Mad Max: Fury Road

The new Mad Max movie screened last night. Here's what people thought of it.

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May 1, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT

Last night in Burbank, Calif., the first public screening was held for Mad Max: Fury Road.

The first film in the franchise in three decades, with Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson as the road warrior who wanders the post-apocalyptic deserts of Australia, has been in production since 2012, but little has been seen or heard of it since cameras started rolling.

We do know that the production was one of the most troubled in recent memory, with weather issues, casting difficulties and other problems causing delay after delay. Extensive reshoots in late 2013 were then required, with the movie's budget rumored to have climbed past $200 million.

But now a May 2015 release date has been set, and after several months of letting executives at Warner Bros. Pictures look at it, director George Miller unveiled the picture for its first test screening on Wednesday evening (April 30). The movie was shown in a cut that ran just over two hours without credits, and missing some sound, music and special effects. The film will also likely be converted to 3D.

Press was banned from the event, but that didn't stop some reporters from sneaking in and later posting their thoughts, along with other members of the public. The responses were mostly mixed, leaning positive, and here's a sample, starting with Action Figure Times:

This IS the kind of Mad Max II/The Road Warrior on steroids, go-big-or-go-home, bug-nuts crazy, toss-you-in-the-deep-end mythology and put-it-all-out-there-in-case-we-never-make-another-one Mad Max Fury Road.

This movie feels like thirty years of Miller holding in passion for a world that he built so long ago, exploding on the screen.  You, remember the third act of The Road Warrior, the bad-ass truck chase that is still hailed as a masterpiece of filmmaking? You do? Good.

Because that’s what this whole movie pretty much is-and it works! A chase that goes long and deep into the heart of Miller’s post-apocalyptic world, trying to get out of the Wasteland.  It opens up and hardly slows down.

Here's a Facebook post from Kevin West:

Just came from a year in advance screening of “Mad Max Fury Road”. Weird to not see Gibson as Max but Tom Hardy holds it down just fine. Great action sequences and amazing post apocalyptic vehicles and costuming with awesome makeup.

On the other hand, a Collider reader said this:

Just saw a Mad Max advance screening. I can’t say much about it but let’s just hope they do tons of re-shoots before it’s released next year, or start again from scratch. Also Tom Hardy can’t stop doing the Bane voice.  So annoying.

As several sites have pointed out, these aren't formal reviews but first impressions of a movie that is still very much a work in progress. With a year to go, Miller has plenty of time to tweak and polish and sculpt this film into something that hopefully lives up to the greatness of his original trilogy.

In the meantime, read the latest official synopsis below and tell us your thoughts on these very early reactions to the movie. Mad Max: Fury Road, which also stars Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Nathan Jones, arrives on May 15, 2015.

Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth film of George Miller‘s Road Warrior/Mad Max franchise co-written and directed by Miller. The post-apocalyptic action film is set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and most everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life.

Within this world of fire and blood exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order… There’s Max (played by Tom Hardy from The Dark Knight Rises), a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos.

And… Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron from Prometheus), a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

(via Collider/Slashfilm)