Look, post apocalypse movies are not generally my thing; nor are movies based on car crashes and violence. (Chases are OK, of course, but the Mad Max movies - I gather, as this is the first I have watched - are all about the revving engines and the grinding sound of metal upon metal, often with human flesh squished between it.)
So, it's not as if I was ever destined to like it. But really, the utter, utter ridiculousness and perverse lack of thrills I was experiencing did mean I kept watching it. It doesn't reach the "so bad it's good" level, although I strongly suspect that there must have been a substantial part of the cinema audience like me - incredulous at the inanity of what they were watching. Seeing it after knowing it was strongly reviewed, nominated for and had won several Oscars, and made a reasonable amount of money at the box office, only added to the incredulity level.
Let me be specific about a few points:
* I did not consider it well directed at all. Good action directing lets you know who (or what) is where in a scene; this quality seemed to me to be distinctly lacking in most of the action sequences. How Miller got nominated for a directing Oscar indicates something quite worrying about the current crop of Hollywood directors: they don't know good action direction when they see it.
* The film was supposed to be one that used little CGI. Yeah, sure. I'm not sure how many bodies I saw face plant into sand at about 80kph - it seemed at least a few dozen - but every time one did, of course it was obvious CGI was involved. It reminded me a bit of the publicity about the much maligned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which also claimed low CGI in its action sequences, but clearly there was plenty. (Not that I minded much. Unlike Road, it was a movie with a plot, after all.)
* Of what little dialogue there was, I still had trouble understanding some of it, both audibly and narratively. Was I alone in that?
* What an embarrassing enterprise for adults to be involved in making; Miller in particular. As someone writes at IMDB (where there is a bit of a backlash underway in user reviews, it seems):
So what is this film's targeted demographic? I'm not sure. I can imagine that if you are a 13-year old boy, really into cars/trucks/slipknot, pretty redneck, and probably a little slow, this movie may seem pretty cool. I mean it does have ridiculous cars/trucks outfitted with lots of weapons, spikes, flame-exhausts, (breast-milk?) and guys playing "cool" guitar riffs for no apparent reason. There's also lots of explosions and fighting. And scantily clad women. And tornadoes. And skulls.Exactly. I said something more particular to my son as we watched it: it's like it was written by a 13 year old boy - one who has grown up with aging heavy metal parents, still into Iron Maiden, who took him to every demolition derby and monster truck show in town since he was a toddler. That Miller made the first couple of Mad Max films when he was a relatively young man is one thing; that he should want to wallow in this world with ever greater improbable visuals, scale and scenarios I have difficulty interpreting other than as an embarrassing sign of immaturity at heart.
* The one thing I found vaguely interesting: there was one, not very major, character who I suspect bore a deliberate physical resemblance to Philip Adams. Adams famously loathed Mad Max, and wrote scathingly of it as violence porn. (I suspect his reaction was actually a bit overblown, but that it still bore some truth.) I am curious whether I am right about this being a deliberate joke on Adams on Miller's part.
In any event, I see now that the movie was not quite the box office smash that its critical reputation suggests. In the US it made a respectable but far from outstanding $153 million, and $378 million world wide.
As I'm guessing that 1/4 to 1/3 of the audience actually didn't think highly of the film, I think I can fairly call it not that big a success after all. Good.