation has given rise to fanatical warlords that control pockets of "civilization" with the rest of humanity is left on their own, often times falling victim to gangs that control what little territory and roadways are left.

This brings us to our two main characters, Mad Max, a loner that has wandered the wastelands for years (as portrayed in the three previous films in this series, ) and Imperator Furiosa, a female lieutenant (with a prosthetic arm) of the warlord Immortan Joe, who has had enough and decides to engineer a plot to take Joe's wives with her to "The Green Place", free from the clutches of totalitarian, religious cult rule.

As luck would have it, as a result of Max being pursued and finally taken prisoner by some of Immortan Joe's fanatical followers, and Furiousa attempting to hijack a fuel truck away from its normal route (with Joe's wives onboard), Max and Furiosa met during unlikely circumstances, and an uneasy alliance is made to dismantle Immortan Joe's "empire". What follows is one of the most exciting assault-the-senses action films ever.

For more on the story, as well a review of the theatrical presentation of the film, read the articles posted by James Rocchi, About.com Movies, and Johnny Rico, About.com War and Action Movies.

Blu-ray Package Description

Studio: Warner Bros

Running Time: 120 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director: George Miller

Story and Screenplay: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nick Lathouris,

Producers: George Miller, Doug Mitchell, P.J. Voeten

Discs: One 50 GB Blu-ray Disc and One DVD.

Digital Copy: UltraViolet HD.

Video Specifications: Video codec used - AVC MPG4 (2D), Video resolution - 1080p, Aspect ratio - 2.40:1, - Special features and supplements in various resolutions and aspect ratios.

Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish.

Bonus Features

Maximum Fury:: A detailed overview of the movie's production, in including a look at the locations, stunts, effects, actors, and more... The featurette makes the point that the vast majority of shots were done in camera as practical effects - the crashes were real.

Fury on Four Wheels: A look at the real stars of the movies - those crazy vehicles. Although a detailed look at all of the vehicles uses was not included (140 were designed, built, and used in the film), about a dozen of them that had the most screen time were profiled. If you are into car modification and restoration, this bonus feature is for you.

The Tools of the Wasteland: Comments from cast and crew regarding production and set design and what was like working with the technical crew.

The Road Warriors: A brief profile of characters portrayed by Tom Hardy (Mad Max) and Charlize Theron (Furiosa) spoken by the actors.

The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome — The actresses portraying the "Five Wives" are interviewed about their characters, and how they prepared for their roles.

Fury Road: Crash & Smash — A great montage of mostly unedited car chase and crash scenes that definitely proves that they were the real deal and not CGI'd.

Deleted Scenes:  A total so three deleted scenes are present, "I Am a Milker," "Turn Every Grain of Sand" and "Let's Do It." Although interesting, they don't add anything of substance to the film - However, "I Am a Milker" is kind of disturbing.

Trailers: One trailer is presented: "Black Mass", plus a promo for Ultraviolet's HD Digital Copy option.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - Video

From the opening shot, this film is a visual feast. Filmed mostly in Namibia, Director George Miller takes you on a desert journey that toggles back and forth with ease between the wide expanse of the open desert a la "Lawrence of Arabia", to claustrophobic vehicle interiors.

Everything looks great. The daytime open desert shots have a natural sepia-tone tinge without sacrificing too much from the vehicle, set, and costume, colors, although flesh tones are affected somewhat. Also, in addition to the landscape details (mostly sand of course), exterior and interior vehicle, down to the nuts, bolts, and switches, as well as costume details were excellent.

However, what really draws you in visually is the amazing stunt work and doubly amazing car crashes, which were all shot as practical effects, with only a little assist of digital compositing and minor use of CGI (mostly rope removal from the stunt players).

I also want to point out that although the film is available on 3D Blu-ray, I was sent the 2D version for review, but I was not disappointed. Although I am 3D fan, I found that Mad Max: Fury Road, displayed excellent depth for a 2D image on the Vizio E55-c2 1080p LED/LCD TV had on had for the review. Although it did appear a little softer (but still very good) on the LG PF1500 video projector (paired with an 80-inch screen) I also used to take a look at portions of the film.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - Audio

For audio, the Blu-ray Disc (both 2D and 3D versions) provide Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel soundtracks. If you have a Dolby Atmos home theater setup, you will experience a more precise and immersive listening experience (vertical height) than with the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 option.

Also, those that do not have a home theater receiver that provides Dolby Atmos or Dolby TrueHD decoding, your Blu-ray Disc player will send out a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix.

The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack I had access to on my system was definitely wide and immersive. There is a lot going on this film sonically, definitely don't settle for a TV's built-in speakers, or a just a sound bar - it deserves to be heard in a full surround environment.

Also, it is important to note that there is very little dialog in the film, and what dialog there is, is brief and to the point, but frankly, who cares - this is a true action film and expository or lengthy dialog would just get in the way. Just as with the detailed visuals, you can hear the layers of sound created by rattling vehicle bodies, loose bolts, thirsty engines, and hand-to-hand combat.

One of the most interesting, and oddest sound platforms in the film is a truck loaded with speakers, drummers, and crazy guitar player that provides the rallying cry point for the "enemy" forces. Also, if you like subwoofer, this film has ​subwoofer - you might want to alert your neighbors before turning up the volume.

Final Take

Mad Max: Fury Road is one crazy film, and definitely deserves its R rating - lots of violence and some very disturbing images - definitely not for family movie nite if you have young children. However, it may also be the best true action film ever made - it will definitely be hard for filmmakers to beat its thrill-a-minute (no - make that thrill-a-second) presentation - without relying on a lot of CGI.

Despite the limited dialog, you still get to know the characters via their distinctive costuming (and in some cases - prosthetics), as well as body language.

If you are looking for a film that can really give your home theater system a workout, both visually and sonically, Mad Max: Fury Road is one of those films - it definitely deserves a spot in your Blu-ray disc collection.

UPDATE: 02/28/2016: Max Max - Fury Road, was awarded six Oscars at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, including Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Make-Up and Hair Styling, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing.

DISCLAIMER: The Blu-ray Disc package used in this review was provided by Dolby Labs and Warner Home Video

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Package Reviewed

3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy

DVD Only

Amazon Instant Video (rent or buy)

Components Used In This Review

Blu-ray Disc Players: OPPO BDP-103 and BDP-103D.

TV: Vizio E55c-2 LED/LCD Smart TV (on review loan)

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-NR705

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (7.1 channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , 2 Polk R300s, Klipsch Synergy Sub10.