Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury Road

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Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury Road

Postby MWFV8 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:36 am

A lot of you aren't going to like this, but it's related to Max and thus deserves being posted. I think Rob Ager is totally on the money, and has been for years when it comes to Mad Max.

Brilliant insight, in my opinion. His ability to point out new moments of brilliance in Road Warrior always impresses me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_2sPkfPKwc
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby Taipan » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:46 am

Thanks for reminding, I was about to watch this one a few days back but forgot.
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby scfc68 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:05 pm

I agree, he's pretty spot on.

Ive watched Fury Road several times now since downloading it from Sky Store and whilst the movie is good and possibly a million times better than it had any right to be, its not even close to Mad Max 2 in any department, including action. Sometimes piling more & more on isn't always the best approach.
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby Taipan » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:47 pm

Ok, so I'll go point by point:

Music:
I partially agree with him. The music in Fury Road is overall generic, with Hans Zimmer'ish drumming that I really despise - it's overused. But as for the music accentuating beats in the movie, Rob left out a few moments where music is really tailored towards the scene, for example when Furiosa bangs on the air filter the drums bang in sync and it creates a cool effect. As for the guitars, I thought they were incorporated well for the most part, except for the final chase scene. They really stood out there and weren't needed to be honest. The overall quality of music is nowhere near Road Warrior - that soundtrack is one of my absolute favorites, if not my favorite. It's emotional where it needs to and fits the imagery like a glove and also knows when to shut up when it's not needed. And even though it uses themes, it uses them in an original way each time around, like when Max crawls on the ground after his Interceptor exploded. That is the same theme from the Intro, just in a different context with a different approach.
Which brings me to another point - Fury Road literally copy and pastes elements of the soundtrack! It's really annoying. Notable examples: the scene where Max fights the guys on the hood of the War Rig, the music is not only pure shit (it really is, sounds like a horrible B-movie buildup) but it literally fades out for the moment Max is caught by Furiosa. And then it awkwardly fades in again with the same motif. What the hell was that? The only redeeming quality here is that it's followed by a the best moment in the movie sound-visual-wise, where Furiosa gets stabbed and watches Toast drive past in The Gigahorse. Either way - Fury Road uses not only the same themes but literally the same score a number of times without much variation if any. It really stands out and it sucks. For example:
When Nux is about to ram himself into The War Rig. The same music plays just before Angharad gets killed. In the Sandstorm scene the 'theme' to the 'tornado' is the same as in the very end of the movie where Rictus rips the supercharger from the War Rig. The moment Immortan's face gets ripped off, Razor Cola with Slit on the hood catches up with the War Rig and Max blowing up The Peacemaker - it's the exact same thing again! And I'm not talking a variation of it, it really sounds like it was just copied and pasted into the scene. I don't remember anything like that happening in Road Warrior, each moment in Road Warrior that shared a theme sounded different, there was variation on it.


Predictability:
The usage of guns in Fury Road is inherently imprinted into its design. While it was it was handled way better in Road Warrior where bullets were a precious commodity, you'd have to re-write Fury Road from the ground up to match Road Warrior's tone in that aspect, so I don't think the criticism of shooting scenes is really valid. They are what they are, I wish they weren't there as much but you can't do anything about it. Which brings me to a point:
It feels like the availability of resources in Fury Road was just an excuse for all those crazy action sequences to happen. Whereas in Road Warrior the lack of resources created great action sequences - there was a real sense of engagement in the final tanker chase and each time Humungus fired a gun fpr example. Fury Road was the other way around - action first, justify it second. In that aspect I think the Road Warrior was far more superior. The rest of that segment I agree with.

Believability:
For the most part I do agree. Except the Nux's 'heroic death' actually had an impact on me because of many emotional levels it played on. First off it's Nux finally facing his death, then it's him addressing Capable to 'witness him' instead of Immortan Joe or anyone from that cult and finally sacrificing himself. It was a powerful moment and I'd argue if it was just a shallow way of killing him off. As for the question of how the society in Fury Road manages to keep those vehicles up and running - the society in The Citadel is pretty advanced for its location as well as Gas Town and the Bullet Farm. Way more advanced than anything we've seen in previous movies. Add to it this world is all about not throwing away but recycling and re-purposing items and cherishing things from the old world - then it's understandable why they have their vehicles in such good condition and taken care of. The 'shiny and chrome' religion serves that too and shows their mindset. Plus they get tons of materials from the Wretched trying to either trade with The Citadel or get up there too. For an empty wasteland there sure is a whole lot of junk to salvage and work with.
With the Buzzards not attacking The Gigahorse on its way back - I have no answer to this other than it's a plot hole. But with the canyon pass, it actually does collapse entirely onto the wreckage of the War Rig and the Doof Wagon. Perhaps that would be too much for the remaining few marauders to clean up and go through? But it's a 'what if' question just like what would happen if they made it back to The Citadel to launch a 'large scale attack' despite not having enough resources, vehicles and most importantly - any leaders to fight for. Probably just better to go there and surrender or not go there at all. It's the same thing that happened at the end of Road Warrior - the marauders just disbanded. Except in the Road Warrior it made logical sense for them to do that because they seemed to be a cobbed together band of 'evildoers' from the start, so the lack of their leader wasn't much of a tragedy - they just moved on to scavenge the Wasteland again, perhaps form another tribe under someone's rule.

Emotional Engagement:
The 'smoothness' of shots in Fury Road. Not a fan of them at all. In fact, in Road Warrior, Miller said it on record that he deliberately introduced some shakiness into shots to give them the realism he was looking for. Obviously it was nowhere near the dreaded 'shaky cam' but used in a very specific way to a great effect. In Fury Road I hated and I repeat HATED the smoothness of shots and especially those god damn STABILIZED shots. I understand the intention might have been to keep everything in the center frame but ffs was it really necessary when the War Boy says the name Furiosa to Nux when he's going to get his wheel? Or when Valkyrie was reloading the gun just before shooting at the Gigahorse? That shot looked so artificial I was hoping for a moment that the movie theater I was in was having some pan and scan problem with this movie. But no - that was the intention - to make this shot awkwardly pan and scan it to keep everything in the frame for some reason - that shot did not require it. Same with Slit's shot when he's pointing at Max. Why is it stabilized and focused on his eyes? I remember in one of early trailers it wasn't stabilized yet and it looked awesome, there wasn't a single problem with that shot.
Anyway - Rob's complaint about the lack of tarmac roads is exactly the same as the overabundance of bullets. It's just the way that world was designed and as much as I'd love to see more tarmac too - there's no way it could've happened in that story.

Editing:
I absolutely agree. Too many cuts, the pace is too fast at times. I had that concern before watching FR because RW had those great long shots that allow you to let the action sink in. With Fury Road it sometimes takes a lot to keep up and it's exhausting.

Story and character functions:
From what I gather, Max has PTSD and his flashbacks are essentially what happens to people in that state. From my understanding, people with PTSD indeed are rendered somewhat disabled when flashbacks occur which is in tune with what Max is at the very beginning of the movie. We need to keep in mind that Max is supposedly getting more sane as the movie moves along so perhaps that is the reason he does not have many flashbacks later on in the movie.

All in all I liked Fury Road more than Rob did, I wouldn't give it 5/10 citing simple script as one of the main problems. The script is as simple as in RW, it's just that it was wrapped in a different - much more action packed approach and visual style that ultimately made the movie quite enjoyable to me.
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby KamicrazyWarGal » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:10 pm

I enjoyed the review. But I also don't think the problems with Fury Road he pointed out (while true) mean that its not a brilliant film! I'm too young to have seen any classic movies in theaters, its just been crud, Inside Out and Oblivion and John Carter, while watching old movies from like the 80s and wishing I lived then instead! But then Fury Road comes out, and its not just not bad - its good! Easily the best movie I have seen in theaters.

This vid (and some of his other videos) did point out some symbolism and smart cinematography I missed though in Road Warrior, so that was nice, too!
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby Artemis Flow » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:24 pm

I turned it off after 1:15 , so many reviews for this movie people have a hundred different takes on it bla bal bla bler mediocre :mrgreen: its got to be one of the most over analized movies of the decade and most of it is for click bait :|
My take Mad Max 2 - groundbreaking cinema never seen before , created a lasting impact
Fury Road - been there done that but still fuckin awesome , shock value nulified for old timers
* New site Fury Road Vehicles - http://furyroadvehicles.blogspot.com.au/
*Sydney Fury Road Stunt show - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N929gjLLzkk
*Hitler reacts to Mad Max Fury Road - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-_km-xssIA
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby MWFV8 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:26 am

scfc68 wrote:Ive watched Fury Road several times now since downloading it from Sky Store and whilst the movie is good and possibly a million times better than it had any right to be, its not even close to Mad Max 2 in any department, including action. Sometimes piling more & more on isn't always the best approach.


I've watched it twice in full and found myself going back to a few scenes now and then. It's definitely pulled me back more times than many other modern movies but it's often to simply take in those convoy and stunt setups.
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby MWFV8 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:56 am

Taipan wrote:Ok, so I'll go point by point:

Music:
I partially agree with him. The music in Fury Road is overall generic, with Hans Zimmer'ish drumming that I really despise - it's overused. But as for the music accentuating beats in the movie, Rob left out a few moments where music is really tailored towards the scene, for example when Furiosa bangs on the air filter the drums bang in sync and it creates a cool effect. As for the guitars, I thought they were incorporated well for the most part, except for the final chase scene. They really stood out there and weren't needed to be honest. The overall quality of music is nowhere near Road Warrior - that soundtrack is one of my absolute favorites, if not my favorite. It's emotional where it needs to and fits the imagery like a glove and also knows when to shut up when it's not needed. And even though it uses themes, it uses them in an original way each time around, like when Max crawls on the ground after his Interceptor exploded. That is the same theme from the Intro, just in a different context with a different approach.
Which brings me to another point - Fury Road literally copy and pastes elements of the soundtrack! It's really annoying. Notable examples: the scene where Max fights the guys on the hood of the War Rig, the music is not only pure shit (it really is, sounds like a horrible B-movie buildup) but it literally fades out for the moment Max is caught by Furiosa. And then it awkwardly fades in again with the same motif. What the hell was that? The only redeeming quality here is that it's followed by a the best moment in the movie sound-visual-wise, where Furiosa gets stabbed and watches Toast drive past in The Gigahorse. Either way - Fury Road uses not only the same themes but literally the same score a number of times without much variation if any. It really stands out and it sucks. For example:
When Nux is about to ram himself into The War Rig. The same music plays just before Angharad gets killed. In the Sandstorm scene the 'theme' to the 'tornado' is the same as in the very end of the movie where Rictus rips the supercharger from the War Rig. The moment Immortan's face gets ripped off, Razor Cola with Slit on the hood catches up with the War Rig and Max blowing up The Peacemaker - it's the exact same thing again! And I'm not talking a variation of it, it really sounds like it was just copied and pasted into the scene. I don't remember anything like that happening in Road Warrior, each moment in Road Warrior that shared a theme sounded different, there was variation on it.


Predictability:
The usage of guns in Fury Road is inherently imprinted into its design. While it was it was handled way better in Road Warrior where bullets were a precious commodity, you'd have to re-write Fury Road from the ground up to match Road Warrior's tone in that aspect, so I don't think the criticism of shooting scenes is really valid. They are what they are, I wish they weren't there as much but you can't do anything about it. Which brings me to a point:
It feels like the availability of resources in Fury Road was just an excuse for all those crazy action sequences to happen. Whereas in Road Warrior the lack of resources created great action sequences - there was a real sense of engagement in the final tanker chase and each time Humungus fired a gun fpr example. Fury Road was the other way around - action first, justify it second. In that aspect I think the Road Warrior was far more superior. The rest of that segment I agree with.

Believability:
For the most part I do agree. Except the Nux's 'heroic death' actually had an impact on me because of many emotional levels it played on. First off it's Nux finally facing his death, then it's him addressing Capable to 'witness him' instead of Immortan Joe or anyone from that cult and finally sacrificing himself. It was a powerful moment and I'd argue if it was just a shallow way of killing him off. As for the question of how the society in Fury Road manages to keep those vehicles up and running - the society in The Citadel is pretty advanced for its location as well as Gas Town and the Bullet Farm. Way more advanced than anything we've seen in previous movies. Add to it this world is all about not throwing away but recycling and re-purposing items and cherishing things from the old world - then it's understandable why they have their vehicles in such good condition and taken care of. The 'shiny and chrome' religion serves that too and shows their mindset. Plus they get tons of materials from the Wretched trying to either trade with The Citadel or get up there too. For an empty wasteland there sure is a whole lot of junk to salvage and work with.
With the Buzzards not attacking The Gigahorse on its way back - I have no answer to this other than it's a plot hole. But with the canyon pass, it actually does collapse entirely onto the wreckage of the War Rig and the Doof Wagon. Perhaps that would be too much for the remaining few marauders to clean up and go through? But it's a 'what if' question just like what would happen if they made it back to The Citadel to launch a 'large scale attack' despite not having enough resources, vehicles and most importantly - any leaders to fight for. Probably just better to go there and surrender or not go there at all. It's the same thing that happened at the end of Road Warrior - the marauders just disbanded. Except in the Road Warrior it made logical sense for them to do that because they seemed to be a cobbed together band of 'evildoers' from the start, so the lack of their leader wasn't much of a tragedy - they just moved on to scavenge the Wasteland again, perhaps form another tribe under someone's rule.

Emotional Engagement:
The 'smoothness' of shots in Fury Road. Not a fan of them at all. In fact, in Road Warrior, Miller said it on record that he deliberately introduced some shakiness into shots to give them the realism he was looking for. Obviously it was nowhere near the dreaded 'shaky cam' but used in a very specific way to a great effect. In Fury Road I hated and I repeat HATED the smoothness of shots and especially those god damn STABILIZED shots. I understand the intention might have been to keep everything in the center frame but ffs was it really necessary when the War Boy says the name Furiosa to Nux when he's going to get his wheel? Or when Valkyrie was reloading the gun just before shooting at the Gigahorse? That shot looked so artificial I was hoping for a moment that the movie theater I was in was having some pan and scan problem with this movie. But no - that was the intention - to make this shot awkwardly pan and scan it to keep everything in the frame for some reason - that shot did not require it. Same with Slit's shot when he's pointing at Max. Why is it stabilized and focused on his eyes? I remember in one of early trailers it wasn't stabilized yet and it looked awesome, there wasn't a single problem with that shot.
Anyway - Rob's complaint about the lack of tarmac roads is exactly the same as the overabundance of bullets. It's just the way that world was designed and as much as I'd love to see more tarmac too - there's no way it could've happened in that story.

Editing:
I absolutely agree. Too many cuts, the pace is too fast at times. I had that concern before watching FR because RW had those great long shots that allow you to let the action sink in. With Fury Road it sometimes takes a lot to keep up and it's exhausting.

Story and character functions:
From what I gather, Max has PTSD and his flashbacks are essentially what happens to people in that state. From my understanding, people with PTSD indeed are rendered somewhat disabled when flashbacks occur which is in tune with what Max is at the very beginning of the movie. We need to keep in mind that Max is supposedly getting more sane as the movie moves along so perhaps that is the reason he does not have many flashbacks later on in the movie.

All in all I liked Fury Road more than Rob did, I wouldn't give it 5/10 citing simple script as one of the main problems. The script is as simple as in RW, it's just that it was wrapped in a different - much more action packed approach and visual style that ultimately made the movie quite enjoyable to me.


Firstly thanks for taking the time to right such a detailed and well rounded summary of your thoughts and feelings. I think this is a really well balanced analysis.

My conflict about the music is suitability for a modern audience. I wonder if music composed so closely the action on screen might feel outdated by today's standards and thus come across as old fashioned or strange - even to us older movie fans. I'm not sure. It's an area of filmmaking I'm very ignorant of so have little to reference. I also wonder about how practical it is for a composer to really do a thorough job when post production is subject to so much additional material being added and so many last minute edits being made. I would imagine a composer in the 70's/80's could have been dreaming up scores straight from the rushes and have a final edit a long time before release.

I'm with you on the practicality of keeping the vehicles running. It's easy to speculate that the resource wasn't there, but it seemed to me the art and vehicle departments did an amazing job of designing for this, from the backstory behind some of the vehicles to the transporter picking up the wrecks. For me it all comes back to one simple fact, the production crew managed to do pretty much what Immortan Joe needed to happen in the movie. They built makeshift vehicles, shipped them to Africa, and kept them running for long enough to shoot the movie.

I also agree about the guns and tarmac roads. In the case of the latter, it might be fair to say roads would have been an impractical production restriction given location. It certainly all felt fast to me too - very fast with the rocks and sand blurring by and dust being kicked up.

I think Rob Ager does offer a far better structure for building the action and peril for a huge multi-gang fight at the end. They could have had the first chase without the buzzards, or just a few of them, and then brought in the backup from Gas Town and the Bullet Farm with each chase to keep upping the spectacle. Perhaps having the Pole Cats turn up in a final showdown with the Buzzards. They could have even had The People Eater and his gang turn on Immortan Joe and the War Boys as their relationship broke down. Not only would this have led to a more spectacular showdown, it would have meant most of the bad people, including enemy gangs such as the Buzzards would be wiped out from the area they know needs protecting.

You make a very interesting point about the trailers. As I've said before, there was a huge direction change between the teaser and the first trailer that really put me off Fury Road and seemed to divide members here. Everytime I see the post-effects shots, I can't help but find the original footage significantly more appealing and grounding. In fact sometimes I've found the behind the scenes stunt footage more appealing.

I do agree that 5/10 is harsh. But then I have found the same issue as Rob Ager; I think less of Fury Road the more I re-watch parts of it while thinking more of Road Warrior every time I see it.

But yeah, ultimately I feel the conclusion to take from this is that Fury Road is a respectable compromise between what made money thirty years ago and what makes money today.
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby MWFV8 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 7:58 am

Artemis Flow wrote:I turned it off after 1:15 , so many reviews for this movie people have a hundred different takes on it bla bal bla bler mediocre :mrgreen: its got to be one of the most over analized movies of the decade and most of it is for click bait


That's not really fair to say in this case. Rob Ager has been sharing his analysis of Mad Max films for a very long time now. His breakdown of Road Warrior was remarkable. I've not seen a single critic take Mad Max so seriously pre-Fury Road.
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Re: Rob Ager - Action scene psychology: Road Warrior V Fury

Postby Mad Serge » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:19 am

Well, Ager doesn't know things are even more silly with the comics who are canon.
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