The theatrical version of Mad Max: Fury Road is absolutely stunning. Each frame is an even more beautiful piece of art than the last, and hyper-intense clash of orange and blue in the color palette is eye-popping. What might surprise you, however, is that this version isn't actually writer/director George Miller's favorite cut of the film. Instead, that version is actually black-and-white - which is why he demanded that a special monochrome cut be included on the movie's home video release.
In recent weeks, SlashFilm attended a special screening of Mad Max: Fury Road that featured a special Q&A with George Miller, and it was here that the filmmaker first talked about his love of the 2015 blockbuster without any color. He explained that he has seen a pattern with post-apocalyptic films being extremely desaturated, and that he eventually decided that the best way to go with the movie was to make it as colorful as he could - but he also added that this isn't really the best version. Miller explained,
There’s only two ways to go, make them black and white — the best version of this movie is black and white, but people reserve that for art movies now. The other version is to really go all-out on the color... The desert’s orange and the sky is teal, and we either could desaturate it, or crank it up, to differentiate the movie. Plus, it can get really tiring watching this dull, desaturated color, unless you go all the way out and make it black and white.
Going further, however, the filmmaker explained that it wasn't during the making of Fury Road that he discovered that the world of Mad Max looks better without color. He actually discovered this back when he was making The Road Warrior, and had to make what's called a "slash dupe" print to provide to composer Brian May so that he could start working on the score. This cut - which was made to be as cheap as possible - was a black and white version of the movie, and Miller fell in love with it. Said the director,
I saw the black and white I thought 'Oh, my god!' It just reduces it to this really gutsy high-[contrast] black and white - very, very powerful.
It was during a reception after the screening that Miller noted that he "demanded" a monochrome cut to be included on the Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road, but also took it a step further. There will also be the option to watch the black and white version of the film without the normal soundtrack, and instead just the music written by Junkie XL. I personally can't wait to watch that. Fortunately, someone has already cut together a black and white version of the trailer, so you can get a taste:
Mad Max: Fury Road doesn't have a street date for its Blu-ray/DVD release just yet, but we can likely expect it to come out at the start of the fall.