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PETROL­HEAD PAR­ADISE A le­gion of cin­ema-go­ers left mul­ti­plexes with their minds blown – here’s how Ge­orge Miller and co did it…

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - In Depth 3d Tools - Au­thor Ab­bie Bern­stein Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books Price £25 Web www.ti­tan­books.com Avail­able Now

The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road; The Art of In­side Out; VHS Video Cover Art.

the orig­i­nal Mad Max tril­ogy was the zenith of postapoc­a­lyp­tic ac­tion fran­chises. Not only has the se­ries’ 21st cen­tury re­birth rocked the boat by cen­tring on a fem­i­nist nar­ra­tive that sub­verts all the prej­u­dices of your av­er­age Mel Gib­son lover, but jaded ac­tion fans have left mul­ti­plexes mar­vel­ling at the ex­hil­a­rat­ing world in which they’ve been im­mersed.

An in-depth print in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how Ge­orge Miller and his team of artists man­aged to ex­ceed all ex­pec­ta­tions, bring­ing such spec­ta­cle back to the screen, is there­fore par­tic­u­larly worth­while, at a time when so many films get their own au­to­matic tie-in art book, ir­re­spec­tive of suc­cess.

Ab­bie Bern­stein’s ap­proach is com­pre­hen­sive with­out ever delv­ing deep into Max’s world from the pre­vi­ous three films. In­stead, the au­thor pro­vides an episodic de­con­struc­tion of Fury Road, with a com­pact com­men­tary for each set piece.

In his stir­ring in­tro­duc­tion, Ge­orge stresses the em­pha­sis on old-school film­mak­ing with real stunt­men, rusty ve­hi­cles, and ev­ery grain of filth cap­tured on cel­lu­loid. Nonethe­less, as the sec­tions in each chap­ter take us from rough sketch to fin­ished spec­ta­cle, Ab­bie’s nar­ra­tive shows that good use has been made of the kind of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy the di­rec­tor couldn’t have imag­ined 30 years ago.

As ever, to­tal mes­sianic de­vo­tion to the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine and the iconog­ra­phy of petrol­head hys­te­ria are cen­tral, with guides to the re­al­i­sa­tion of ve­hi­cles that make the mind boggle, even as char­coal or wa­ter­colour sketches. The Gi­ga­horse, the War Rig, all those gnarly pur­suit ve­hi­cles… in­deed, any road­ster that im­pressed on the screen crops up, with brief but in­trigu­ing ex­po­si­tion.

It seems un­likely that Fury Road will be the fi­nal in­stal­ment of Mad Max’s story, but in this book, Ab­bie and the team be­hind and in front of the cam­era have doc­u­mented a unique jour­ney, show­ing how a de­funct movie fran­chise can be re­vived not just as a cash cow for the film stu­dio, but a gen­uine cin­e­matic event.

It’s more of a hand­book for fans than an artist’s show­case, and we would have liked fewer press photos and much more of the raw artistry that helped cre­ate this dystopia, but cin­ema-go­ers still haunted by Fury Road will be well ad­vised to take the jour­ney.

A key frame that sets the scene at the start of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Tat­too and pierc­ing de­signs for the War Boys, who make up the army that pur­sues Mad Max in the film.

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