In Minnesota for the first time on business I had the opportunity to take a few pictures. On my first day I was able to explore the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, the Mall of America, Minnehaha Falls, Mill City Museum, and St. Anthony Falls. On the second day I attended a baseball game at Target field. It happened to be Star Wars day which explains why security was being provided by the stormtroopers of the 501st. They went all out on the scoreboard: they changed the font to match the movie logos; they replaced the bats in player pictures with lightsabers; and they let Darth Vader throw out the first pitch. On the third day of the visit there was an organized photowalk downtown. I got a couple of good pictures of Westminster Presbyterian Church and the alley behind Dahl’s Violin shop.

Mad Max: Fury Road

It’s been over a week since I went to see Mad Mad: Fury Road. The movie has stayed with me all week. The movie is a visual masterpiece although it is not going to win any awards for its non-existent dialog or plot. There is barely any plot to speak of. The whole movie is basically one long chase. I’d be surprised if Tom Hardy had a dozen lines of dialog in the whole movie. What you have is a frenetic and artistic spectacle. The cinematography of ever frame shows a complex understanding of color and tone. We are returning to a world that has had three movies already but this movie makes it feel new and ready for another three movies.

This is Charlize Theron’s movie. She stars as the one-armed Imperator Furiosa who just wants to go home. She finds out that you can never go home and returns to where we started. Tom Hardy’s Max Rockatansky bare has any effect on the story but we follow is perspective for most of the movie. Nicholas Hoult also co-stars as Nux who has the biggest story arc and redemption. Nux’s backstory is featured in a comic released this week.

Director George Miller has been working on this movie since 1998. Usually that is a bad sign in Hollywood. Stories on the Internet abound about all the production problems they had. Filming finally took place in South Africa which had the right desert look. The production also relied heavily on practical effects instead of green screens. When I saw the trailers showing the long poles, I thought it looked goofy. By the time you see them in the movie, they are completely believable.

It is not necessary that you have seen the previous three movies. Each of those movies can stand on their own. Max is the only character that passes between them. They are all available on the usually video sources. If you have seen them then there are some Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the move. Actor Hugh Keays-Byrne returns from Mad Max (1979) film but as a different character. Fans will recognize him as Toecutter then and Immortan Joe now.

I saw this movie in 3-D. I later found out that it was a post-process conversion 3-D film. Had I know this going into the movie I might have opted to see in in 2-D, especially after my recent bad Ultron experience. The 3-D in this film is incredible. There were a couple of cheesy obvious 3-D pandering shots but for the most part it was effectively used to immerse you in the experience. This is a movie that should be seen on the big screen, preferably in 3-D.

Mad Max opening scene