Mad Max: Fury Road was a complex movie. Or at least it stirred a lot of complex thoughts in me. I’d heard a lot about how it was ‘really feminist’, and/or ‘much more feminist than the original’. I was curious to see how this panned out, as I’d never seen the original (aside from scattered memories of desert movie scenes when I was very young, and the Thunderdome at Burning Man). This will be a number of scattered thoughts.
I’d recently watched the Fallout4 trailer, which had stirred some of the sadness of the post-apocalyptic situation, and I think that carried over into watching this movie. So much of it felt like needless fighting and grandstanding, when they really should have been working together (but I guess that was the point, that when you have a warlord culture, it all becomes about penis size, instead of actually solving problems).
In a literal and figurative sense, it felt somewhat like watching a car wreck. You know that there will be at least some small part of hope at the end, but you know that there will be a lot of death on the way, of people on the side of helping others dying to try to purge some of the madness. (The Postman (the novel) had some of this.)
That being said, the film was quite engaging, and I actually enjoyed it a lot. (It made me think, so it was def. worth it from that perspective. 🙂 )
It even passed the Bechdel test, even with the small amount of talking in the movie. I found the conversation about, and then the passing of the seeds very touching, but then again, I might be a druid. I also liked how the main character was a badass woman who was 10x as badass with her artificial limb.
It’s been said about the movie that it’s really about women finding their own way, and carving out what they actually want in a mad/male dominated world. What would the movie have been like without Max? If Furiosa had solved it on her own, or perhaps with one of her companions finding more of her voice along the way. But then it wouldn’t have been a Mad Max movie, and might have been much more difficult to sell…
Anyways, protagonists. The movie was billed as being about Max, even named after him, but he was really an active character for very few points in the movie. The protagonist was clearly Furiosa, who had a very specific thing she wanted. Oddly, both Furiosa and Max were antiheroes, with her discovering more bravery and him discovering his selflessness by the end of the movie.
Also, his madness was really only an issue at the beginning, but perhaps that’s because he’d gotten back on track.
It says something about Hollywood that they didn’t think that Charlize Theron could carry her own movie (even though she did), and only half/kinda named the movie after her character, and gave her second billing.
Thinking about this some more, there is actually a bunch of hope at the end of the movie, with some (more) sensible people now in charge of the main resources
– I liked how even when everything was going sideways, with all the cars mired in well, the mire, the drummers were still going. This shows a dedication to music that is important to a culture. 😀 Also, the fire-shooting guitar rig was totally in canon, as that’s what you’d expect from a showboating warlord not so sure of himself.
– There were a lot of nice tying things together, such as the gift of blood transfusion after being a ‘blood bag’ for the first third of the film
– Speaking of that, I found the first third of the film difficult to watch, with Max being a passive character, then being not sympathetic at all.
– I found it sad how much science had decayed in the film, but perhaps there was a kept caste of scientists to keep the green and windmills going…
– Susana Polo at Polygon said that the avoidance of gore and objectification made for a stronger movie, the former because it allowed for more audience reaction when it dd happen, the latter because it made for a stronger movie, where the female characters could actually be conscious and active actors.
– How did society decay that fast, so that Max who was a cop before the apocalypse would be 40 or less? There would have been barely enough time to grow a generation up in the new religion that had formed.
– Is there anywhere in the world that you can drive for 160 days and not hit ocean? Even going from Kamchatka to Lisbon is only 9427km, which is a leisurely pace of <60km/day. Those must be some slow motorbikes. (Also, there's no way you could carry enough to sustain you for 160 days on a motorbike.) You could almost walk across Australia in 160 days. At 5 hours/day at 5km/hour, you could do the 4000km in 160 days. Maybe they meant 16 days? - How did no one ever run out of gas in that movie? - If the huddled masses are fighting over that much water, how often must it be released? (Also, what a waste, to throw it down into the dirt, rather than handing it out...Perhaps the warlord had just come into his power?) - How did they do the test for blood type? (Thinking about it, it's a pretty simple coagulation test.) - How would a warlord not leave any defenses? Relying on fear that much?