“What a lovely day!!”

It was the spring of 1985, and a few friends and I left our Hamilton College dormitories to travel to Riverside Mall in Utica … for the sole purpose of watching the next installment of the Mad Max film series.  That film was Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and it was a credible follow-up to the totally amazing The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2, as it would be rebranded).  As far as I was concerned, I was ready for another film.

It only took – what – 30 years to get that film?

And honestly, when I sat in the theater at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, 2015…

There were so many thoughts racing through my mind.

Would Tom Hardy be able to play the iconic role that put Mel Gibson on the map?

Would Charlize Theron become that action film star that escaped her with the godawful Æon Flux?

Could a film that spent thirty years in creation, a film series that inspired everything from the Saw horror genre to the professional wrestling team The Road Warriors, still become relevant in today’s world?

Because at 7:00 p.m., at the Regal Crossgates 18 theater…

I saw the next chapter of this film.

And the answer to all my questions was a resounding “OH YEAH!!”

Tom Hardy walked into that film and commanded it as the crazed ex-cop “Mad Max,” a survivor of the wasteland and the madness that controls it.  Charlize Theron absolutely kicked ass as the rogue warrior Imperator Furiosa; and the supporting cast – which you will eventually know as the Wives, the War Boy Nux, and the “Big Bad” Immortan Joe – are perfectly cast.

Oh and there’s the action stunts.  This movie is one big bad car chase, but it’s a car chase that’s heavily influenced by classic Westerns and 70’s drive-in features and Australian New Wave cinema.  At one point, I could swear that director George Miller wrote this film while watching a double feature of Vanishing Point and The Cars That Ate Paris.

Oh yeah.  Director George Miller.  He just gave everybody a master class on how to film an action movie.  And to take that action movie and populate it with so many over-the-top characters that the film never seems to stop, the tension never lets up, and the danger never subsides.

So yeah, if you want to see this film in all its cinematic glory, you can definitely check it out at your local theater, but I want you to go one step farther.

Go see it this weekend at the Malta Drive-In Theater.  Yes, I said drive-in.  They’re showing Mad Max Fury Road as part of a double feature; you need to experience this film by getting yourself a parking spot, some lawn chairs, and some tasty drive-in popcorn.

Because this isn’t just a motion picture.

This is a freakin’ cinematic masterpiece.

I just hope I don’t have to wait 30 years for the next installment of this film series.

Hell, I can’t wait 30 minutes to go see this film again.

“What a lovely day!” indeed.