Charlize Theron romps around the desert in Mad Max: Fury Road

A review by Brenda Daniels

Charlize Theron at the WonderCon in 2012. Photo: Creative Commons.

Charlize Theron at the WonderCon in 2012. Photo: Creative Commons.

Although not a fan of the 1980s Mad Max movies, I was nevertheless keen to see what a modern-day version of these well-known films was like. My verdict: Mad Max: Fury Road is a fun, wild, fairly pointless romp through the desert, featuring Charlize Theron as the well-rounded heroine, Furiosa.

The film is set in a future in which water is a scarcity and “green places” are a distant memory. Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) controls a fount of water out in the desert and uses it to suppress and control the thousands of people in his remote empire. One tough woman, Furiosa (Charlize Theron), turns rogue and makes off in a huge modified truck in search of a green place. Her cargo: a group of breeders – young, beautiful, innocent-looking women who could produce offspring that would presumably spawn a new and better human race.

Along the way she meets up with Mad Max (Tom Hardy) who falls in with the fleeing group and helps them evade capture. They are pursued by a very weird conglomeration of modified vehicles, and human (both living and dead) enemies. Characters are killed off with wild abandon – even the good ones – and the action is relentless. Even, at times, seemingly pointless. Furiosa is looking for utopia, yes. But this meaningful part of the story is dwarfed by the wild, endless, bloody road trip.

Tom Hardy as Max is a tough, brooding presence who says very little for the duration of the film.  Charlize Theron is very good in her role as the adept, one-armed, feisty Furiosa who has ideals and a heart. I think she holds the film together. The climax of the film is pretty good and Furiosa and Max part with enough unfinished business for the Australian filmmakers to make a sequel.

Mad Max: Fury Road, which was filmed in the Namib Desert, opens at classic and 3D cinemas countrywide in South Africa on Friday 15 May 2015.

New X-Men, with an opening scene best left in the past

A review by Brenda Daniels

Mutants attack earth relentlessly in the opening scenes of this new X-Men movie. Despite their best efforts at retaliation, the X-Men clearly are not powerful enough to fight off their attackers and things look desperately grim.

The scene is accompanied by the voice of a narrator who asks a question worded something like this: Do we have to accept our fate or can we change what happens?

This question forms the basis for X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest installment in the X-Men movie series. After the opening scene ends (which it did much to my relief), the story begins in earnest with the X-Men discussing how to solve the mutant problem that is decimating earth.

Their solution is to send one of their members back into the past in order to intercept Raven’s (Jennifer Lawrence) actions at a particular point, actions that had set the mutants in motion. Whilst Charles Xavier is the best choice to convince Raven, he isn’t physically capable of making the time-travel journey, bound as he is to a wheelchair.

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), with his twitching muscles and visible veins, is therefore chosen to go instead. Wolverine makes the journey successfully and meets up with a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). A very different Xavier  then, he at first resists Wolverine’s efforts at persuasion before giving in and helping to contact Raven. The action then proceeds along these lines.

Apart from Erik’s (Michael Fassbender) metal-bending antics, I quite enjoyed the story. Peter Dinklage as the evil Dr Trask makes an interesting enemy and there is a good amount of depth displayed within and between the characters. The film ends with just a hint that it’s not all over yet… So fans can probably look forward to more…

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens at Nu Metro cinemas in South Africa in 2D and 3D on Friday 23 May.

Soon to be released in South Africa - X-men: Days of Future Past

Soon to be released in South Africa – X-men: Days of Future Past

Ian McKellen (Magneto) at the San Diego Comic Con International

Ian McKellen (Magneto) at the San Diego Comic Con International