Fidgeting & Sighing – Mad Max: Fury Road

Posted: September 23, 2015 in Fidgeting and Sighing
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I should begin by saying I never saw any of the previous Mad Max films, so maybe my opinion is uninformed, at best. However, I feel that every movie should stand on its own and not have to rely on its predecessors to be good. Or at least make sense. In this age of re-boots, re-imaginings, adaptations, prequels, sequels, and generally no original ideas at all, I feel like the pat answer to the statement, “That movie sucked,” is almost always, “Well, you should (see the first one, read the book/comic, watch the TV show, see the original, etc.) The only thing I remember hearing about the original Mad Max franchise was from my beloved grandmother, who saw it, oddly enough, and told me that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was “all about pig-shit.” I was 9 at the time.

Thirty years later, I saw my first Mad Max movie, the much-bally-hooed Mad Max: Fury Road, and it left me with many, many questions. Perhaps the most important one was “What the Hell was up with this guy?”

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It’s Still Rock n’ Roll To Me!

I went in to this movie hearing a lot about what a giant leap it is for feminism or whatever, because Charlize Theron’s character is basically gender-less (or something. That may not be the real reason people were lauding it, but a movie that features a crazy, masked warlord taking several brides and keeping them in chains doesn’t seem to have many other good things to say on the subject of feminism.), so maybe I was expecting something a tad more cerebral. Basically, it is one long, pointless car chase. And I mean “pointless” in the most literal, direct sense. No point at all. And yet, I can’t in all honesty say that I disliked it because I found myself constantly laughing at the sheer absurdity that was taking place before me. This movie is almost literally a live-action version of a child playing with his toys in his backyard. If the child had a weird thing for suspended guitarists.

I have no problem with action movies that are light on story and heavy on destruction. I love Die Hard. I really like Predator. I even have a soft spot in my heart for the John Travolta/Nicholas Cage blow-’em-up-fest Face/Off. But as silly as it was, even Face/Off had a premise: Cop steals criminal’s face to infiltrate his empire. Needing a face, the criminal then steals the cop’s face and infiltrates his wife. Silly as it is, it is at least something to wrap your head around.

Here’s what IMDB wrote for the premise of Fury Road:

“A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post apocalyptic Australia in search for her homeland with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max.” 

Wow. That actually makes it sound a lot better. I didn’t get most of that out of watching it. I really and truly just got that they drove a long way and then decided to turn around and drive back. And then dumped water on everybody. Spoiler warning.

Of course, the premise is just the premise, and it doesn’t get into the details, like why they spray-painted each other’s mouths silver, or why Max was even there and imprisoned. or who any of these people were there, and why we should care. But hey, it had some cool-looking cars.

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I saw Fury Road with my friend and his girlfriend, and being a fan of Mad Max movies, she told me that’s just what they are about. When I said that movie was essentially about nothing, she agreed, and said that’s what they are all like. Bless her heart, she loved it And I envy that. Part of me wishes I could simply immerse myself in a movie for a couple hours and enjoy it. But there’s another part of me. There’s the part that enjoys movies so much that it hurts to see ones that are as bad as this. A cynical part that would find Fury Road appalling if it weren’t so unintentionally hilarious.

But the question that really will keep me up at night: was it “unintentional,” after all?

And what the Hell was up with this guy?

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The world may never know.

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