Mad Max: Fury Road – Wow!

Max_Mad_Fury_Road_Newest_PosterThis week I watched the movie Mad Max:Fury Road.  I had heard a lot about this movie, that it was incredibly action packed, that it had stunning visuals, that it put every other action movie to shame, that it had in fact re-defined what it means to be an action movie.  Pretty high praise.  With a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I had high expectations.

Five minutes into the movie, I knew everything I had heard about it was true, and that my expectations were going to be met.

This movie grabs  you with high energy kinetics right in the beginning, and pretty much never lets go.  If you’ve seen the 1981 Mad Max movie “Road Warrior” and recall the intense chase scene at the end, imagine an entire movie like that.  Now add in modern CG technology, and you’re getting close to what this movie is.

Like the old Mad Max movies, this one has a grim setting in a post-apocalyptic future.  But where the old movies showed humans living in miserable conditions, this one shows them living in a setting that almost resembles a version of hell.  After the opening sequence, Max wakes up a captive in the process of being tattooed and branded, and tries to escape, and the surroundings that he’s in seem like something out of Dante’s Inferno, with lost souls pursuing, and eventually recapturing  him.

The majority of the characters in this movie are sick, deformed, maimed, or some combination of all of these.  Only five women who are the villain’s “breeders”, a few women we meet toward the end, and (inexplicably) Max himself are whole bodied.  Furiosa, the female protagonist played by Charlize Theron, is missing a forearm, although she often wears a prosthetic.

Don’t worry, the movie doesn’t give us a lot of time to dwell on that state of humanity.  We see quick disturbing glimpses of it, but before we can really get too bummed, something attacks, explodes, or some other kind of mayhem ensues.

And if you heard about the consternation some of the men’s rights clowns had for this movie, you’ll know that Furiosa steals the show.  The movie goes out of its way to make sure she is not a sex object.  (Not that Charlize Theron doesn’t still manage to be attractive, in a grim sort of way.)  She’s sporting a crew cut, is missing an arm, and generally behaves like a kick-ass warrior that just happens to be female.

Max himself barely talks.  He is more a physical kinetic presence in the movie more than anything else.  His character is pretty much what it was in ‘Road Warrior’ and ‘Beyond Thunderdome’, a loner out solely for himself, except taken to a much grimmer extent, with a similar arc.  Tom Hardy makes this work extremely well.

The villain, Immortan Joe, is pretty much a Darth Vader type modified for a post apocalyptic environment.  His chief concern throughout the whole movie is getting his breeder women back and his “property”, the babies they’re carrying.  He does have some lines in the movie that I think will end up being quote classics.  My favorite is this one, preached to his obviously starving and desperately desiccated subjects.

Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence.

One important thing to understand going in to this movie: don’t expect it to make a whole lot of sense.  Either the apocalypse happened recently enough for a fairly young Max to have been a cop, or was far enough in the past so that only the elderly remember the old world; the movie implies both.  Everyone pretty much wastes the two commodities that are supposed to be in short supply, gas and water, every chance they get.  And just don’t think too hard about street vehicles driving around in a desert.  This Honest Trailer does a pretty good job noting these issues. (WARNING: Spoilers.)

All that said, if you can suspend your disbelief, this movie is a lot of fun.  I enjoyed it enough to watch it straight through three times, and for my old jaded self, that rarely happens anymore.

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8 Responses to Mad Max: Fury Road – Wow!

  1. Sable Aradia says:

    Reblogged this on Confessions of a Geek Queen and commented:

    Review from Self Aware Patterns – yeah, I pretty much agree!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wyrd Smythe says:

    “This movie grabs you with high energy kinetics right in the beginning, and pretty much never lets go.”

    And we were just talking about amusement park ride movies! From your description that sounds exactly like what this is.

    I’ll definitely see it when I get a chance, although I was never really big on the Mad Max films. Nothing against them; they just never really grabbed me. (And I’m actually kind of weary of post-apocalyptic future movies. I’m tired of the cliches.)

    But I’ll still see it! 😀

    “Furiosa, the female protagonist played by Charlize Theron,…”

    If you’ve ever seen her in Monster (a difficult film to watch), you know what a talented actress she is!

    Like

    • MM:FR definitely falls in the park ride mold, and it sets a new standard for those types of films. On the Mad Max movies in general, I enjoyed Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome. The sheer grimness of the setting coupled with a burned out jaded protagonist worked for me. The first movie, which I only saw years after I had seen the second one, I found too exploitive for my tastes.

      I’ve never seen Monster, but I’ve been impressed with the range she’s shown in other work.

      Like

  3. amanimal says:

    Hi SAP, one of my favorite genres – the dystopian future(maybe it’ll help keep us from destroying ourselves – maybe? Pity sci-fi is so poorly received by the general public(my impression at least), whether due to immediate needs or the seeming distance from future difficulties.

    Jonathan Gottschall’s ‘The Story Telling Animal’ proposes(if memory serves) that all non-fiction exists for the express purpose of simulating potential future social encounters and the exploration of potential future responses , maybe …

    Three times? Wow, I can see 3 times over 3 nights(for something REALLY good), but consecutively? That’s a mighty recommendation – thanks!

    Like

    • Hi aa,
      Strangely enough, while I do like some post-apocalyptic stories, I’m not a fan of most dystopian fiction, or post-apocalyptic where the whole story is solely or mostly about how miserable everyone is. I think the post-apocalyptic stuff I do like are the ones who use the setting as a platform for adventure, or some other interesting story, and offer at least some hope for the characters climbing out of their misery.

      Yeah, three times. But it wasn’t consecutively. The “straight through” phrase just meant that I watched the entire movie three times, as opposed to watching scenes selectively after the first time as I did for ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’. That said, I did find this movie REALLY good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • amanimal says:

        That’s still quite a recommendation – did you see this?

        ‘Trekkers, the Enterprise needs you’
        http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/10/entertainment/star-trek-enterprise-air-space-feat/index.html

        “Those who possess original photos of the model from before 1976 are urged to boldly go and contact StarshipEnterprise@si.edu.”

        As a symbol of Roddenberry’s humanist vision it’s an important cultural artifact, at least so says the lamest ST fan ever – I don’t even own a pair of Spock ears! I was fortunate enough, however, to see the model as a teen in the Air & Space museum(I think).

        AND … believe I was heavily influenced by the ethics portrayed.

        I don’t know if this will be of any use to you, but I just came across …

        ‘Everything I Need to Know about IT Management I Learned from “Star Trek”‘ http://er.educause.edu/articles/2012/6/everything-i-need-to-know-about-it-management-i-learned-from-star-trek

        … searching the phrase “Everything I needed to know about life I learned from Star Trek”(I’ve got the poster somewhere), one of the more important (imo) is “Keep your phasers on stun.” – translating for me to “try not to sweat the small stuff” kind of thinking. There’s also some interesting reading to be found searching “theology of star trek”.

        AND, did you see:

        ‘Shouldering the burden of evolution’
        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150908101236.htm

        … though maybe not relevant to your shoulder, it’s amazes me what can be inferred about lifestyles(granted a grain or 2 of salt sometimes?) from analyzing anatomical changes over evolutionary time periods. (full disclosure: I was still climbing trees into my early twenties – seriously huge old oaks to take pictures).

        Just a couple of days ago I was reading something, totally unrelated to Star Trek or science fiction, about a company or some organization that referenced a “prime directive” in describing a fundamental operating principle of their organization!

        Like

        • Hmmm. I saw a model of the Enterprise at the Smithsonian in the 90s, which was labeled as the one used in TOS, but I don’t know if it was that one.

          I do think Star Trek had a big effect on me. I remember watching reruns of it and Lost in Space after school in the early 70s. Of course, ST:TOS aged much better than LiS (which was only watchable when I was very young), but they both engendered an interest in space, science, and science fiction that never left me.

          I’ve seen that Educause paper. It’s an entertaining way to talk about a lot of management concepts in higher education IT.

          Thanks. I hadn’t seen that on the shoulder, but I did read plenty about how much of an evolutionary mess the human shoulder is during the midst of my problems. (Along with the knees and back.)

          “Prime directive” is a cool term. I could definitely see it being used in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, anyone who tries to use it in science fiction is going to evoke the Star Trek concept, whether they mean to or not.

          Liked by 1 person

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