Mad Max: Fury Road appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. From start to finish, the movie offered an excellent presentation.
Typical for modern action flicks, teal and orange dominated the film’s palette. While that trend was predictable and tedious, I can’t complain about the replication, as the hues looked strong within their stylistic constraints. Blacks came across as dark and tight, and shadows appeared smooth and easily discernible.
Sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness ever affected the shots, so the movie brought us terrific clarity and definition. No signs of jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to materialize. All in all, this offered a fine image.
I also felt consistently pleased with the thrilling Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Fury Road. Because I don’t have an Atmos-equipped system, this played back as a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix, and it was a good one.
The soundfield presented an active and lively piece that constantly engaged the various speakers. The film showed distinctive imagery throughout the movie that placed different auditory elements accurately within the spectrum and meshed them together nicely.
Music provided strong stereo imaging, and effects popped up from the appropriate locations. Quieter scenes – which didn’t pop up often - displayed positive ambience, while the many action set pieces involved engrossing and vibrant imaging. With nearly non-stop movement and mayhem, this became one of the more active soundfields I’ve heard in a while.
Audio quality also seemed positive. Speech consistently appeared natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music sounded bright and dynamic as the disc neatly replicated the score.
Effects packed a nice wallop when necessary, as these elements seemed clean and distinct at all times. Bass response came across as deep and tight, and the low-end added a good layer of depth and oomph to the package. This was a mix to challenge your subwoofer, as it really administered a heavy punch. I thought this was a consistently impressive soundtrack.
How did this 2016 Blu-ray compare to the 2015 release? Both were identical – literally. The 2016 edition just rebundled the 2015 disc.
This package includes both the film’s theatrical version and a ”Black & Chrome Edition” of Fury Road. The movie review and the quality comments above addressed the theatrical disc – what’s the scoop on the “B&C” presentation?
Despite the reference to “chrome”, that’s just a snazzy way to describe what we commonly call black and white. No other changes to the film occur – it simply strips away the color.
Does this make it better in any way? Not that I can discern. Yeah, I complained about the cliché use of orange and teal in the theatrical version, but I don’t think the movie seems more satisfying when presented in a monochromatic manner.
Perhaps the situation would be different if George Miller had actually shot the film black and white, as that would give it a more organic feel. As viewed here, it always seems obvious that Fury Road provides a desaturated version of a color movie – while the black and white still shows good clarity, it just doesn’t look like an effort that originated in that format.
This gives Fury Road a semi-anachronistic appearance that doesn’t work for me. Rather than resemble a true black and white movie, it comes across like a Nine Inch Nails video from the 1990s – something shot in color but made to look black and white to seem “arty”.
As much as I loathe orange and teal, I prefer the color version of the film. The artificial feel of the black and white distanced me from the story, as the monochromatic visuals always felt “wrong” to me.
The nature of the story doesn’t suit the format either. The black and white visuals give Fury Road a certain feeling of dignity that doesn’t match the wild, over the top tale and antics on display. Even as lame as orange and teal may be, they make more sense for such an off-kilter film – the black and white just doesn’t connect to the movie.
In terms of presentation quality, audio remained identical for the theatrical and “B&C” versions, as they both included the same Dolby Atmos track. Other than the absence of color, I thought the “B&C” edition looked the same as the theatrical Blu-ray. It gave us another excellent visual presentation.
Most of the set’s extras come on the theatrical disc, and these stem from its six featurettes. We find “Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road” (28:38), “Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels” (22:37), “The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa” (11:18), “The Tools of the Wasteland” (14:26), “The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome” (11:11) and “Fury Road: Crash and Smash” (4:02).
Across these, we hear from writer/producer/director George Miller, production designer Colin Gibson, principal vehicle designer/storyboard artist Peter Pound, producer Doug Mitchell, executive producer Iain Smith, co-special effects supervisors Dan Oliver and Andy Williams, stunt coordinator Keir Beck, 2nd unit director/supervising stunt coordinator Guy Norris, visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, technical continuity Georgina Selby, fight coordinator Richard Norton, principal War Rig driver Lee Adamson, principal storyboard artist Mark Sexton, salvage artist Matt Boug, property master Andrew Orlando, costume designer Jenny Beaven, key armourer Lance Peters, and actors Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Josh Helman, Angus Sampson, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Courtney Eaton, and iOta.
The programs cover the movie’s development and the use of storyboards, locations and shooting in the desert, vehicles, stunts and action, various effects, cast and performances, story/characters, production design, costumes and props. “Crash and Smash” includes no interviews, but it shows various forms of raw footage to accentuate the movie’s active use of practical material.
Taken together, the featurettes offer a pretty good picture of the production. Given the format, they don’t gel into a particularly coherent overall view, but they tell us plenty about the shoot. Expect to learn a fair amount about Fury Road here.
Three deleted scenes fill a total of three minutes, 21 seconds. We find “I Am a Milker” (0:32), “Turn Every Grain of Sand!” (1:49) and “Let’s Do It” (0:59). “Milker” shows a woman desperate to enter Joe’s inner circle, while “Sand” extends the launch of the hunt for Furiosa. Finally, “Do It” gives us a short intro to the movie’s climactic journey. None of these seem especially memorable, though “Milker” at least depicts the desperation of the downtrodden.
The disc opens with an ad for Black Mass. No trailer for Fury Road appears here.
Only one extra appears on the “Black & Chrome” disc: an introduction from director George Miller. It lasts one minute, 37 seconds and gives us Miller’s thoughts about this monochromatic version of the film. He gives us a decent lead-in to the movie.
Apparently many viewers find Mad Max: Fury Road to offer a thrilling, dynamic action experience. I do not. I think it comes with occasional excitement but it suffers from such thin story/characters that it never digs beneath the surface. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio as well as some informative bonus materials.
Fans who don’t already own Fury Road should give the “Black & Chrome” release a gander – at least those without 3D capabilities. I liked the 3D presentation and felt it offered the most satisfying rendition of the film.
For those non-owners without 3D abilities, the “B&C” release seems like a good choice. While I think it’s a weaker version of the film, it still offers an interesting alternate option. The director prefers it, so fans should decide if they agree with him – and disagree with me.
Fans who possess any prior Fury Road Blu-ray should probably leave “Black & Chrome” on the shelves. Like I said, it delivers a mildly intriguing way to watch the movie, but I don’t think it’s worth the money. If this package included new supplements or other added value, then perhaps I’d recommend the double dip, but $30 MSRP seems pricey just to see a black and white version of the film.
To rate this film visit the original review of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD