There’s a lot of moments in Fury Road where the characters make little sounds that convey a looot more than dialogue could, but they’re the sort of sounds that people in real life are expected and taught to keep contained. They’re emotional sounds: fear, excitement, anger, stuff that a normal well-adjusted human being is supposed to keep under control unless they want someone to look at them the way you’d look at an animal.
I need to go through the film and compile a list with screenshots. Sounds like that are really important to me, because I’m so not okay with suppressing them.
One that I love is the startled “eep” that one of the wives makes right after the three shots are fired at the end of the Max/Furiosa brawl. It’s such a cool grace note after all that furious action, but also furthers characterization.
Had SO MUCH FUN with this (even though I spent 1000 years on every wife and 10 minutes on everybody else.) Got some help and suggestions: sickmonkey1027 suggested Foxy Grandpa for Ace and gatsbygal suggested Joe in a Female Body Inspector shirt (which might be the sleaziest thing I’ve ever drawn, I feel the need to wash my tablet with soap) Also I think someone mentioned a “if lost, return to Slit” in the old post so I totally stole that idea for Cheedo.
Personal favorites are the two last one. For Max I couldn’t find ANYTHING and for Furiosa I found TOO MUCH (seriously, do you know how many horrendous trucker/asskicking novelty shirts there are out there? It’s kinda overwhelming) Then I googled “dog novelty t-shirt” AND GUESS WHAT POPPED UP ON THE FIRST PAGE. Same with Haul It Like You Stole It, when I laid my eyes on that beauty I just knew it was the one.
1. Did Cheedo not only not try to help Furiosa (who was saving their asses!) but actually tried to hold back the Dag from helping? :(
2. Knowing that he’s going to be her pet puppy by the end of that day, it’s kinda adorable that Capable couldn’t manage to get the magazine (commonly but incorrectly called a clip) out of Nux’s hand.
It’s cool being able to study it like this. So yeah, Cheedo is definitely holding the Dag back in the first two gifs, which explains neither of them being present in the scrum (though the Dag does arrive to try to pull Max off Furiosa via the chain in the fifth gif). If you watch the whole fight you can see Cheedo grabbing onto the Dag just prior to this, when the initial struggle over the handgun was happening. That’s after the Dag, who previously helped out by tossing the boltcutters to Furiosa, had drifted back toward her (Cheedo’s) location.
The fight has 15 distinct elements:
the 5 wives
the sawed-off shotgun
the water hose and nozzle
It’s like an engine, with all those parts interacting violently and chaotically, but all working to propel the scene toward its conclusion. And despite the chaos it all reads comprehensibly.
Okay so in the neverending list of things that made me go ‘Oh oh oh oh!!!!’ from our favourite movie…
…the Doof Wagon.
It’s cool. That’s a given. It has the audience go ‘WTF what am I watching’.
But the thing I really like about it is that it brings the soundtrack right into the story like no sick musical ever has. Every action sequence has to have really rad music that gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline rushing, but if you wanna think about it, the characters don’t get that score in the background as they’re running for their lives. Right?
Except here they do :P
Clearly Immortan knows how to put on a show.
But really it’s so frickin’ cool for the audience as well, because if the music is getting louder, that means Joe’s war parties are getting closer. It makes you anxious. And when the music revs up it’s not just the score, it’s what’s happening on screen. I love that!
I once wrote a homework about Fritz Lang’s M and I discovered how he, in his freaking first sound movie ever, used music and sound to create suspense and to involve the audience in the scene. Not only the leitmotiv of the murderer, but also stuff like noise that carries from one scene to the other. Go and watch it, it’s a great movie.
Anyway, ever since I have mad respect for any filmmaker who knows how to do this and who knows how to put his soundtrack and incidental music to good use. Miller does this so well in Fury Road. And the sound of the Doof Wagon getting closer is an adrenaline rush for me, like it is for Furiosa, Max and the Wives.
The other cool thing is that the Doof Wagon isn’t just there to be cool or to pump the War Boys up – it does that, but like so much else in the movie it has a clear purpose that viewers are left to piece together for themselves.
To elaborate: Max’s world does not appear to have radio. I don’t remember if we see Furiosa use and intercom in the War Rig, but every time we see long-range communication in the film, it’s using pre-radio methods: Morse Code flashes, coloured signals, etc. Those are great for long-range communication when there’s not a need for absolute split-second understanding, but in battle when two war parties collide they’re almost useless – you can’t have crews looking for signals when they should be concentrating on fighting.
So, without widespread radio use, how does a commander communicate to the rest of his war party? The same way commanders have done since the rise of professional armies – with music signals. The Doof Wagon is the post-apocalyptic version of a drummer boy in a line regiment – he calls out formations and commands in a way that can carry over the cacophony of battle. Psyching up the warboys is an added bonus to this.
Whooaoaooooaaaaa did not even THINK of that.
Can we also talk about the Doof Wagon being a psychological weapon? It’s intimidating. It’s loud. It’s scary. And it lets you know that something big and awful is coming.
Sure, it pumps up the warboys (as one can see; they are literally bouncing around on their vehicles like the hooligans they are), but think about this too: Joe’s got a reputation as a badass who is ready, willing, even anxious to fuck up anyone and anything that he feels like fucking up. He sticks the word “war” in front of things like Batman sticks the word “bat” in front of things, okay? That reputation precedes him.
Literally, it precedes him: all that Doof-y wildness goes echoing out like a road in the wilderness.
The characters he pursues (the war-rig roadtrippers, as we all know) hear him coming up fast–they hear the engines and the Doof Wagon. To quote The Dag: “Angharad, is that the wind or is that a Furious Vexation?” He’s coming. He’s coming. He’s like a storm: you hear the thunder coming on.
And it reminds me of the old folktale that the Scottish Highlanders used bagpipes in the same way: they’d play these loud, raucous, squalling instruments that just howled and wailed and sounded like the tormented souls of the damned. Just an awful sound, which was supposed to terrify their enemies–all that coupled with a reputation for fucking all your shit up.
It just sounds scary as hell, and that’s a pretty effective tactic if you’re trying for intimidation and spectacle (two things it seems Joe’s big on).
what terrible soul gif’d this! …and could they please go gif the moment on the lift when Max is watching the whole scene, and then flicks his eyes to look at Furiosa? It’s this beautiful blend of Max’s inner quiet, so elusive for him the whole movie, and a touch of pride in Furiosa. A tiny piece of closure. (and a perfect edit, to boot – just a few frames)
In a conversation with schwarmerei1 over here, we got to discussing post-processing on eyes and I had this realization about some effects work and wanted to post more photos to demonstrate. Also, to commemorate viewing 8. Obsessed? naaah.
Here is my comment on the other thread [just for clarity, I’m blathering for anyone listening in & interested – clearly schwarmerei1 needs not my lecture!rant :D]:
I just got back from viewing 8, during which (while luxuriating in this dear-friend-of-a-film) I was watching for some specific treatments – eyes and color timing specifically. (just to eliminate the confusion of my in-camera/in-post mixing-and-matching of terminology, for ‘filter’ I definitely meant the color timing done in post rather than practical filters in-camera :). The cool thing is, you can mostly use just one filter and get that ochre+teal combo out of earth and sky, plus the creamy skin tones of the actors.
So with your previous comment about eyes, I tracked effects usage there and went…oh. my GOD! Miller had Whipp do in post, exactly what I do in post processing photographs. I’m practically obsessed with a trans-illuminated eye look, with heightened contrast, and filtering to pop color (bet you I can take a still of Charlize’s eyes and bring out exactly those colors :D), and unsharp mask to pop eye-lights/highlight. I’d spent the previous SEVEN VIEWINGS going, maaaan the eyes are amazing – were they using lighting magic or some damn thing?? Nope, they did exactly what I do to my professional shoots. I had to stifle my shriek of realization in the theater.
And why do I do it? Because you can read so much emotion in the eyes, but camera exposure has to choose balance based on the brightness of pale skin on pale skinned folk and reflecting highlights on dark skinned folk…meaning the eyes, forever in the shadow of the brow, are always under-exposed. You can take a perfect photo that looks like… a perfect photo, do this specific subtle treatment on the eyes and suddenly the photo looks extraordinary – because it no longer looks like a photo, it looks the way our eye sees a human face/eye expression combination – because our eyes have so much better dynamic range than any sensor yet does.
My lid – it flipped. And without your comment about his use of post effects, I would never have figured that one out, because I still consider cinematic post to be some mystical process, rather than remembering I’m pretty damn post-processing literate my own self :) So thank you! I loved having that realization – because their eyes are intrinsic to the subtlety of body language both Hardy and Theron brought to their acting and I knew I loved it, but didn’t know why it was so apparent.
(on the flip side, now that I knew what to look for I realized I was cranky about the over-smoothed skin textures on the wives in the first half of the film. too plastic! but, you know, different tastes. The contrast to the lined, textured, gritty look of Furiosa and Max (and the clay textures & scarring on Nux as well) contrasted sharply with the overly smoothed textures on the women, and I’m sure that’s why the treatment on the skin was done. I’d just…make it more natural. Because I’m a picky bastard :P) (now I gotta go listen to that podcast – because, fun! thanks for the link!)
Now some photos!
Mostly Lighting: In this first gif, the lighting is only slightly center off his face, to give us the best natural view of all this emotion. We need his eyes! And he is lit for it, for sure; great lighting here, but even so, the contrast on the eyes is boosted a bit I’m betting. His eye color is really evident and the whites are really bright (sclera & highlights). If it’s there it’s very subtle, but brings out his crucial emotion in this scene even more.
Help From Post: This one though – look at how shadowed his eyes should be – under the brow, with the light coming almost directly from his left. I don’t think even lighting under him/a bounce board could have brought out the whites of his eye, and definitely not the eye lights.
Totally Post: This one – Furiosa’s face goes entirely into shadow, and her eyes especially her off eye stays completely lit? Without her face being illuminated? Where is this magic light source exactly? And if her eyes weren’t brought out in post, her fear here would be almost lost. Max’s visible eye is brought out too – I mean, he’s lit from behind. Very nice.
Post for Heartbreaker Connection: In this shot his eyes should be almost obscured – he’s a mile away from the camera, no lighting at all! And yet we can see the whites & highlights of his eyes clearly.
Sharpening or Unsharp Mask, too: And in the companion photo, look how much sharper her eye is than the rest of her face – so not only higher contrast, sharpened as well. It really stands out.
For Sure No Post: For contrast – here’s interview-decent lighting. Do either of her eyes pop the same way? Especially the eye in shadow? Can we see her eye color much? or whites? No, nowhere near.
Going back through my tumblr to find these pics, I noticed that most of the Furiosa art totally over lights the eyes – capturing the visual style of the movie.
Such cool stuff to realize and enjoy! Movie magic makes me happy.