Hideo Kojima – the 53-year old creative force behind the always-cinematic Metal Gear series, and noted film-buff – is still not able to talk about Death Stranding, his forthcoming Sony-funded PlayStation exclusive, but he is eager to share what moves him artistically. We spoke with him recently about his biggest influences and passions, and he asked us if we'd be open to him sharing his observations directly in a monthly series of short essays. Last month he shared his love of Damien Chazelle's La La Land, and this month his attention turns to the Black & Chrome edition of George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road.
Read Kojima's essay below:
My first viewing of Black & Chrome was actually the 18th time I've seen Fury Road.
It didn't disappoint. The rich details still pop and Furiosa and the other female characters feel even more engrossing than their full-color versions. The movie isn't a simple black and white rendition, either – it bristles with the dull shine of chrome and deeper, darker shadows that enriched the viewing experience so that as I watched, I felt as if I could sense additional colors and even smells. Multiple viewings of the full-color original meant that my brain was filling in the gaps – fabricating colors, old and new. That may sound strange, but a movie is not just a tangible representation of something before our eyes. It's very much an image patched together in our minds.
Early films were only really effective at expressing objects in motion. That's why the Lumière Brother's first movie, The Arrival of the Mail Train, was a simple take of a steam train coming into a station and right at the audience (which famously scared the hell out of everyone in the theater as is appeared to be about to jump right out of the screen into their laps). Silent movie era stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin thrilled audiences with death-defying movement and action. Eventually, we got sound and color, followed by ever more advanced technologies: CG, 3D, 4K – providing an almost limitless means of expression.
Our ideas of what a movie is, what defines entertainment may radically change
For me, what director George Miller has done has condensed 120 years of movie history into one film: Mad Max: Fury Road Black & Chrome. Dialogue is kept to a bare minimum (like the old silent movies), while the story – and the camera – is intentionally focused on a continuous stream of action and motion. This style of storytelling takes the early fundamentals of cinema – those foundational, direct-to-brain experiences – and then brings them to life using the latest technology. It's no surprise then that the Black & Chrome version loses none of its allure, but instead seems to shine ever brighter.
Those 120 years of accumulated techniques and technology appear at first glance to have enriched the movies as a viewing experience, but in reality, the foundation remains essentially unchanged. Mad Max proves it. Fury Road is an enthralling movie. It's enthralls while setting the bar for cinema. The question is how do we move on from here.
There are questions once again about where cinema might be headed. In my mind, the frame of cinema must be stripped away to find the answer. Movies are entertainment comprised of a series of still images projected within the confines of a framed screen. But what happens when the screen is no longer framed, such as in VR? Our ideas of what a movie is and what defines entertainment may radically change. From the viewing window to screen and onto the frameless theatre of VR, the home of movies continues to change.