Mad Max: Fury Road (Cert 15)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee.
Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is the enigmatic driver of a mighty 18-wheeler mobile war rig belonging to Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), the leader of The Citadel.
The despot has enslaved five women (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton, Abbey Lee), to provide him with a viable male heir.
Furiosa kidnaps the women and flees across the Wasteland with Immortan Joe and his army in hot pursuit. Among the chasing horde is shaven-headed, tattooed acolyte Nux (Nicholas Hoult), whose poisoned blood is replenished by a living donor, Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), strapped to the front of his hot rod.
During the chase, Max breaks free from Nux and begrudgingly helps Furiosa and the women to evade Immortan Joe’s clutches.
Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth instalment of George Miller’s post-apocalyptic franchise and delivers thrillingly choreographed sequences of carmageddon, which build to a jaw-dropping finale.
The orgy of high-octane auto mayhem is diminished on the small screen but still makes Fast & Furious 7 look like a sedate Sunday afternoon drive.
Hardy perfects an array of grunts and growls in place of dialogue. He’s a dull boy next to Theron’s gutsy alpha female, who goes toe-to-toe and trades blow for bone-crunching blow with the grizzled anti-hero.
When director Miller briefly takes his foot off the accelerator, he hopes we’ll be too giddy on exhaust fumes to care deeply about plot and characterisation.
Both sit quietly in the back seat, waiting for the next rev of a V-8 engine. A five-disc box set comprising the four Mad Max films, a feature-length documentary and four exclusive art cards is also available.
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (Cert 12)
Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie, Thomas Robinson, Tim McGraw, Pierce Gagnon.
At the 1964 New York World Fair, young inventor Frank Walker (Thomas Robinson) fails to impress judge David Nix (Hugh Laurie) with his misfiring jetpack.
However, the boy does catch the eye of an enigmatic girl called Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who gives Frank a lapel pin emblazoned with a capital T that magically grants him access to a parallel dimension called Tomorrowland.
Many years later, Frank (now played by George Clooney) is a grizzled recluse, haunted by the past. A spirited young woman called Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), who has glimpsed this futuristic realm by touching her own lapel pin, gatecrashes Frank’s life at the most inopportune moment.
“You’ve been manipulated to believe you’re part of something incredible,” Frank warns Casey as they travel back to Tomorrowland to discover the fairy tale realm has been corrupted beyond recognition.
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is a big budget fantasy which vociferously encourages children to dream. How ironic that Brad Bird’s picture is short on invention and ingenuity, despite a trio of slick set pieces in the opening hour. Rising star Cassidy, from Worsley near Manchester, outshines Clooney and Robertson in their underwritten roles. A framing device, which allows Frank and Casey to jointly narrate the story — and constantly bicker — grates and is ultimately superfluous.
Once the cogs of a preposterous plot begin to whir, any exhilaration quickly dissipates, leaving us to slog through an exceedingly pedestrian second hour that is heavy on exposition and light on wonder.