Mad Max Fury Road Review: Part 2 – Costumes
Hot on the heels of the first part of our Mad Max Fury Road review, comes our ranting on the AMAZING costumes that appeared in this cinematic master-piece.
We’ve always loved the aesthetic of the Mad Max series. Even in the earlier low-budget cult-classics, the costuming was inventive, creative and perfectly suited for the universe that it occupied. George Miller’s latest entry Fury Road pulled out all the stops. With a much larger budget than its earlier counterparts, this film went above and beyond to create a world that the audience feels completely immersed in.
Miller’s attention to detail and heavy character back stories are legendary in the industry. Even background characters are created with their own history, something that brings the world Miller creates to life in a way that is rarely seen in other films. On set during Fury Road, Miller would ask each actor during rehearsal to tell him the history of their character and the purpose of their garments. Miller also demands that every prop on set actually works. This led to the extravagant and fully operational Doof Warrior’s ride: a towering wall of functioning speakers, and a guitar made out of bed pans that shoots fire. We also loved that the tiny wind-up music toy from Road Warriors made an appearance in the film, a nod to the continuation of this ever-evolving (or rather devolving) universe.
The costumes for Fury Road were designed by Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan. You may have seen some of her genius work in films like The King’s Speech, Defiance, and The Black Dahlia. Beavan created post-apocalyptic fashion to match the character’s back-story and to function to fulfill their character’s needs. Great attention was paid to the diverse and distressed textiles. Each faction in the Mad Max world has distinct costumes that define them and are fitting to the environment that they inhabit.
Mad Max’s rugged look for the film was a logical continuation of how Max would have continued to evolve through the years. Tom Hardy’s costume stayed consistent with the iconic reworked and patched up leather motorcycle outfit. It even paid homage to Mel Gibson’s Mad Max in The Road Warrior with the same football body armor. His jacket and boots are also reproductions of the ones worn by Mel Gibson in The Road Warrior. In Fury Road, a military vest and other gear is added on top to form a more rugged look while staying true to the original aesthetic.
Immortan Joe was once a military leader but has grown corrupt from the absolute power he wields and has transformed into a cult leader. His costume is a set of Roman-style vacuum-formed clear plastic armor decorated with his past medals and bottle caps. He also wears a terrifying respirator decorated with horse teeth to resemble a skeletal jaw which is attached to a bellow-like apparatus around his neck. To top it all off, the symbol of his office is worn as a stylized belt buckle which is attached to a Western-inspired pistol holder. Fun Fact: Immortan Joe is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, the actor who played Toe Cutter in the original Mad Max film.
Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) is a strong woman who is capable in any situation. One of the most compelling character’s in the film, George Miller broke the mold of typical Hollywood female portrayals by creating a dynamic character that truly represents women. Like seriously, it was a relief not to see a chick who is supposed to be kicking ass wearing heels. How would that even work? This mechanical armed road warrior wears a simple, minimally decorated utilitarian outfit. Furiosa’s top consists of a bandage wrap top with one sleeve to make her prosthetic arm more comfortable. Her prosthetic arm is held in place by a leather corset that acts as armor around her mid-section. We were impressed that this piece didn’t take center stage or take us out of the heat of the action. It was treated subtly, filmed as any other arm would be, and it took a while for us to get a clear view of the mechanical arm made from recycled parts and hydraulically-driven with four fingers. One of our Creative Director’s favourite pieces that Furiosa wears are the leather pants that incorporate Baroque-style slashes for increased mobility and dexterity. We also loved the practical use of the grease that she smears across her forehead, something that would protect her from the sun.
The brides of Immortan Joe were once trapped in the Citadel City but escape thanks to Imperator Furiosa who sneaks them away from their guarded cage during an oil run. They are dressed in delicate, gauzy white outfits that speak to their stature in the city. White was only worn by the wealthy and elite members of the city and the wives existed solely to provide healthy children for the aging, ill Immortan Joe. Not made for travel or adventure, the garments become soiled and ravaged by the harsh desert. Chastity belts that can only be removed with much effort using bolt cutters keep them pure from others, marking them as Immortan Joe’s property. The belts are heavy leather with a hook for a lead. The entrance to the guarded area is defended by sharp teeth.
The Vuvalini of Many Mothers are tough as nails women riders of the apocalypse. Their outfits vary in detail, but many have similar designs in common. Made from scraps of fabric and leather found in their scavenging, everything is created with flexibility, practicality and protection in mind.
We could wax on for hours about the intricate costumes created for this film, but that would take thousands more words and we fear we might leak spoilers for those of you who haven’t yet watched it.
Let us simply say that we were blown away in all the aspects of this iconic film, and salute George Miller as a true genius and innovator of modern cinema. We look forward to the sequels!
[All images from Mad Max Costumes]