By Abbie Bernstein, Foreword by George Miller
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Review by Richard Williams
The art of Mad Max is almost a bad book. As an art book it is overshadowed by the photographs and film creator's comments about the making of the movie. And the art itself is of a very rough and unappealing quality that reminds me of early Judge Dredd comics. I have looked at enough so-called 'art of' books for movies to know that they are usually barely worthy of the name (World War Z being a particularly egregious example), and should in all honesty be called 'movie companions' or 'making of' or just about anything other than 'the art of'. Speaking as a collector of art books I've all but given up on getting a decent one related to a film (with the blessed exception of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit).
So why is this only almost a bad book? because as a movie companion (or whatever) it really is one of the better books around. The photographs are great and the commentary is genuinely interesting. And the artwork, for all is brutal roughness, suits the film perfectly and takes the time to show how ideas and the look of the film developed, rather than just showing finished pieces.
For fans of Mad Max I would have to say that this book is close to being an essential purchase. And I'm only saying close to essential because I'm the kind of person who questions the necessity of material goods. So if you're not that kind of person, and you're a fan, then you can go right ahead and call it essential. The references to the original films are great and really help ground Fury Road in the mythology of Max.
However if you're looking for a great art book then this might not be the book for you. Also, unless you're really interested in film set anecdotes and glimpses into the movie business, then you might not find the photos alone worth the money. All of that being said, all put together, it's a decent product and worth a read.