Mad Max: Fury Road; or, my car is boring and lacks firepower


I saw Mad Max: Fury Road yesterday and I have some thoughts. These thoughts do not constitute a review. I will try to keep my thoughts spoiler free, but I can’t make any promises. If you don’t want anything spoiled, if you try to maintain a level of near total ignorance before going to the movies, more power to you. I’m the same way. Don’t read this.
I liked the movie. There, reviewed. Now, on to my impressions and rambling thoughts:

My car is boring. It has neither porcupine spikes nor cow catchers nor any of other diesel punk trappings and I never knew I wanted until I saw this movie.

Driving is also boring. We’re confined not just to roads, but to specific SIDES of the road. And no one is throwing spears at us.

About those spears–are they tipped with gunpowder? Actually, that goes for everything in this movie. I feel like things shouldn’t naturally explode that easily just from getting hit. I get it, there’s gasoline, but it still needs heat or a spark or something.

After seeing this movie, I saw a VICE special on water in India and it freaked me right the fuck out. Because the way the people crowd the water truck in that episode and the way the … citizens? Serfs? People who are neither protagonist nor antagonist but instead act as a demonstration of the tyranny of the latter? Anyway, the way the crowd and jostle for water is alarmingly similar.

There’s not a lot of talking. My friend and I talked about that (ha) as we were leaving the theatre. Tom Hardy is good at playing the man of few words, but really there’s very little dialogue across the board. Charlize Theron probably speaks the most, but she doesn’t speak much. My friend and I concluded that, when your life has been reduced to fight, flee, and sleep, there isn’t time for chitchat.

Charlize Theron is, as always, bad ass.

Tom Hardy is master of the wordless noise. He grumbles and grunts and generally reacts to things with telling back-of-the-throat vocalizations that somehow make me think of fist fights on a gravel back lot.

I don’t know if this was supposed to be set in a post-apocalyptic Australia. There are a couple Aussie accents, but for the most part people don’t seem to have made much of an effort. I’m fine with this; I prefer no accent to a poorly done accent. It would have been off-putting if they’d tried to pretend this was the Aussie cult movie it derived from and not a Hollywood production. And I kind of like the ambiguity it gives the setting.

This isn’t really a sequel or a prequel or a remake, but some sort of sideways story with a character who has, to a degree, entered the echelons of pop culture and cult fame.

Going back to the whole no-talking thing, I like that there are never any discussions that we’ve witnessed a million times where one character says, “Why should I trust you?” and the other performs a overwrought soliloquy that acts as an exposition dump about who they are and what they’re doing and why, meanwhile we in the audience work our asses off suspending our disbelief, because you know what? You don’t really know you can trust someone until you see the actions they take. Max and Furiosa never talk trust. The bullets start flying and they act. And later on, when Furiosa is asked about Max and Nux, she simply says their reliable. And is taken at her word.

When you create characters that don’t speak much, the words they do speak have more weight.

That being said, this movie is full of unaddressed tragedy. The water crisis. Who killed the world? The War Boys and their half-lives. The Breeders. The Bloodbags. But despite those things going unaddressed, you get it. Or, you get as much as you need to get.

It’s been a long time since I watched the original road warrior movies. I’m not sure how long, but I know that I watched them on VHS. That should give you a solid frame of reference.
When this movie comes out on DVD, they’ll probably re-release the original trilogy on DVD. Probably with cool box art, and a deluxe metal case with a skull steering wheel sticking out the front. And I will buy the new one and the old trilogy, but not deluxe steering wheel edition. Because I’m not made of money.
Also, I hate box sets that take up space on my shelf with bullshit swag. Like those Simpsons box sets contained within a mold of one of the characters faces. What kind of bullshit is that?
Anyway, go see Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s fun.
Or don’t see it. I’m not your mother.