Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
May 11, 2015 10:02 PM - Subscribe

In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.

From Matt Singer's review at ScreenCrush:
"This is a movie that strains at the leash of the possible, a movie of great visionary wonders."

"That lovely sentence concluded Roger Ebert’s 1985 review of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Thirty years later, Mad Max is finally back in a new sequel, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Ebert’s words feel truer than ever. Fury Road is an incredible achievement, one that strains so hard at the leash of the possible that it eventually breaks free and barrels headlong into the realm of insane genius. Forget Max Rockatansky; director George Miller is the true madman here — and the true hero for having pulled it off.

After a brief prologue, Fury Road opens with one of the craziest car chases in cinema history. It’s also the least crazy car chase in the movie, which keeps topping itself over and over right until the closing credits. Along the way, the new Max also contains maybe the single best hand-to-hand fight in any major blockbuster since The Matrix, and scene after scene of jaw-dropping production and costume design. (If this movie isn’t in contention in both of those categories come Oscar time, something is truly and shamefully broken with the awards system.)"
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (517 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
 


I don't know if I've been so fucking excited to see a movie since maybe the first Matrix.... 15 years ago? Jesus. Time, man. Time....
posted by lattiboy at 11:39 PM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am cautiously optimistic. The earlier movies are great, and the previews for this one have some really good parts. I was heartened to read how they chose to use minimal CGA in favor of live action.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:19 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am incautiously optimistic. I am literally losing my mind from excitement, and I haven't felt this way about a movie in a very long time.
posted by maxsparber at 6:32 AM on May 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


This thing is tracking really well over on Rotten Tomatoes, so I think an excess of anticipatory enthusiasm is warranted.
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:10 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


My favorite summary of the film so far:

You know the charge that Furious 7 feels like what you would get if you asked a Hot Wheel-loving ten-year-old to work out the beats of a screenplay? Fury Road is what the kid might dream up at fourteen, stoned at the motocross, keyed up on Mountain Dew and old Conan comics, except instead of writing a script he's lighting those Hot Wheels on fire and chucking them at your face. He's also, touchingly, a feminist and eager for you to know it. Plus he's tireless, touched with some genius, and you would not believe just how many of those cars he has to throw.
posted by maxsparber at 8:31 AM on May 12, 2015 [64 favorites]


I haven't seen it, and I'm really excited.

One thing that I still can't believe and am ambivalent about is the R-rating. I personally like that it's Rated R, meaning Miller wasn't forced to change for the summer movie season, but I am afraid that it will limit it's box office take.
posted by FJT at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have not seen this yet, but want to. My wife, who has not ever experienced the joy of Mad Max (she mocked me once when I stopped channel flicking to watch the final twenty minutes of The Road Warrior, and I was like "Just walk away" because its the final sequence of Road Warrior - you either come along for the ride or you are exiled to the Waste) saw an ad for "Fury Road" on TV and mocked it; because I was feeling a bit cerebral at that time, I told her that Mad Max is about a certain feel and a certain aesthetic and that if she wanted to mock it, she needed to first sit and watch Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome with me. You should not mock what you don't understand.

Because "Fury Road", based on what I've seen and am now reading, got that feel and aesthetic right. And I am so going to see this when I have a night to myself.
posted by nubs at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]




I told her that Mad Max is about a certain feel and a certain aesthetic and that if she wanted to mock it, she needed to first sit and watch Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome with me. You should not mock what you don't understand.

Some people think they're just so beyond Thunderdome.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:54 AM on May 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Some people think they're just so beyond Thunderdome.

I should go all "two films enter, one film leaves" with her and we can pair off films we both like that the other hasn't seen.

That...could actually be a lot of fun.

(If she's not up for it, I may find a willing MeFite)
posted by nubs at 11:01 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do I need to watch the 80s movies beforehand?
posted by Monochrome at 8:38 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, it has apparently pissed off the MRAs.

Considering this guy is responsible for the Babe and Happy Feet movies it doesn't surprise me at all that there's some good feminist commie liberal anti-human propoganda in there. Hopefully with gratuitous violence and more all out fun. Like one of those Tarantino things without the ego.
posted by M Edward at 10:57 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Fury Road is what the kid might dream up at fourteen, stoned at the motocross, keyed up on Mountain Dew and old Conan comics, except instead of writing a script he's lighting those Hot Wheels on fire and chucking them at your face.

Sold.

it has apparently pissed off the MRAs.

Double sold.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:25 AM on May 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


From M Edward's link:

Even though science has told us and proven, that men are physically stronger than women, it is nonetheless discarded by the forces driving this feminist nonsense.

I literally have no doubt that Charlize Theron could kick my ass.
posted by maxsparber at 8:12 AM on May 13, 2015 [28 favorites]


From the Mary Sue link, quoting the MRA site, emphasis added:

...never be able to see a real action movie ever again that doesn’t contain some damn political lecture or moray about feminism, SJW-ing, and socialism.

My brain just went Moray? As in eel? or Scottish government? Oh, probably was going for mores. (I hope I'm right on that and didn't miss something about another potential use of moray, or I am the one with egg on my face). But yeah, that has kinda made my morning because now I'm thinking about eels dispensing education and justice to MRAs. And now I want to see the movie about three times more than I did before.
posted by nubs at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Damn, and this movie about flying flamethrowing exploding death cars was so close to total scientific accuracy, too!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


A look at the vehicles made for the film (some mildly spoilery content).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:24 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


My brain just went Moray? As in eel? or Scottish government? Oh, probably was going for mores.

Helpful hints:

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore.

When you're swimming along and an eel bites yer bum, that's a moray.

When you break a taboo and they cut you in two, that's a more.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:48 AM on May 13, 2015 [147 favorites]


He tells jokes, he's a ham, his last name's Amsterdam - that's a Morey

When two patterns combine in a way serpentine, that's a moiré.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:54 AM on May 13, 2015 [44 favorites]


When a thumb and two blondes signal the arrival of Fonz that's some more "ayyys."
posted by maxsparber at 11:00 AM on May 13, 2015 [42 favorites]


When you're out in the rough and the moose want some fluff, make s'mores, eh

When you're lacking the name of the nanny insane, that's de Mornay.
posted by nom de poop at 11:03 AM on May 13, 2015 [25 favorites]


Should You Watch the Original Mad Max Trilogy? - "The short answer is “Yes, of course, what the heck were you thinking not watching it?” But perhaps you need some convincing. "
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:24 AM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wasn't all that excited about this after seeing the trailers but every review seems to give it ecstatic two thumbs up raves so I'm sold. See you back in this thread on Saturday.
posted by octothorpe at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2015


I stopped reading this review at precisely here:

"Also, his guitar is a flamethrower."

♪ ♫ I am a rocker, I am a roller, I am an out-of-controller! ♩ ♫
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, it has apparently pissed off the MRAs.

Now I want to see it even more.
posted by homunculus at 2:48 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy shit I just read that the Big Bad, Immortan Joe, is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne WHO WAS THE FUCKING TOECUTTER.

*explodes*
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:10 PM on May 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


And the guy playing the flame guitar is australian cabaret legend iOTA!

Utterly amazing movie, as action-packed and feminist as everyone promised. Loved how mythic it felt. Made me want to fire up Fallout or Apocalypse World.
The vehicles took over the Opera House; some of those pictures are mine.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:36 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


It was an amazing 2 hours. One great scene after another moving the plot right along without characters taking time out to patiently explain the backstory of the world, or to monologue over how heroic they are / how hard heroism is. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are great as the leads, and the supporting cast is amazing too. The plot even managed to surprise me at times. I'd compare it to Dredd, which was maybe my favorite action movie released in the past 10 years, but this goes a little further towards action film perfection than that. It's hard to explain how good it is, you just need to see it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:37 PM on May 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


I sensed a Dredd connection too. Turns out the art director, Brendan McCarthy, worked on a ton of Judge Dredd and 2000AD comics. I do wish Dredd had Fury Road's critical and commercial success.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:45 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


That was... really interesting. Flashy. Technically impressive. A spectacle.

What it was not was a Mad Max movie in any way in tune with the previous films.

It was a GrimDark Warhammer/Dredd/300 pastiche featuring a guy with a torn leather jacket. Which is fine. But that's not the same thing as a new Mad Max movie.

There's a more credible Mad Max film to be found in the European video clip for 'Totally Addicted to Bass.'
posted by MarchHare at 7:42 AM on May 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Saw it last night; totally fucking great from start to finish. I loved its gleeful defiance of what it assumes your expectations will be. Probably my favorite action movie of the last five years. Maybe the most excited I've been leaving a theater since—hmm, Pan's Labyrinth? Which was another movie about the dismantling of a patriarchy.

And I mean how can you not love how Nux's whole arc was basically "SEE?!?! PATRIARCHY IS BAD FOR MEN TOO"

FUCK I loved that movie.

I want all the fanfiction about Furiosa's new life.

I MEAN HER NAME IS FURIOSA, COME ON
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:12 AM on May 15, 2015 [41 favorites]


I need more people to see this so that I have someone to talk about it with!
posted by codacorolla at 11:06 AM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


i was so happy that i went to see it so soon. I was so afraid that maybe my unholy love for the Fast & Furious franchise broke me, and maybe I will only find stunts in those movies good, because I absolutely didn't understand why Avengers 2's action left me cold and bored.

This was so amazing. So refreshing to watch fast-paced, propulsive action that you can follow. And knowing that most of it is practical really blew my mind as I was watching it.

And my new life ambition is to have a metal guitarist with GUITAR OF FIRE accompanying me to battle. Or to be one. I can't decide.
posted by cendawanita at 11:27 AM on May 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Why not split the difference and just ride a guitar player into battle while playing wicked countermelodies on your own guitar?
posted by maxsparber at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


And I mean how can you not love how Nux's whole arc was basically "SEE?!?! PATRIARCHY IS BAD FOR MEN TOO"

It's not just Nux's story, either. It goes all the way up and down the chain: The warlords at the top have become bloated, diseased and deformed. The youngest boys are literal cogs in the machine - the winches that raise and lower the citadel platform are operated by the boys' climbing on the gears.

And I find it curious that, say, the MRA creatures find this "wrong" for a Mad Max film, when it's very much of a piece with the others. The group Max saves in "Road Warrior" are basically a commune - (calling them "hippies" might go too far, it's been a while since I've seen it, but I think it's at least close). In "Thunderdome," capitalism becomes a tool to create a thin veneer of civilization that really just keeps the populace quiet to support the elite. A main point of "future dystopian" fictions is to be funhouse mirrors to reflect our real world back to us by playing up the extremes. So it totally makes sense to me that this movie is tackling patriarchy.

But the cool part is, it's still so damn fun even if you don't really think too much about it. I mean, I knew so little about what the story would be when I went. When I saw the first clip of Tom Hardy chained to the front of a car with a metal muzzle bolted to his head I just went "shut up and take my money." And I read nothing else about it. So the entire plot was a surprise to me, and a wonderful one.
posted by dnash at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2015 [33 favorites]


It was a GrimDark Warhammer/Dredd/300 pastiche featuring a guy with a torn leather jacket. Which is fine. But that's not the same thing as a new Mad Max movie.

I dunno, this feels a bit like the Tweet going around where some GGer complained that whoever made Fury Road had obviously never seen the earlier ones.

First, going back to the very first film, it's abundantly clear that Miller understands the language of action film-making as well as any director ever has. Second, it's also clear that even as one can half-smile and say that The Road Warrior is just a remake of the first story, really what is happening is taking the story out of the 20-minutes-into-the-future dystopian milieu and making it a fully self-supporting mythic world, and indeed, one that isn't dragged down into politics or exposition by too much explanation and justification. It just is. Third, while I'm not a great fan of the third movie's storyline, it definitely underlined that Miller was trying to achieve something different with each iteration, and with this one, that's even more clear. If it were just remaking the cinema score fill-out card points that people loved about the first one, it would be sort of pointless. And yet he spent years trying to get this one into production, evincing a passion for something other than the obvious quick cash-in.

Finally, it's George Miller's trilogy, not yours.

There's a more credible Mad Max film to be found in the European video clip for 'Totally Addicted to Bass.'

Thanks for that -- it's great, but completely proves my point. It's an excellent pastiche of the ethos and even some action notes of the first movie especially (and who doesn't like seeing the yellow Interceptor and Max's Police Special, at least close enough for 3-minute music video purposes) -- but that's all it is. It doesn't really add or say anything new.
posted by dhartung at 12:33 PM on May 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


It's not just Nux's story, either. It goes all the way up and down the chain: The warlords at the top have become bloated, diseased and deformed. The youngest boys are literal cogs in the machine - the winches that raise and lower the citadel platform are operated by the boys' climbing on the gears.

One thing that came to mind leaving the theater is that Nux actually got what he wanted: he got the spirit of Max inside of him, it's just that beyond the raw animal intensity to survive, you also have the human portion who wants to help the wasteland be a better place (even as it goes against that raw animal survival instinct).

Actually, the blood umbilical is one of the strongest images of the movie for me. It's what Max has to cut to be free of, the umbilical shows up again in the scene with the stillborn baby, and it comes full circle when Max uses the IV to breathe life back into Furiosa.

Related to that, the bolt cutters are an amazing recurring object. The whole idea of cutting the ties that bind is very strong throughout the movie, and related to the umbilical imagery that crops up again and again.

I think that this does something that six hours of Nolan's Batman grunting and grimmacing can't, which is to make a solid, cohesive statement using cinema amid a genuinely entertaining action foreground.
posted by codacorolla at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2015 [83 favorites]




the Tweet going around where some GGer complained

*Shudder* I'm assuming no offence intended, but that's an unpleasant comparison. Thing is, I really liked that movie. How could I not? There was so much to feast on. It was incredibly shot. And a great story to tell, that was more nuanced that I expected. But... Max doesn't need to be in it. And it makes more sense if he isn't. How old is Max supposed to be anyway? Did he get frozen in amber for a generation or two? Roll much of his story into Nux's - he has more of a hero's journey than Max in this film, anyway. Even if the bad-ass older women from Furiosa's tribe, Joe, and the other two bloated Baron Harkonnen-like warlords are survivors of the old world, how much time must have passed? Joe has adult children, and Furiosa was stolen from her people almost two decades prior. All the way through I'm watching it and can't help but think "There's no way you get this all together in even a couple decades." As a world to inhabit for a couple of hours it was fascinating, and grand fun, but it felt more like a distant far flung future cobbled together with bits from a civilization that passed generations ago, like the one from The Dark Tower, rather than a recognizable dying world in decay.

This was - effectively - a reboot of The Road Warrior. After all, the second film just up and takes the character and dumps him in a whole other world, and I'm know I'm far from the first person to note that. But that film was a world that looked like it made a twisted kind of sense given the time that appeared to have elapsed for the character. This... wasn't.

What I enjoyed about the first two especially - the teasing out of meaning from little details, like the radio announcements or the Humungus's revolver case - weren't really here. Strangely, it felt more epic in scale that I felt a story about that character needed to be. George Miller made an amazing post-apocalyptic fable here. But I don't think he's captured what made the first two so enduring or what made them work together despite the huge tonal shift that takes place between 1 and 2.
posted by MarchHare at 3:58 PM on May 15, 2015 [1 favorite]




Absolutely a great film. We actually thought they were going to play the trailer for the film as it started, it just begins with action and doesn't stop for the next 45 minutes. It rarely stops for the entire film.

I also endorse the characterization of the MRAs objecting to this film as petulant children. It's a George Miller film; there could have been a pack of motorcycle riding sentient pigs (or penguins) at the end of the 2nd act and you would have cared for them just as much.

My only regret is not sneaking back in for a second viewing.
posted by Catblack at 8:48 PM on May 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is very possibly the best action movie I have seen in my entire life.

Holy crap. I don't even smoke and I kinda needed a cigarette afterwards. And it managed the DODECHABECHDEL TEST! Twelve female characters on screen all talking to each other about something that's not a man.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:08 PM on May 15, 2015 [43 favorites]


It was beautiful. Oh my god it was so beautiful.
posted by casarkos at 1:13 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I may have walked out of the theater and immediately asked on Twitter in all caps if it was dangerous to have an orgasm that lasted a bit under two hours. So, yes. This is a GOOOOODDDDDD movie.

I don't understand the notion that the movie makes more sense without Max. "Protagonist/POV character blunders into an on-going Thing, helps out some people, goes on his way" isn't that uncommon a story structure. And who cares what Max's age is? Take him as an archetype ala James Bond and jettison the notion that this is supposed to fit into a sensible Mad Max Chronology in any meaningful way. That doesn't make it any less a Mad Max movie. We already the jump from the first to the second movie. Why take this any differently than that, or rather why say that makes it "not a Mad Max" movie. By any reasonable set of "looks like a duck, quacks like a duck" standards this was a Mad Max movie. And a fucking great one at that!

And outside the story, there is unfortunately no way this movie would get made at the budget it had (150 millis from what I've read) with a female lead playing an unknown character. Miller had to fight pretty hard to get this made as is.
posted by sparkletone at 2:31 AM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


After thinking more: one can easily take it as a full on reboot. I'd forgotten about the exposition at the very beginning about nuclear war and what not.

It still a Mad Max movie though.
posted by sparkletone at 2:39 AM on May 16, 2015


Heh, the instant we got out of the theater my partner pointed out that this was basically Snowpiercer in the desert, with cars instead of a train.

She's not really wrong.

We also got into an argument about the part where Furiosa breaks down and cries in the salt flats. It kinda seems like it was setting itself up to rise above that trope, but nope. I mean yea, it was a bit of a Planet of the Apes "You really did it! You blew it all up!" moment, but she just read it as "oh of COURSE the strong lady has to crack and cry, can't have her being toooo strong". I was just like, hey, her entire home and the only thing she had to hope for is gone. It's not that unreasonable.



That said, this feels like the final perfected form of what Crank and Dredd were trying to be though. Dredd is great, but this is just so engaging. You're locked in from the very first scene and it just never slows down. That two hours feels like an eternity and 5 minutes at the same time. It was actually hard to walk afterwards because my legs were so tensed up from the continuous edge of your seat action.

And holy shit, the design and cars in this were amazing. You could really tell nothing was CGI. They're all just... so visceral. I have several friends who do(some who i help out with), and used to work with an arts organization where everyone made art cars and weird welding projects. Everything shown just felt so realistic. Like, a few guys could hack together any one of those in a few weeks with a welder and a bunch of random car bits. And they were all so creative and clever.

It also totally slaps you in the face with color and lighting. The swamp/crow scene is in such stark contrast to the rest of the movies desert tones. It's effortless creepy and really jarring. This might be one of the most visually amazing movies i've ever seen.

It's absolutely a theater movie too. Don't wait to see this one at home. It's as visually satisfying as like, 2001 in a theater.
posted by emptythought at 3:28 AM on May 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Also, did anyone make sense of the "He's just a young man at the end of his half-life" thing? Was it a reference to all the calls to living again in the afterlife? A comment on everyone living really short lives due to the weird cancer and deformities that were shown?
posted by emptythought at 3:28 AM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's a kind of demented, gleeful frenzy to this movie that makes the Snowpiercer comparison, but where I found that movie fun to watch but ultimately hollow (see my comments in the Fanfare thread lol), this movie has only improved the more I've thought and read about it after seeing it.

I took the half-life thing to be a reference to Nux's two(-mur) friends in his shoulder.

The swamp was such an incredible way to give the audience a breath from the chase without lowering the tension. The walker people immediately brought to mind The Dark Crystal, which kinda made it impossible for me to not be creeped out even before you get to the wrecked trees and the crows.

As for the scene where Furiosa cracks... I look at it this way: I have seen any number of purely male action movies where something like that revelation about Furiosa's home causes that exact kind of reaction. Would I watch Theron play an unbreakable heartless badass of terrifying proportions? Fuck yes. But I felt for her in a way that most action movies haven't earned by the time they get to that sort of scene. Not only was her home gone forever, but now there's nowhere safe for any of them. Her whole mission's been for naught and they had all already paid a very, very heavy price to get to where they were.
posted by sparkletone at 4:02 AM on May 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


This movie has an amazing execution-vs.-difficulty ratio. There are very few films I can think of that have a visual aesthetic that is (all at once) so complicated, so rooted in world-building, and so weird, and that realizes its vision perfectly. And the things is, none of those other films manage to realize the aesthetic while every last thing on the screen is barreling across the landscape at 100 miles an hour.

I can't believe how upsetting some of the character deaths were in movie this soaked in mayhem and carnage. Every time this little band of dissidents lost somebody it was like a punch in the gut.

Usually when you scroll through the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes or some other review aggregation site, you see a split between people who thought it was good and people who didn't. The divide on this one is interesting because there's a high (98%) consensus that it was good, but there seem to still be two camps: people who thought it was an expertly choreographed and executed action movie, stripped down of all character development, plot, or theme, and people who thought it was an expertly choreographed and executed action movie with adroitly drawn characters, a tight, lean plot, and some powerfully resonant thematic content.

Me, I'm in the second camp. I think maybe people in the first camp were too overwhelmed by the scale to read it, maybe?
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:52 AM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought it was really good, but not the cinematic perfection that many others did.

Although I have never seen Peter Weir's 1974 movie The Cars That Ate Paris, it looks like some of the design sensibility trickled over from that flick to this one.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:45 AM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


And who cares what Max's age is? Take him as an archetype ala James Bond and jettison the notion that this is supposed to fit into a sensible Mad Max Chronology in any meaningful way.

I think the shifting and ambiguous timeline makes more sense for a story and character like Mad Max than James Bond. Bond is a character from an actual period in our history, the Cold War. He works for a real organization (MI6) that belongs to a real country, the UK. At the same time, since Bond takes place in contemporary times and deals with a technology reliant trade (spycraft), so it has to integrate stuff like cell phones and the internet into the movie universe. And of course, there's the real world brands like Heineken and BMW that place it in a certain period too.

But Mad Max takes place in the future. All the films, except the first one, take place in this wide featureless desert expanse, that could be anywhere in Australia, or outside of it even. The world's gone to shit, the Wasteland can be everywhere. And the endless desert shots just make it seem time and place are meaningless anyways.

Also, I think Fury Road shows that Max is actually insane. He imagines a dead girl pointing things out to him during the film. It's not his daughter, because his son was killed in the first film. So, Max is not a reliable narrator of his own story. To add, Mad Max 2: Road Warrior was told from the perspective of the feral kid, many years later.

So, we're dealing with memories that are either blocked or distorted because of past trauma OR memories that have been built up over the years into myths and legends.

It's kind of more like the Zelda series before they tried to bolt a timeline on it. Is it the same Max in all the movies? Nobody knows, not even Max himself.
posted by FJT at 11:14 AM on May 16, 2015 [27 favorites]


I saw the movie two hours ago and i'm still reeling from all the images it conjured up. Everything was just so on point, loved that it just dropped us into this world and then hit the gas.

I don't know that i'd call it a feminist movie, in the sense that it had an agenda. It was simply very human in the way it highlighted that people are people, strong in their own unique and ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've seen a lot of feminist art, and very little of it could be described as having an agenda; instead it represents a feminist worldview.

This is a film in which a destructive, ownership-based patriarchy is replaced by a nurturing, sharing matriarchy. It's one of the most feminist films I have ever seen.
posted by maxsparber at 2:35 PM on May 16, 2015 [55 favorites]


Just got back from the theater. Wow! I didn't expect to enjoy this so much. My husband and I decided to go this morning after I started browsing this fanfare thread and heard that there are MRA objections going around out there. Sealed the deal! Afterwards he said to me "I don't know if there were any feminist points in there they could have objected to... nothing lectury was going on, what were people upset about?"

But like... there was so much for me to be excited about as a woman seeing this film that I didn't know where to start. Of course it wasn't hit-you-over-the-head kind of feminism, but when you consider "these types of movies" and their patterns as a whole, this film was a breath of fresh air. The main character was along for the ride in a woman's story, when you really break it down. Does that ever happen in big budget big franchise films?

And no question about how damn beautiful the whole thing was.

I don't know, I came in with very low expectations for something that looked like it was all about fiery explosions, and was happily surprised.
posted by erratic meatsack at 3:11 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


It is a testament to how compelling this film is that I was absolutely absorbed by it, even though the couple behind us were talking throughout the entire film.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:11 PM on May 16, 2015


>Although I have never seen Peter Weir's 1974 movie The Cars That Ate Paris...

I noticed that! But I didn't want to nudge my partner and mention it. Of course it's a nod to that earlier film, and it's also a great defense against raiders on motorcycles. Or on foot, I reckon.

>...a destructive, ownership-based patriarchy is replaced by a nurturing, sharing matriarchy...

There's really no indication things got better after the film ended. For all we know most of the peasants that crowded onto the lift at the end were thrown headfirst off the citadel for being useless and annoying. Maybe there's a reason Max got the fuck out while he could?
posted by Catblack at 3:15 PM on May 16, 2015


Well, pretty much every movie could become a dystopian nightmare post-credits, but there is no reason to think they do.
posted by maxsparber at 3:40 PM on May 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


but there is no reason to think they do.

Unless it's Jet Li's The One, which is probably only remembered because if it's ending: The evil mirror universe character Jet Li plays is thrown into a dystopian grim dark world and forced to fight other prisoners endlessly on top of a pyramid. The camera pans and it's shows guards standing in hovering towers and black copters rushing to break up the riot.

I think a lot of movies could be improved by ending that way.
posted by FJT at 5:28 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, was it just me or did some of the head guards at the citadel look like descendants of Master Blaster with their garb?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, this info from the wikipedia page about the movie has me absolutely delighted: "Miller and McCarthy found during the writing process for Fury Road that they had enough story material for two additional scripts. One of these, entitled Mad Max: Furiosa, has already been completed, and Miller hopes to film it after the release of Fury Road."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 PM on May 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also, I really enjoyed the relationship between Max and Furiosa. They barely talk to each other but say so much. The best example is Max using the sniper rifle to try and kill the Bullet Farmer. He misses twice and is down to the last bullet. Furiosa comes up behind and "says" me the gun. Max wants to argue, but knows she's the better shot, and hands her the gun, but doesn't leave, instead staying so she can use his body to steady the rifle. This is all done with no talking, just body language and facial expressions. So good.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:54 PM on May 16, 2015 [36 favorites]


Did I spot a Borderlands mask on one of the War Boys? I was born the year Thunderdome came out, so I've grown up playing videogames saturated in the Mad Max aesthetic - and Fury Road still felt new and real.
It's been 3 days since it opened and I need to see it again.

I am worried that, like Dredd, it won't make enough to get its planned sequels.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:22 PM on May 16, 2015


The minimal CGI made this film so much more captivating. Which was why at first I was disappointed at the tornado/dust storm scene until I realized that's not CGI, that's just Australia.
posted by lilac girl at 9:11 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay. I saw it yesterday and I am still reeling. I knew I would like it to some extent but holy shit. A movie this action-filled, dialogue-sparse and thematically dense? Such marvelous visual story-telling? And feminist as fuck to boot? It's remarkable. I know I've only seen it once, and it's fresh in my mind, but god damn! This is the most I've enjoyed a movie in years. And I've loved the fuck out of some movies in that time.

At about 20 minutes in (in a sparse theater, to be clear) my friend leaned over and said, "We're only this far and this is my favorite movie ever." My response was that I was kind of misting up a bit. It's that damn good.
posted by brundlefly at 10:29 PM on May 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is the first time that an absolutely wonderful trailer has undersold the final product.
posted by brundlefly at 10:29 PM on May 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher, yes the sniper moment is just great.
posted by brundlefly at 10:32 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


This movie had me from the moment I saw the graffiti the women scrawled across their prison: WE ARE NOT THINGS. We are not things, said the women of the movie, and then spent two hours saying it again and proving it and fighting for it. Just--holy shit. I was not expecting this, of all movies, to be one of the most explicitly feminist movies I've seen in ages.
posted by yasaman at 11:33 PM on May 16, 2015 [40 favorites]


Very much going to consider that action movies maybe aren't my thing, since I wasn't really into this. So much of it seemed super annoying and obvious to me, but that's kinda typical I guess.

Great visually though, especially the makeup and costumes and production design. While I could still see some of the cheesy vfx creeping around, it was nice to see a huge amount of practical effects. For once the "stunts" section of the end crawl is as long as the cgi jockeys.

I'll maybe go back and watch the original trilogy, which I haven't seen but could possibly be more my speed.
posted by dogwalker at 12:23 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just got back from the theatre. Go see it.

I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I cheered. I loved every minute. How sparse and spare the characterization is, how light the dialogue is, Max's feral nature, Furiosa's hope, Nux's loss of faith, ripping through the desert on war rig, the badass granny bikers, the fights, the fire, the music all of it.

Any other movie would have explained how Furiosa became an Imperator, how she lost her arm, what happened to the green place, what Immortan Joe's motivation was, why the war boyz painted white, the names of the Bullet Farm and Gas Town leaders, etc. etc. None of it fucking matters.

Go see it on the big screen.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:12 AM on May 17, 2015 [22 favorites]


I had two thoughts when walking out of the cinema. "Fuck" and "Yeah".
posted by arha at 4:04 AM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


I feel a little bad that I didn't like it more since everyone else seems to love it. I don't know, I liked the world building and the political themes but the action scenes left me kind of flat. Road Warrior is easily one of my favorite action films of all time but this one just didn't do much for me.
posted by octothorpe at 5:04 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if there is any subtext to two guys spitting gasoline into engine air intakes, but holy hell that was hilarious and amazing.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:39 AM on May 17, 2015 [43 favorites]


Someone upthread mentioned the Dark Crystal and I think that's a surprisingly apt comparison. One of the most annoying things about the grinding futility that is most modern action films is that they neglect the visual storytelling that is film's greatest asset as a medium. When you do see a film that can convey story and setting through visual poetry it's quite startling and gratifying.

The doctrine of the war boys is expressed at the beginning of the film in an (incredible) action sequence that uses the unstoppable momentum of the action both to excite and also to express their character and background. It's inspiring.

And of course also frustrating because whenever I watch a movie with clumsy exposition setting up the studio IP for the next three films, I'm going to remember how much better it can be.
posted by selfnoise at 6:02 AM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


Saw this last night and loved it. So visceral, and so much more coherent than so many action films (cough the Avengers cough).

Looking at Wikipedia, I am suddenly shocked to realize that I've never seen the first Mad Max, despite the Road Warrior being on near-constant rotation during boyhood birthday parties and sleepovers.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:42 AM on May 17, 2015


Do not watch this movie with someone who asks a lot of world building question such as, "how does this economic system work?"; "there is no way that this society has produced the engineering and science to build engines that energy efficient, if so, how?"; "how much food needs to be produced at the Citadel to feed how many people?"; "120 days of travel on motorbike, they should hit an ocean, don't you think?" and etc. It was not fun. This movie needs to be watched with people into fun or at least a suspension of disbelief. Really. You have been warned.

Now, I had thought about Max, Nux and Furiosa, regarding blood transfusions, what if we have a situation that Max is one of the lucky recipients of enhanced capabilities due to the failing environment? Seriously, Nux was being transfused because his life/health was failing and his transfusion is interrupted due to one hell of a ride, however, he is performing at a very high level, afterward. Furiousa is looking real spry for a woman who just a hole punctured into her to inflate a collapsed lung and a very fresh transfusion with Max. Max is performing very well for a person wandering the waste with limited calories, water and then blood loss through his encounters in the movie. Really, the guy is a tank. It would also, potentially, explain the sheer amount of time that societal collapse, warlordism and generations of mutant births (Morten Joe had multiple adult mutant children) have occurred.
posted by jadepearl at 8:09 AM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Just came back from an afternoon matinee. I don't have much to add that hasn't already been discussed above, other than realizing with no small irony that I actually "paid" for my ticket by donating (I'm O-, the same as Max) at my local blood center, which gives away little incentives (like movie passes) to regular donors.

Anyway, I want this movie to do well enough to get us another sequel at least, maybe even another Max/Furiosa teamup. Knowing how long it took this one to happen, and that George Miller is 70(!) at this point, I don't know if it's even possible. But I choose to be optimistic, even as the threat of more assembly-line, incoherent Michael Bay/Zach Snyder product looms on the horizon.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:14 PM on May 17, 2015 [6 favorites]


Seriously, Nux was being transfused because his life/health was failing and his transfusion is interrupted due to one hell of a ride, however, he is performing at a very high level, afterward.

Just want to stress to any future survivors of the apocalypse: Put your goddamn blood bag IN the car with you and not on the hood like an ornament. Unless you want to go out in a spectacular blaze of suicidal glory, then by all means, carry on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Anyway, I want this movie to do well enough to get us another sequel at least, maybe even another Max/Furiosa teamup.

Miller's said they already have a script for a sequel that was written while they were working on this one. The title of it suggests that it'll be another very Furiosa-heavy movie, which I am way more than up for. As for how the movie's doing... Estimated 44-45 millis for its opening weekend (putting it at number 2 behind the Pitch Perfect sequel). For a movie with a hard-R rating that was made so long after Beyond Thunderdome, that seems pretty good? Hopefully the ecstatic reviews and word of mouth will give it better than average longevity in the coming weeks (I know it's probably a matter of when and not if I'll see it again in a theater).
posted by sparkletone at 1:43 PM on May 17, 2015


It's done 109M worldwide on a 150M production budget. Add in another 100M for advertising for a grand total of 250M. So if it makes around 400M, that's a good candidate for a sequel?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on May 17, 2015


I never thought I'd ever describe a horrifying post-apocalyptic future murder-car as "hilarious" but, well, there it is. It is literally the best car that ever happened, immediately as iconic as Christine or the Interceptor or Optimus Prime or that ridiculous submarine car James Bond drove. I am going to watch the shit out of this movie and for the first time in a while am going to pay the crazy prices to do so.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:17 PM on May 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I just got home from seeing it - my son told me that taking him would make me a better feminist, the sly little bastard - and I am still in a daze. I saw Ultron last weekend, and while I thought that movie was an enjoyable summer blockbuster, this movie reminded me of how great movies can be if the director takes advantage of the film medium. Unlike most of the popular comic book/science fiction/fantasy films, there is no reliance for exposition, no "because science," no elaborate mythology or character-defining monologues that enable the audience understand why those particular things are going boom or why that bad guy can't get that shiny thing.

Why is Furiosa driving the women across the desert? Because that guy's an asshole. Go!

Miller is able to tell a perfectly satisfying story and tap into our emotions using motion, colors, sounds, silence, symbols - all the elements a filmmaker should take advantage of instead of relying on plot-heavy dialogue to tell a story. If a plot is complex -or at least complicated - enough to require a lot of words, I'll probably have a better experience reading a book. This film, on the other hand, reminded me why motion pictures can be so engaging if the filmmakers use the medium to convey the story, not just illustrate a narrative.
posted by bibliowench at 3:51 PM on May 17, 2015 [53 favorites]


Chiming in to say, that I just saw it too. Definitely a thrill ride and visually, surprisingly beautiful. The scene where Furiosa is breaking down and the sand is blowing is lovely.

I loved everything about it but what truly knocked my socks off, is the Furiosa's bad-ass clanswomen. I don't think there is another film out there that uses so many older actresses as action heroes, not just as a novelty or for comedic value. In an industry where older actresses are shunted aside because of ageism, it is so refreshing and amazing to see. Kudos to George Miller.
posted by nikitabot at 4:09 PM on May 17, 2015 [39 favorites]


nikitabot - yes, the clanswomen were awesome. The keeper of seeds reminded me of an 80+ year old lady I met whilst travelling around Mexico, when her husband died she decided to see the world and was going literally everywhere with a backpack. It's a really beautiful archetype of a heroic older lady, with such depth carved into the wrinkles of her face that you very rarely see on screen.
posted by pmcp at 5:04 PM on May 17, 2015 [19 favorites]


Why is Furiosa driving the women across the desert? Because that guy's an asshole. Go!

Such a simple concept, but embedded within it is a full history of all the characters and excellent motivation that anyone can understand. Just extraordinary!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


This movie had so many standout scenes but when Furiosa realizes the home she was coming back to no longer exists and she rips her Luke Skywalker robotic arm off and just surrenders to the despair -- extraordinary.

In fact, this film is full of performances that were extraordinary precisely because they didn't chew up the scenery, but just managed to react to ALL THE CRAZY SHIT GOING ON in a way that felt real. I suspect nobody will get an Oscar for this movie but lots are deserved.
posted by localroger at 6:33 PM on May 17, 2015


Went to see it today and can't stop thinking about it.

One of the things I keep thinking about is the war boys religion and chrome. Marking themselves, or marked by others, with the spray of silver paint. How reminiscent that is of the famous mug shot of the paint huffer. Not only is the paint a spiritual marking, but they're getting a mental blast from the paint fumes and that pushes them to do whatever crazed thing they need to do. Bezerkers charging into battle, powered by drugs and drums.

And then, on top of that, what the idea of chrome would actually mean in this crapsack world. Everything is recycled from an already recycled pile. Nothing is new. Rusted, old, and even then it's not something they can call their own. "Chrome" would represent something shiny and beautiful, untouched and brand new. Something for them and them alone.

Also really liked the detail of the old ladies getting to be badasses, and getting to be effective fighters in ways which would make sense for them. Smarts, cunning, and firearms. After decades of old men getting to fight in countless movies, this was wonderful. Ironically, the preview for the next Terminator with aging Arnold, shown right before Mad Max started, made that dichotomy clear.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [46 favorites]


I wrote an essay and deleted it. It's fantastic. I loved it. The MRAs were 30 deep in there, and I was the only person that applauded when Furiosa took the gun from Max and put dude's lights out with the last shot available on the gun. The movie did so many things I've been screaming at the screen about for years now. I loved that when the war rig got stuck in the mud, the ladies got right to getting it unstuck. It was normalized. I love that Furiosa is so perfectly Furiosa. I loved the storm scene. I loved the shifting color palettes, ridiculous guitarist, different warring groups, landscapes, and shifting allegiances. It was just a fantastic movie. My challenge now is to not annoy everyone I know in suggesting they see it in the theater. I'd seen all the Mad Max movies and loved them, and I noted in the car on the way home that this was such a worthy sequel. And to hear they've already got material for another installment? I'm there. I am so there.
posted by cashman at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2015 [7 favorites]


In case any of you were wondering what I was, from last year: The Growing Menagier Of Bizarre Tom Hardy Accents
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:50 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I can't wait to see all the Furiosas this halloween.
posted by cashman at 7:25 PM on May 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


This is now my favorite action film of all time.

I remember thinking while watching it (once the older women showed up) oh man, it this what it's like to be a man watching action films? Getting to watch movies where your sex is just defacto badass and capable and layered?

It's a heady feeling.
posted by Windigo at 7:28 PM on May 17, 2015 [54 favorites]


10 other great Australian dystopian road movies

The only one I've seen besides Mad Max is Stone, which is awesome
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:39 PM on May 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've seen most of those, and for what they are they are mostly good. Metal Skin was pretty great when I was younger, but I don't know how it would hold up today. The Rover is just legit awesome, easily one of my favourite Australian films since Chopper.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:49 PM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Our Burning Skull: The Dark, Brutal Ritual of Mad Max: Fury Road
Miller himself calls the film “loosely connected” to the prior trilogy, meaning stop worrying about it because it doesn’t matter. It’s enough that Fury Road, with Tom Hardy now in Gibson’s role as Max Rockatansky, is a Master Class in just about everything a middle-aged fan boy—one who still holds hallowed that Summer of ’82—could ever want in a present-day Summer Action Film.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


been reading other sites - anyone notice the hand gesture the war boys did? interlocked fingers remind you of anything?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:12 AM on May 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


"120 days of travel on motorbike, they should hit an ocean, don't you think?"

I assumed the ocean had boiled off, hence why they would be riding on salt.
posted by biffa at 3:55 AM on May 18, 2015 [28 favorites]


I can't wait to see all the Furiosas this halloween.

Personally, I'm planning to eat nothing but cottage hams between now and Halloween just so I can go as The People Eater, aka the guy in the business suit with nipple rings, a metal nose, and crazy elephantiasis-gout.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:14 AM on May 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


Actually, the blood umbilical is one of the strongest images of the movie for me. It's what Max has to cut to be free of, the umbilical shows up again in the scene with the stillborn baby, and it comes full circle when Max uses the IV to breathe life back into Furiosa.

Related to that, the bolt cutters are an amazing recurring object. The whole idea of cutting the ties that bind is very strong throughout the movie, and related to the umbilical imagery that crops up again and again.


Ooo, this is a really good point that I'll pay attention to if I see it again - there are two types of 'chains' in the movie, literal chains and blood/umbilical chains. Both tie people to each other, but one is a tool of subjugation and the other is a tool of nurturing.

I can't wait to see all the Furiosas this halloween.

I saw the movie with a tall, thin, short-haired friend of mine and the second it ended I leaned over and DEMANDED she shave her head and be Furiosa for Halloween.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:36 AM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just hope that some of the Furiosa cosplayers don't go too far and actually chop off an arm for their art.

(On the other hand Then again, maybe Furiosa is exactly the heroine that amputee cosplayers have been waiting for all these years.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:10 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I watched all four films this weekend and recommend everyone else do the same.
posted by Monochrome at 9:14 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the things that stood out in this movie for me was not merely that it made a woman an action hero, but also the disabled. Almost everybody in this future has been physically affected in some way, including Max, who retains his leg injury from a previous film and still moves with the assistance of the makeshift brace he made for himself. The villains are likewise physically damaged, and one, the Bullet Farmer, actually is at his most dangerous when he's blinded. What other film has so many disabled people as warriors?

We know at least two of the wives are pregnant, and its strongly implied that all are. And yet they've been trained for escape -- despite the fact that they sort of recede into the background sometimes, they are very active characters in their own story, each with their own area of specialization, with Toast the Knowing having weapons skills and Capable knowing how to repair an engine. Presumably Miss Giddy helped train them -- they repeatedly reference her as their educator, and she is the first rebel woman we meet, aiming a shotgun at Immortan Joe and screaming at him that you cannot own people. What other film has old and pregnant women as warriors?

It's really extraordinarily different from any action film I have ever seen.
posted by maxsparber at 9:22 AM on May 18, 2015 [49 favorites]


What other film has old and pregnant women as warriors?

The shot of Splendid using her belly as a shield/threat is one of the most emblematic images in the story of women trying to reclaim their agency. It's what makes her the most precious commodity, and now she's going to use it for her own damn benefit.

Dammit, but we have needed a movie like this for so long now.
posted by bibliowench at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [34 favorites]


Oh, man, that belly-as-a-shield moment was wonderful. And I noticed that both our main badassed action heroes were disabled. There are plenty of disabled bad guys in action movies, but aside from Nick Fury's bad eye, there aren't a lot of action movie heroes who are disabled. (And arguable Nick Fury is mostly administrative rather than action these days)

I do wish there were more POC in the crowd scenes, although it's a bit hard to tell with many of the extra characters having body paint.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


And I don't know how deliberate it was in the casting, but so many of the Wives are actresses who are, in part, known for being descended from or in relationships with famous men, including Elvis' granddaughter, Lenny Kravitz's daughter, and Jason Statham's girlfriend. It's like they, too, were making a statement: We are not exclusively defined by our relationship with men.

Speaking of casting, aside from having the actor who played Toecutter come back, one of the Vulvalini (and check out THAT name) is Joy Smithers, who was supposed to play Max's wife in the original movie. I don't think we see her die, but presumably she is run over when Megan Gale is, which means that she survived the original Mad Max only to meet an identical fate in this one.
posted by maxsparber at 9:58 AM on May 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


I realize that this film was not made to be deconstructed, but I do have to ask one thing: what in the hell was going on with all the breastmilk? It's such a strange thing that I can't get it out of my head... I couldn't figure out what they were doing with it. Was it just meant as a beverage?
posted by selfnoise at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think this film exists in the same sort of metaphoric space as Snowpiercer. They were trading the mothers milk along with the aqua cola to one of the other towns -- I think Gas Town.

Now, it probably doesn't make any real sense that some five women can produce enough breast milk to be of any trade value, but it reenforces how much the citadel has colonized women's bodies. Everybody there existed just to be exploited, as potentially breeders, as milk producers, or as cannon fodder. It was all about extracting resources.
posted by maxsparber at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Now, it probably doesn't make any real sense that some five women can produce enough breast milk to be of any trade value,

Oh, I assumed that there were way more women doing that than were shown on screen.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


There may have been. It was a big mountain.
posted by maxsparber at 10:21 AM on May 18, 2015


I was more concerned about the milk going bad. That war rig didn't look refrigerated.

Maybe they pasteurized it?
posted by FJT at 10:30 AM on May 18, 2015


I figured only the top brass generally got the milk.
posted by Windigo at 10:46 AM on May 18, 2015




That guitar and postapocalyptic Marshall stack was one of those bits where I leaned over to my companions and whispered "meanwhile, at Burning Man..."
posted by rmd1023 at 11:03 AM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


The scene with the last bullet was great, and as someone on Twitter pointed out, it's a visual homage.

> It was incredibly shot. And a great story to tell, that was more nuanced that I expected. But... Max doesn't need to be in it. And it makes more sense if he isn't.

A different perspective: Why Max is essential to Fury Road.

And as far as "how old is he supposed to be", it was my impression (based in large part on the weaponry in use) that this film is set between #1 and #2. If you look at the first two, in Mad Max there was a lot more firepower than in Road Warrior. According to the International Movie Firearms Database, Mad Max had "Mauser C96 'Broomhandle', Smith & Wesson Model 28, Smith & Wesson Model 13, Double Barrel Shotguns, Sawed-off double-barrel shotgun, Winchester Model 1912, and Winchester Model 70". By Road Warrior, the firearms are down to "Smith & Wesson Model 29, Sawed-off double-barrel shotgun, Flamethrower".

In Fury Road, they've still got lots of guns and a fair bit of ammo, but they're starting to have to shift toward crossbows and the like more than in Mad Max.

> For all we know most of the peasants that crowded onto the lift at the end were thrown headfirst off the citadel for being useless and annoying.

I doubt it. Furiosa and the other survivors were actively helping people up onto the lift. It would be a break with character if they then turned around and kicked them off to their deaths.

> it probably doesn't make any real sense that some five women can produce enough breast milk to be of any trade value

The five wives who escaped were his favorites, but not the only women enslaved that way. In one of the very first scenes in the Citadel, we see maybe a dozen or so women (none of them as lithe and pretty as the five favorites) hooked up to giant breast pumps. I found the image disturbing — it was clearly meant to evoke cows hooked up to milking machines.

Overall, I loved it. I want to see it again at a different theater (I don't know what it is, but when I see a movie at the Grand Lake, the dialog always seems muffled compared to the rest of the sound, and I had trouble making out some of what was said). And come Halloween, I may do Furiosa this year. I wear my hair short anyway, and it grows out fast, so…
posted by Lexica at 11:19 AM on May 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh here's another weird thing I remember. When Max gets captured at the beginning at the winch, there's a shot with him getting hauled back into the cave by the warboys where it looks like he's suddenly missing his face. Did anyone else see this? It looked like a nightmare image, was this something the warboys put on him or was it some kind of Max hallucination in third person?
posted by selfnoise at 11:21 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, I think they covered his face with some sort of rubber when they were pulling him back as a way of containing him.

A genuinely nightmarish image, though.

Hadn't realized before the above article that the guitar player was blind. One more disabled person ruling the wasteland.
posted by maxsparber at 11:23 AM on May 18, 2015


I remember thinking while watching it (once the older women showed up) oh man, it this what it's like to be a man watching action films? Getting to watch movies where your sex is just defacto badass and capable and layered?

It's a heady feeling.
posted by Windigo


YES YES YES! That brief glimpse into what it must be like for the other half of the population, almost all the time... It was an amazing feeling for me. I have a hard time trying to describe it - so much exhilaration followed by sadness at just how novel this feeling is.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2015 [16 favorites]


Should we watch this in 3D?

I don't usually love 3D because I like colors more than things popping out, but some films are definitely better for it.

We are going to watch this today, so I'm not reading the thread in case of spoilers.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:41 AM on May 18, 2015


George Miller specifically stated he preferred the 2D version, and the 3D version is a post-conversion, so I would say no.
posted by selfnoise at 11:50 AM on May 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


The 3D wasn't bad (post conversion isn't as awful as it always used to be) but it was nowhere near necessary. If you especially like 3D, see that version, but otherwise I'd definitely recommend the 2D.
posted by dogwalker at 12:05 PM on May 18, 2015


I've seen it in both 2D and 3D. The 3D wasn't distracting, but neither did it really contribute to the movie.
posted by maxsparber at 12:06 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


been reading other sites - anyone notice the hand gesture the war boys did? interlocked fingers remind you of anything?

They also mentioned V8s almost as much as they mentioned chrome. The V8 is practically the symbol of their religion.
posted by emptythought at 1:04 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


2D it is. Thank you.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2015


Apparently this cracked a hundred mil in box office takings yesterday, so that's pretty good news.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:55 PM on May 18, 2015 [4 favorites]




what if we have a situation that Max is one of the lucky recipients of enhanced capabilities due to the failing environment? Seriously, Nux was being transfused because his life/health was failing and his transfusion is interrupted due to one hell of a ride, however, he is performing at a very high level, afterward. Furiousa is looking real spry for a woman who just a hole punctured into her to inflate a collapsed lung and a very fresh transfusion with Max. Max is performing very well for a person wandering the waste with limited calories, water and then blood loss through his encounters in the movie. Really, the guy is a tank.

High octane crazy blood!
posted by kenko at 3:04 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


So I haven't read through the whole thread yet, but I saw the movie last night after marathoning the older movies and holy shit I loved it so much!!! Feminsim! Crazy exploding cars! Self actualization!

I'm already planning an Imperator Furiosa costume for Halloween.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:56 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]






I think I got too excited because although I liked it, I didn't love it.

1) The music annoyed me SO MUCH. It was wrong in at least 3 significant scenes.
2) The Victoria's Secret girls looked like they were on a modelling shoot in every shot.
3) Why in God's name would you motorcycle through a desert with no goggles.
4) I didn't actually care about anyone. When a bad guy died? Even a significant one? Eh- one more dead guy.
5) I would like a little explanation about how Max can be strong after losing so much blood.
6) It's possible Burning Man has ruined me for the picturesqueness of the desert shots. Also, I kept thinking about how they must have had to wait until the wind was just right to film most of those aerial shots.

The Good:
1) Over the top machines
2) Bad ass women who didn't seem any more over the top bad ass than the male characters.
3) General silliness
4) Redemption as a theme
posted by small_ruminant at 9:58 PM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


That said, it seems to have already turned into a regular costume event around these parts so I'll probably go again.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:03 PM on May 18, 2015


6) It's possible Burning Man has ruined me

I have spent every free weekend this year working on an art car (again) that I will accompany to the playa and saw it with a compatriot and all I could I think relative to that was how much their car building made us look like chumps. We cheered the fuck out of the whole thing and wish to shit the doof machine would come out.

The music added to everything.

They put on goggles in the dust storm, that was something. They also touched hot exhaust all the time without being burned. I am willing to suspend disbelief sometimes and this was a time. It earned it.

I am genuinely baffled by anyone who enjoys action and desert and cars and fire who didn't enjoy that movie holy fucking shit.
posted by flaterik at 12:59 AM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


etymology of the doof wagon. 'Doof' is like a desert hippie rave.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:06 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




I just came from watching it, and I realised something. We get a (really well done) ringing ears effect every time a shot is fired too close to Max's head, but not when Max fires the warning shots around Furiosa's head.

I think this is because Max is an audience surrogate in this film. This is Furiosa's story (Fury Road is her road), and Max is only along for the trip. He is there to witness her, and that's also why the last shot of the film is of Furiosa from Max's perspective.

N-thing the Nux love too.
posted by kandinski at 1:56 AM on May 19, 2015 [30 favorites]


Notice that the two male characters who are redeemable essentially become so by acknowledging that what the women in the film are going through is a larger problem, with significance both to men and to the world at large. They then have to work to find the right balance of being allies and staying out of the fucking way.

Just awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:05 AM on May 19, 2015 [36 favorites]


Head exploding fact of the day: the actor playing Nux, in his previous biggest role.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:09 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Defining Nicholas Hoult by About a Boy seems really odd to me. It's not like he's done nothing in between that and Fury Road. Just off the top of my head, he plays Beast in the X-Men movies, he starred as Jack in a movie based on Jack and the Beanstalk, and he was the romantic lead in Warm Bodies, a zombie romance movie. He's a solidly working actor with a long list of recent credits.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:58 AM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I wasn't trying to minimize his body of work. I was just noting that the "You may have seen him in________" for this actor has a title in it that is jarring when juxtaposed against Fury Road. That was the role I (and probably several other folks) knew him best from. YMMV, of course.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:03 AM on May 19, 2015


Oh my god - I just discovered that the redheaded wife is ELVIS'S granddaughter and that she is married to CRAZY FLAMETHROWER GUITAR GUY in the real world!!!!!
posted by Windigo at 7:23 AM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's so out there, I actually thought you were kidding, Windigo. So I looked it up and that is totally true. WOW. That article also says that Toast the Knowing (the sort of skeptical one who handled the guns) is Zoe Kravitz, Lenny Kravitz's daughter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:57 AM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


She's married to one of the stuntmen from the movie, who I suspect doubled for the guitar player. The actual guitar player is iOTA.
posted by maxsparber at 8:34 AM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




I want to see a prequel called Before Thunderdome with Nicki Minaj as Aunty Entity.
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


I am genuinely baffled by anyone who enjoys action and desert and cars and fire who didn't enjoy that movie holy fucking shit.

I did enjoy it- sorry if I gave the wrong impression. But I'm not over the moon about it the way other people are.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:18 AM on May 19, 2015




That is a quality URL.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:10 PM on May 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


This comic speaks to the journey of seeing this movie, I think.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:26 PM on May 19, 2015 [27 favorites]


I saw it at the first showing last Thursday, so I missed all of that, but I love that comic. I really want to see it again, but I can't seem to carve out the time. I'll tell you what though, that's the next DVD I own even though I've vowed not to buy DVDs any more.
posted by cashman at 3:38 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




We will be seeing it again. So awesome.
posted by prettypretty at 3:49 PM on May 19, 2015


Movie Yelling With Shrill And Mallory: Welcome To Your Steampunk Future, Sorry There’s No Water But We Did Put Skulls On Everything

"Mallory: like, cut off one hand and one foot each, you know?
problem solved
that way, they’re still perfectly healthy but they can’t get far without you
Shrill: oh my god"

also it's obviously gasolinepunk not steampunk GAWD
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:01 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


guzzolinepunk

i'm sorry
posted by ocherdraco at 6:07 PM on May 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


The overall economy of the world is naturally absurd, but a lot of the complaints from that above link are picky for the sake of being picky coupled with, perhaps, a refusal to see the movie in any sort of symbolic or artistic light.

Like, the whole rant on resource distribution. I'm pretty sure our grim meathook future isn't going to look so splendid, but I assure you whatever order arises - just like most orders that have arisen - won't be based on STEM-wizard efficiency. Our OWN society isn't based on efficiency, except maybe to enrich the already powerful, and so having a elaborate breastmilk station while occasionally letting a little water trickle down to the unwashed masses below. Besides, you see all of 98 seconds of one-third of "this society" before everyone hits the road, and the man from Gastown indicates a non-trivial amount of recordkeeping and organization. Besides, most of the war boys aren't bulky as per his complaint anyway, they're scrawny as hell. For all we know, that source of protein the author is looking for are the aforementioned unwashed masses below. It might explain why they even keep them around instead of just murdering them all.

Also: It's pretty obvious why Furiosa is not a bride: it's because she's sterile. I mean, the warboy-made-good has nickname for his tumors. It doesn't take a great leap of imagination to figure that out... not that it's necessary. In fact, these complaints miss the whole idea of the movie. It's non-stop movement, non-stop tension, non-stop threat. It's a mad scramble to survive, and in that struggle everything else boils away. It's a story about trying to survive, and having some stupid expository scene explaining everyone's backstory and motivation and whatever would break the very flow that makes this movie such a great ride.

I mean, I don't know, I guess however you enjoy taking in cinema is alright in the end, but a lot of those complaints are pretty weaksauce. On the other hand, I couldn't help but notice all the times people grabbed running engines and exhaust pipes as just a thing you do, but that's probably because I burned the hell out of myself a couple of times as a child in a similar manner.

Of course, I'm being too harsh on the guy. I actually really liked the article, since he clearly liked the movie and I agree I'd like to know as much about this world as possible, but, you know.. fair is fair.
posted by absalom at 7:07 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Furiosa doesn't necessarily have to be sterile. It's quite possible her missing arm makes her damaged goods in Immortan Joe's eyes. He's so obsessed with perfection that that disability would likely disqualify her from the pool of Wives. Even if she lost it in a fight or to injury, I'd bet that's significant enough.

Or perhaps Joe just has the good sense to know what would happen if he got close enough to her.
posted by lilac girl at 7:39 PM on May 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


my personal fanon with Furiousa's backstory was that she was clearly a healthy girlchild, who after being abducted with her mother, was slated to be one of Immortan Joe's slavewives*. How far along that was, I'm not particularly fussed by (ie I can go with any reasonable setup in a fic on this), but at a crucial point she was seen to be unsuitable, either by something we don't have any obvious case for (eg being sterile) or by something that we do (eg losing an arm and thus no longer physically perfect). But to be a woman Imperator in a society that clearly diminished women to breeder+feeder roles, meant that she probably had to be extremely complicit in the system**. She could be, after discovering she was slated for another noxious role post-rejection, made the choice to survive and go for another position of relative strength ie truck driver/imperator. But she never forgot the Green Place and the Land of Many Mothers, and that probably was how the current batch of slavewives could successfully convince her to rescue them***.

*her final dialogue to Joe: "Remember me?"
**her to Max: "Redemption."
***Miss Giddy to Joe: "They asked her to take them!"
posted by cendawanita at 9:17 PM on May 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


speaking of the slavewives, my favourite is the Splendid Angharad. What a name; what a character.
posted by cendawanita at 9:25 PM on May 19, 2015




Sudden thought. What do you bet that the War Boys have Jaeger-style nicknames for their vehicles? You know they'd be good.
posted by brundlefly at 12:54 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


FanFare talk: Mad Max/George Miller movie club, anyone?
posted by ocherdraco at 5:15 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Furiosa doesn't necessarily have to be sterile. It's quite possible her missing arm makes her damaged goods in Immortan Joe's eyes.

That's certainly possible, but FWiW, the Mad Max issue of Entertainment Weekly confirms the sterility aspect of Furiosa's backstory.
posted by absalom at 5:22 AM on May 20, 2015


speaking of the slavewives, my favourite is the Splendid Angharad. What a name; what a character.

Oh of my favorite shots is when Splendid throws open the cab door and uses her body - held by the arms of the other women - to shield the vehicle and drivers. Her body has not been her own, her CHILD is not her own, but in that moment she takes back her own agency using the very things which entrapped her. The look on her face was amazing.
posted by Windigo at 6:47 AM on May 20, 2015 [33 favorites]


Also, question - am I right in remembering that not once was Furiosa called a bitch? It's a common thing for movie villains to say to a female protagonist. The villains only call her a traitor, right? None of the people in this movie use a character’s gender as an insult?
posted by Windigo at 6:49 AM on May 20, 2015 [42 favorites]


The look on her face was amazing.

The calm triumphant of "Fuck you, I know you can't do it".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 AM on May 20, 2015


Now that I've seen it, I'm surprised it took this long for this mashup to happen. Almost too on point.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:23 AM on May 20, 2015 [22 favorites]


Now that I've seen it, I'm surprised it took this long for this mashup to happen. Almost too on point.

This is the best thing!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:33 AM on May 20, 2015




A Tumblr user with the same disability as Furiosa describes seeing the movie.

Oh man. That made me well up.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:18 AM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow- I didn't even think of that, which (as the author points out) is why it's so awesome.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:12 PM on May 20, 2015


My response is kind of long-winded. Also I've probably read The White Goddess too many times: Crone Wars: on the mythology of Fury Road
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2015 [18 favorites]


A lot of the things that people are pointing to as inclusive storytelling are, to me, just what has been missing from action films since the franchise model overtook the market in the early 2000s (you could probably peg it to Pirates of the Caribbean, or close to that). I appreciate that they're serving as inclusive elements to the genre (which has been dominated by white dudes), but for me personally I just like the fact that it's effective storytelling.

That tumblr post from the user who is also missing an arm nails it: Furiosa has a missing limb. It's a part of her character that happened at some point prior to the story. It just is. There's no lore, there's no explanation, there's no talking where she mentions how she lost it in the Guzzoline Run Wars. It's just something that's a part of her, and that fits into what she does, but because it's become commonplace to her it's not part of what she says. People have complained about the sparse characterization in Fury Road, but I love it, because characters are defined by their actions rather than paragraph long monologues.

A lot of modern franchise films are loaded down with explanation, people saying why they're doing things, endless checklists of lore that have to be shown to set up the next movie. Fury Road is filled with people doing things. Fittingly, the things they are doing (driving spikey hell mobiles down wasteland highways) are clearly rendered and easy to follow. The language of the film works to tell the story, and occasionally the things that they are doing is talking to one another. I think that what this means is that the women in the film become action heroes simply by doing things (like driving, and shooting, and fighting) and because the action is central there's no need to diverge into explaining why those things are happening. There are hints, because they apparently spent a lot of time fleshing out the backstory of the world even if it was never directly used, but mostly we learn about the wasteland through what people do in it.

In short, it's refreshing to see an action film that is primarily people doing things instead of people talking.
posted by codacorolla at 2:02 PM on May 20, 2015 [35 favorites]


Already booking a second viewing! This film was just too deliciously awesome on so many levels not to see it again. A single viewing isn't enough!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:07 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]




A lot of modern franchise films are loaded down with explanation, people saying why they're doing things, endless checklists of lore that have to be shown to set up the next movie. Fury Road is filled with people doing things.

I'd love to see a dialogue-free cut of the movie. I think it would work better with Fury Road than with 95% of movies.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:18 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just saw it. I didn't have particularly high expectations for the movie, given that I had fairly little interest in watching a loud, over-stylized action clusterfuck that takes place in a car-based apocalyptic dystopia.

Wow, was I wrong.

I've never seen a film go so balls-to-the-wall crazy, make so many grand (and expensive) artistic gestures, and still remain perfectly coherent. Even though almost all of the action scenes took place as high-speed chases through the desert, I always felt like I had a good spatial understanding of the scene, which is increasingly rare in big-budget action films.

The art direction was amazing. A few of the set pieces looked like they were dreamed up by HR Giger.

There was some spectacularly bad CG lighting in some of the early outdoor scenes in the citadel. Not sure what that was all about.

Die Hard might still be my favorite action movie, if only because the (unwilling) protagonist is scared to death the entire time, which is a conceit that is missing from most action films. Fury Road might be a different kind of action movie -- one where the protagonist is an unabashed badass (to the point of being outright suicidal). Up until this point, I didn't believe that you could actually make a good movie with that formula.

Now I need to go back and watch the originals.
posted by schmod at 2:28 PM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Upon further introspection, I think that films work very well when they can take place in a confined or familiar environment. The War Rig is a very familiar setting by the end of the film.
posted by schmod at 2:36 PM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's almost like a film set on a ship, instead of on a truck. The Wasteland is just as inhospitable to humanity as the sea. If you got left behind out in the middle of nowhere, you'd be just as dead as if you'd walked a plank.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:14 PM on May 20, 2015 [17 favorites]


Kitty Stardust: My response is kind of long-winded. Also I've probably read The White Goddess too many times: Crone Wars: on the mythology of Fury Road

Holy crap. Nicely done!
posted by brundlefly at 3:44 PM on May 20, 2015


Also, it has apparently pissed off the MRAs.

Even though science has told us and proven, that men are physically stronger than women, it is nonetheless discarded by the forces driving this feminist nonsense.

Why u mad tho?

I want to see a prequel called Before Thunderdome with Nicki Minaj as Aunty Entity.

Oh you know Beyonce will call dibs on that role. Plus she'll release her own cover of "We Don't Need Another Hero."

Great movie but a couple of hours later I think my ears are still ringing.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:42 PM on May 20, 2015


How Mad Max: Fury Road could revive the world's fascination with Aussie slang.

I wanted to call myself a Doof Warrior when I came out of the movie, but I know a few doof warriors who might actually drag me to a rave.

And all the jokes I've been making about spraying my mouth with chrome paint and yelling fell really flat when I tried them on my girlfriend, who's seen lives ruined by it.

But a week later all I can think about is seeing Fury Road again.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:09 PM on May 20, 2015


We Are Not Things: Mad Max vs. Game Of Thrones
Rape in Westeros: What “Game of Thrones” could learn from “Mad Max: Fury Road”

We All Agree that Mad Max: Fury Road is Great. Here’s Why It’s Also Important.
Multiple reviews referred to the film as “thin.” I would disagree–first, Miller is telling a symbolic story, not a linear one. That story happens to be about war and its aftermath, slavery, the objectification of human beings, and PTSD. The medium he uses to tell this story happens to be an action movie, more specifically a car chase. However, an interesting underlying subtext of the film is how Miller takes our expectations and subverts them. We hear “action movie” and we think San Andreas. We hear “car chase” and we think Fast and the Furious. But what Miller does is practice a kind of pure action cinema. He treats a car chase movie as though it’s a 70s kung fu film, or 90s Hong Kong crime story. He’s telling a story essentially through action. When I said in my review that I thought Fury Road was one of the best films of the year, my reasoning was that it was one of the best films I’ve ever seen that took grief and trauma and, through the alchemy of George Miller’s kinetic action sequences, turned the healing process itself into an enjoyable movie.
Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy on the most dangerous stunt they did in Fury Road

Nearly Every Easter Egg and Reference Hidden in George Miller’s Film ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:45 PM on May 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


We hear “action movie” and we think San Andreas.

And we should! That movie looks stooooooooooooooooooooooooooooopid but I am going to go and see it and sit down with a big fuckin' box of milk duds and eat them and Mr. The Rock will be charming at me and Giamatti will chew scenery at me and I will smile chocolatey-toothed smiles until my brains leak out my ears as God smites the wicked and the sinless with equal opportunity. GET 'EM, GOD! SMASH! will be my last conscious thought.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:20 PM on May 20, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that the whole theater I was in laughed out loud during the trailer for San Andreas before Mad Max. The shot where she's running at the camera and away from the earthquake that seems to be chasing her? Comedy gold there.
posted by octothorpe at 5:49 AM on May 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh, I'll be at San Andreas opening day, no doubt. I only regret it isn't in Sensurround.
posted by maxsparber at 6:08 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another reason the film works so well, from the article in this month's American Cinemaphotographer:
Another of Miller’s idiosyncratic approaches to camerawork was the stipulation to center-frame actors in the crosshairs of the 2.40:1 widescreen frame. This, however, wasn’t Seale’s first experience with such an idea. “Quite early in my career I shot an episode of an Australian television program in which the director and I center-framed the actors’ eyes during a rapidly edited fight scene. The audiences’ eyes then didn’t have to find anything; the fight was just presented to them — bam, bam, bam,” says Seale, thumping the table with enthusiasm. “So I was most intrigued with George’s idea. It was hard on the operators at first. It’s so against the grain; whacking everything in the center and not worrying about what’s happening on the edges of frame is counter-intuitive. Early in principal photography, the operators would offer up a beautiful composition, only to hear George on the comms yelling, ‘Put the red dot on his nose, put the red dot on his nose!’ It was a great lesson, though, because as an operator, you have to always keep utmost in your mind what the essence of the shot is. What is the shot’s core moment? And George’s center-framing is all so the rapid pace of the editing unfolds with total clarity. My overarching belief as a cinematographer is that I am helping the director keep the audience in the film, and you both use all the tools of your trade to keep the audience with you.”
posted by Catblack at 9:49 AM on May 21, 2015 [24 favorites]


The most surprising thing about the San Andreas trailer that it doesn't sell me. And trust me Dwyane Johnson OR disaster movies OR basically anything where the Golden Gate Bridge gets it are usually enough to get me, if not immediately in the theater, very interested.

But the trailer has the opposite effect. I've seen it so many times and still can't figure out why.

(Sensurround would help though.)

But as for Fury Road, I appreciate that you weren't all totally overhyping it. I saw it last night and am ready to ride again at a moment's notice.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:52 AM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


I just got new glasses and am considering using that as an excuse to see Fury Road again.
posted by maxsparber at 10:03 AM on May 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


Whoa. I totally didn't notice the framing at all while watching the movie, but yeah... it's totally there, and now impossible to un-see. IMO, it explains why a few of the scenes were particularly jarring...

I'm actually pretty impressed they pulled it off without anybody noticing.
posted by schmod at 10:09 AM on May 21, 2015




From the tor article: "Miller is telling a symbolic story, not a linear one."

This is quite possibly the most linear story I've ever seen. They go east. Then they turn around and go west.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:16 AM on May 21, 2015 [27 favorites]


MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, As Reviewed By My 70-Year-Old Mother-In-Law

Worth reading, but let me pull out the best quote:
I don’t understand what those men Men’s Rights Activists are saying about Mad Max; that’s ridiculous. They should be proud at the way men were portrayed in this film. Max acted like a true man, he showed courage and strength. He held men’s standards very well, came in there like a true man and helped those in need. And they’re angry about the theme of men destroying the world and starting wars compared to women nurturing and rebuilding it, but that’s just a reality.
posted by schmod at 10:19 AM on May 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Related to that, the bolt cutters are an amazing recurring object. The whole idea of cutting the ties that bind is very strong throughout the movie, and related to the umbilical imagery that crops up again and again.

I liked that the attempts to get Max's muzzle off with the bolt cutters all failed. Furiosa eventually handed him a tool, but it was up to him to do the work of actually removing it. It's so gratifying (and all too rare) to see a filmmaker who actually speaks the language of symbolism.

I didn't have much hope for this movie when I first heard of it - I thought it would be another CGI wankfest with diminishing storytelling returns. But the more I heard about it - the feminist story, the practical effects - the more cautiously optimistic I was. This is the rare film that actually over-delivers. It's a day after I saw it and I'm still in the "HOLY CRAP!!!! HOLY... CRAP!!!!!!!" phase.

Charlize Theron is amazing in this. Absolutely believable. There was no doubt in my mind that she could do everything she did in this film.

I wasn't thrilled when I heard Tom Hardy was cast as Max. I haven't seen a lot of his performances but I've been kind of "meh" about him, and it was hard to imagine anyone not being eclipsed by a role so strongly associated with the actor who originated it. But he was fantastic as Max. He really seemed mad in the sense of mentally unstable, not just mad in the sense of angry.

I really hope this is as influential to cinema as The Road Warrior, except not just in the sense of genre - I want this to awaken Hollywood to the awareness that its anti-woman bias is foolish and full of shit.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2015 [17 favorites]


Oh, I also really liked this: When they make contact with the Many Mothers and the older women are skeptical about the men, Furiosa puts them at ease by telling them that these men are "reliable." That word choice was not an accident.

It's just another example of how great the screenwriting is, and how much depth and meaning can be conveyed with so little talking.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2015 [16 favorites]


Who is the Tom Hardy character in Fury Road though, really? (WARNING: Fan theory)

Nah. There's just no intention of strong continuity between films is all. Max is just Max.

If you want to impose some sort of strong continuity, everything after Mad Max are stories being told about Max, The Road Warrior, by people who are long chains of human connection and time away from actually having seen him (or having seen the non-Max that inspired their story). They're Australian Future Homer assembling The Road Iliad and The Guzzoline Odyssey from the already-myth stories lots of bands have about Max.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:51 AM on May 21, 2015 [32 favorites]


It's a fun theory, and I think it's something they could have possibly done if they really wanted to go out of their way to explain why Martin Riggs is Bane now, but it doesn't explain the leg brace or the one-shoulderpad jacket and most importantly yeah, just doesn't matter.
posted by doctornecessiter at 12:05 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


My friend was absolutely positive (hoping) that since Max doesn't say his name until the end, a moment might happen when Furiosa mentions her birth name....is actually Max.
posted by Windigo at 1:37 PM on May 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


What does "reliable" connote?
posted by Monochrome at 2:45 PM on May 21, 2015


To me, "reliable" connoted a lot. On the surface, it seems like damning with faint praise. Like, you can't think of any other way to compliment someone so you go with "reliable." But in the society Furiosa and the other women live in, "reliable" is a hell of a compliment. A man, who is able to be relied upon! When all the other men we see are, variously, a) a horrifying warlord who rapes women and other monstrous men, b) a mass of sickly, fanatical warboys whose only purpose is to die in battle, and c) assorted unfortunates scrabbling for water. Can any of these men be relied upon? Can women expect anything of them other than violence enacted against women and others?

It's a careful word choice. Furiosa could have used any number of other descriptors: good fighter, strong, brave, helpful, safe, whatever. But no, she chose reliable, and in that you can tell what she and the other women value. Reliable is not a quality at all associated with the destructive patriarchy of Immortan Joe, it's not a quality valued by the society of the Citadel as led by Joe. To say Max is reliable is to say he's not like those other men. He has proven that he can be relied upon.
posted by yasaman at 3:41 PM on May 21, 2015 [48 favorites]


I looked up the paragraph they tattooed on Max's back. One of the items is "heals fast", which supports some of the theories about him and his blood (which in his tattoo is designated "O-NEGATIVE HIGH OCTANE").

They describe him as a "full-life" as opposed to "half-lifes" like the war boys (who probably have or slowly develop some kind of leukemia). Maybe this means a normal person, or maybe it means something else.

Also, they actually spell it "guzzoline".
posted by vogon_poet at 4:12 PM on May 21, 2015 [10 favorites]




Yay I loved this movie! But boy was it silly. Great action flick, amazing production design, but then no attempt with the story to tell anything more. Which OK fine, it's good to make a fun movie and make it well. But the first Mad Max film and the second felt really important and novel, in the way District 8 was novel and important. This was just big budget action fun.

On the other tack, I think the comparisons to Snowpiercer are appropriate. Mostly how it's a weird sort of bottle story, propulsive action set in a constrained moving environment. Also how the script and plot doesn't really add up to anything very smart. But Snowpiercer hits us over the head with The Message, whereas Mad Max doesn't really have any message to convey. Both were big silly comic bookish presentations though. See also: 300.

I loved the sound mixing in the scenes featuring the ridiculous awesome guitar guy. The way you'd hear the guitar and war drums coming in from an angle, getting louder or quieter.

I also loved the aggressive use of color palette shaping. Particularly the nighttime scenes. I swear some of them were completely monochrome. Monochrome blue, not grey, but literally no hue variation at all. Striking effect and a bit of calm counterbalance to all the anger and red and explosions and bonegore.
posted by Nelson at 4:15 PM on May 21, 2015




My friend was absolutely positive (hoping) that since Max doesn't say his name until the end, a moment might happen when Furiosa mentions her birth name....is actually Max.

The very first words of the film are Hardy saying "My name is Max," so alas, that was never a possibility.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:41 PM on May 21, 2015


Mad Max doesn't really have any message to convey

I'd disagree. WE ARE NOT THINGS seemed like a pretty strong message to me.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:46 PM on May 21, 2015 [29 favorites]


ymmv corner: Why the Latest Mad Max Fan Theory is a Crock of Shit - Well, because continuity isn't the issue, much as with the Bond films. George Miller fills Fury Road with callbacks but not real easter eggs - the music box mechanism in Fury Road plays a different song than the one in The Road Warrior. They're echoing elements, not actual things that reoccur over the course of the narrative. The narrative is loose, mythical in nature.

This drives fanboys wild. They need to be able to connect every dot, to know how everything works, to open the unicorn up and look at every one of its entrails and kill the magic. They don't approach movies as art but as puzzles, and not just puzzles to be solved but puzzles to be bested. It's an attempt to prove superiority over the movie, to mount it and conquer it, to dominate it in a way they cannot dominate much else in real life. There's a refusal to submit to the world of the film, and a desire to outsmart it at every turn. They hate ambiguity - it needs to mathematically check out, because emotions are beneath them.

posted by cendawanita at 7:04 PM on May 21, 2015 [22 favorites]


Thank you! I'm sick of all this 'logic' and connecting all the dots. Mad Max works on myth logic, which is the best logic aside from dream logic (LOL IT'S ALL A DREAM). And I hate how every movie now is 'just a dream'.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:24 PM on May 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


But in the society Furiosa and the other women live in, "reliable" is a hell of a compliment. A man, who is able to be relied upon!

I agree with you that it's a hell of a compliment in the situation, but I think there's another equally strong connotation. The Vuvalini and Furiosa live in a desert, dependent on mechanical shit cobbled together from innumerable dead old cars. And sand is the worst for mechanical things (and for guns). If your gear doesn't work, you die (even in a modern desert, much less one filled with war boys etc). They will have spent a lifetime of dealing with guns that jam, cars that don't start - or more likely since they're still alive, they will have seen what happens to others when their guns jam and their cars don't start. That's an environment where reliability is one of the highest values; there are literally no other options, and it has to work every time.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:28 PM on May 21, 2015 [21 favorites]


Warning, avalanche of feels ahead: A fetal amputee blogs about the utter perfection that is Imperator Furiosa, action hero

I really hope she cosplays as Furiosa soon and posts lots of pictures.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:41 AM on May 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've never seen a movie that so perfectly encapsulated the idea of "show, don't tell". This is what happens when you strip out every line of dialog that doesn't immediately contribute to plot or character, and it's AMAZING.

Favorite minor detail: the skeleton arm painted on the driver-side door of Furiosa's war rig. Just perfection. Everything about this movie is the best.
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:24 AM on May 22, 2015 [34 favorites]


For all your warboy cosplay needs. Review section is already being invaded of course.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:25 PM on May 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Mario Kart: Fury Road
posted by nubs at 12:28 PM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


pst nubs your link is borked
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:29 PM on May 22, 2015


Darn it. Here it is.
posted by nubs at 12:35 PM on May 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Ha!
Will this product ensure my path to Valhalla? Do I need to be witnessed as well?

A: We cannot guarantee that this product with ensure your path to Valhalla. However, we can guarantee that it will make your desserts look really cool!
posted by ocherdraco at 12:40 PM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I went and saw this movie a second time today. Damn, it's even better a second time. I've truly never seen a film that combines a perfect blend of gobsmackingly amazing action and minimalistic art house film and, ya know, flaming crazy guitars.
posted by Windigo at 2:28 PM on May 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


From The Startling Humanism of Mad Max Fury Road:
In Max, we may read modern men in general, who were taught to fight and die and bleed for everyone else, uncomplainingly and alone, who were taught that women were weak, dependents to be “cherished” and protected—not equals who could fend for ourselves or fight side-by-side with them. But at some point in the late twentieth century, men somehow learned a different way of thinking about all that. What Miller is really doing is teaching men, not only women, how to rise above the patriarchy.
Aside from its feminism, I think Mad Max is a movie that's astonishingly thoughtful about masculinity and the construction thereof. Precious few popular media things really explore or interrogate masculinity in this way. Mad Max is an unabashedly feminist movie, sure, but I think it's maybe even better at being a movie that takes aim at toxic masculinity.

This was made incredibly clear to me when one of the trailers preceding my theater's showing of Mad Max was Southpaw, a trailer which appears to show the main character's wife being killed as a direct result of toxic masculinity, and then seems to spend the rest of its time entirely failing to acknowledge that and affirming toxic masculinity. I'm gonna have such high standards for action movies now that Mad Max has shown that you can have a balls to the wall action-packed orgy of crazy shit that does not perpetuate toxic masculinity and instead criticizes it.
posted by yasaman at 2:46 PM on May 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


Thanks for the replies to my criticism that the film doesn't have a message to convey. Between the comment about "show, don't tell", the excellent amputee blog link, and the power of the statement that women aren't property I realize I'm being too critical. I'm still a little disappointed that the message in the film is so simplistic, and told simplistically. But that doesn't make it any less important or powerful a message. Maybe moreso, really, and it's a better world where fun and creative action movies are also challenging the usual stupidity of violence fantasy action films.

While I'm still here posting I'll also throw out a link Anita Sarkeesian's tweets about Mad Max. I don't know if I agree with her definitions of feminism or her characterization of how this movie portrays violence, but I think it's a thoughtful critique she's made that is worth consideration.
posted by Nelson at 2:57 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


This was not one of the best action movies I've ever seen, this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. What a world, what a story, what characters, what emotion, what terror, what redemption. I will be thinking about this movie for a long, long time.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:08 PM on May 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


I mean, just the little mourning gesture the Many Mothers make. They grab something ineffable from the air and put it in their hearts. What does that say about them and their society? What does it say about their lives that they need to have a "mourning gesture" at all? Fuck I love this movie.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:13 PM on May 22, 2015 [23 favorites]




I'll also throw out a link Anita Sarkeesian's tweets about Mad Max.

It's a pet peeve of mine when someone takes the position that arguable thing is or is not feminism. There are so many facets to it, and when a public figure takes such a strong stand as The Authority on Feminism, it's one more way feminism gets pigeonholed, to its detriment.

My mother's feminism is not mine is not my nieces is not the suffragettes but we are all feminists.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:31 PM on May 22, 2015 [29 favorites]


I think this movie was definitely coming from a male perspective, just instead of the normal patriarchal male perspective, it's the perspective of a male feminist ally. (i.e. George Miller.) So I could see why someone told to expect an explicitly feminist movie would be very dissatisfied. I'm not sure a Hollywood action movie could be feminist in a way that would meet those political goals.

Although of all the political complaints I've read, they've all admitted they were sort of swept away during the movie itself. So score one for craft.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:12 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think there's a half-point in there, but yeah, no, you don't get to define this limited thing as the only real feminism. In fact, that is one of the things that I find impressive about the movie. It doesn't limit itself to one kind of feminism and feminine strength. It has women who shoot and drive, women who liberate other women by education, it has women who try to minimize violence and show compassion, it has women who both ferociously defend themselves and seek to revive the natural world, and it respects _all_ those women and their approaches.

I found it particularly irritating because there was someone burbling around in the replies about how *true* feminism is about pacifism and connection and how the wives should have worked with Joe. If your definition of feminist is limited to people who 'work with' their rapist and captor rather than escape and fight them, well fuck that.
posted by tavella at 7:53 PM on May 22, 2015 [26 favorites]


So while I was writing up my tl;dr Mad Max post for my personal journal, I had some further thoughts/emotions. My adoration of the scene where Max tells Furiosa his name cannot be textually rendered, but here is an attempt. Just--his almost baffled tenderness, the way he is giving her everything he has that is of any real value: his blood, his name, his tenderness. This movie did not need to have a romance, when it has a moment of such astonishing intimacy that's entirely unsexualized.
posted by yasaman at 9:20 AM on May 23, 2015 [45 favorites]


Warning, avalanche of feels ahead: A fetal amputee blogs about the utter perfection that is Imperator Furiosa, action hero

When I made my slightly flip comment upthread about Furiosa being a boon to amputee cosplayers, I was unprepared for the awesome emotional reality of it. That is wonderful.

She makes an excellent point that I hadn't considered: What if Furiosa didn't lose her left arm in the line of duty as a soldier? What if she never had it, and maybe more importantly, never needed it?
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:35 AM on May 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is Gavia Baker-Whitelaw's response to Anita Sarkeesian's tweets, and here's another article that (although not written in response to Sarkeesian) disputes her take on the camera's treatment of the women. Personally, I really disagree with Sarkeesian's tweets on the subject, for the reasons outlined in these links.

I also thought the earlier linked article about why the film isn't feminist was supremely unconvincing, badly written and demonstrated that the writer hadn't bothered thinking a lot of things through. (Sorry, the man of twists and turns.) For example, this line:
That no primitive patriarch in his right mind would ever choose these particular women as “breeders” to keep his colony alive is immediately apparent. One of them is so thin and pale as to be almost transparent and looks as if she’ll die in a photogenic way at any second. But she could step onto any catwalk during Fashion Week, no questions asked.
Where to even start? Immortan Joe is not a 'primitive patriarch'. The women's purpose is not 'to keep his colony alive'. He's the perfection-obsessed warlord of a postapocalyptic outpost that revolves around gasoline and battle, and he has plenty of other women for breeding and milk production, not to mention everyone at the bottom of the rocks. The five wives are his trophies, so obviously they are physically striking. (And it doesn't stop them taking an active role in their own destinies, anyway.) I just don't think the writer actually watched the movie.
posted by daisyk at 9:43 AM on May 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


yasaman, when I think of A Scene in Mad Max, that's the first one that comes to mind. It was really amazingly done. Even his awkward sort of grunting when he's trying to figure out something else to say and can't.

Plus, you could see his cop training at work in a way I didn't see earlier in the movie. (Around here a lot of the cops are EMTs and I guess that's what I'm thinking of.)
posted by small_ruminant at 9:44 AM on May 23, 2015


I can respect Anita Sarkeesian's stance on the link between feminism and pacifism, but where does that leave the jiu-jitsu suffragettes? Sisterhood is powerful!
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:44 AM on May 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Charlemagne, did you mean to link to this? Outlaw Vern -- Righteous Fury: In Praise of Peaceful Notions In Violent Movies
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


My impression was he was planning to breed the wives for long lived healthy 'prefect' offspring as opposed to the cancerous or otherwise 'imperfect' war boys and the other locals.
posted by biffa at 10:09 AM on May 23, 2015


Yeah I think the wives were supposed to be untainted breeding stock so as to try to breed children that are not half-lifes or otherwise genetically abnormal like Joe's sons Rictus Erectus and Corpus Colossus. I was uncomfortable with the male gaze camera stuff on their scantily clad bodies, particularly early on, but thinking on it now I think it was OK. They're given personalities and individual roles and the kick-ass Furiosa and Many Mothers scenes balance the sexy wet-tshirt scene out. Radically so, really, it's almost like Furiosa and the Mothers are a third gender. (For another take on pure women as icons of motherhood, see Children of Men).

Speaking of Corpus Colossus, he's Joe's son who stays back at the base and peers through telescopes. He is acted by Quentin Kenihan. I had to dig deep to find the actor or character's name or a still of him in costume. It's a small part, so fair enough, but it also felt a bit retrogressive to cast a little person as a way to give the bad guys some frisson. But good for Kenihan, he did a good job with the role he had to work with.
posted by Nelson at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


thanks for that link, Strange Interlude, there's some excellent critical thinking going on there.

quoted from the (mostly excellent) comments on that Righteous Fury link, which kind of sums up the whole concept of "when you're a hammer, everything's a nail" movie criticism some have applied to MMFR:
Old Man's Star War: "For the most part, I think those who are criticizing the scene of the wives washing off by the truck as catering to the “male gaze” are not looking at that scene with the eye of someone who is trying to understand that scene and why it is there (and honestly, maybe part of the blame for that comes from the fact that we no longer expect anything beyond the surface from action directors anymore, so when a George Miller comes a long and communicates huge amounts of character and world information in thirty seconds of footage it’s not something most people are attuned to).

To me, that scene breaks down like this: First, we’re coming off an extremely intense two sequences: the storm chase and Max savagely trying to free himself from Nux to no avail. From a mechanics of film construction standpoint, the audience needed a lighter moment to catch their breath, and Hardy’s momentarily baffled reaction when he stumbles across this bizarre and completely tonally dissonant scene was humorous at the exact moment we the audience needed a little humor.

Second, our expectation as the audience is IMMEDIATELY subverted. What Miller sets up to LOOK like a stereotypical action movie cheesecake scene turns out to be something quite different. You thought Max was ogling the women? Nope. You might have been, but Max wasn’t. He was ogling the wasted water, and we immediately know the priorities in this world: water is survival, and survival is everything. What you might have thought was important wasn’t what Max thinks is important.

In fact, survival has become such a singular impulse in this world that even a formerly good man like Max is entirely prepared to drive off and leave these women in the desert — he doesn’t have a change of heart and return, he only stops because Furiosa rigged the damned truck. This tells us even more without saying anything: Max is not a hero — not yet. In fact, he’s become not much better than the people he’s fleeing, and if he can steal your water and your gas and your vehicle to survive another day, he’ll do it. So this scene is not only telling us something about the world and its priorities, it’s also planting the starting marker for Max’s character arc with a bright banner saying “Max starts here.”

There’s so much world building and character building and story setup going on in that sequence that it does Miller a huge disservice when people simply dismiss it as “catering to the male gaze”. That says more about the critic’s expectations of the scene and less about what Miller is actually doing in the scene."
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:05 AM on May 23, 2015 [46 favorites]


Speaking of Corpus Colossus, he's Joe's son who stays back at the base and peers through telescopes. He is acted by Quentin Kenihan. I had to dig deep to find the actor or character's name or a still of him in costume. It's a small part, so fair enough, but it also felt a bit retrogressive to cast a little person as a way to give the bad guys some frisson. But good for Kenihan, he did a good job with the role he had to work with.

Corpus Colossus has the brain but not the body (although he was lucky to survive heart surgery in the post-apocalypse, there's a story there). Rictus Erectus has the body but not the brain. It's both a nod to Master Blaster from Thunderdome, and the explanation of why Immortan Joe has two living sons but still is obsessed with obtaining a "perfect" male heir from the Wives.
posted by sukeban at 11:36 AM on May 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


I watch, I sleep, I watch again. Popcorn me brother!

*sprays teeth and lips with butter topping*
posted by Mick at 3:07 PM on May 23, 2015 [54 favorites]


Laurie Penny, “Mad Max” Is A Feminist Playbook For Surviving Dystopia - "What might happen if women’s rights evaporate has been examined in nightmare detail. Mad Max: Fury Road offers a solution."
This film makes plain what other dystopias have already hinted at: The nightmare of environmental collapse is a double nightmare. The real horror is not the drought and the howling desert and the lack of Wi-Fi and sunscreen. The real horror is other human beings. The question is not how we’re going to survive the droughts, the floods, the dimming of the lights across the world. The question is: How will we survive each other?

The answer is that we will survive together.
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ – Eight Awesome Facts About the Making of the Film
A while after this talk, during a post-film reception, I spoke with Miller about his affinity for that black and white version of Fury Road. He said that he has demanded a black and white version of Fury Road for the blu-ray, and that version of the film will feature an option to hear just the isolated score as the only soundtrack — the purest and most stripped-down version of Fury Road you can imagine.
Mad Max: Fury Road B&W
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'd love to see a dialogue-free cut of the movie. I think it would work better with Fury Road than with 95% of movies.

There's a reason for that! From the man of twists and turns latest link, which I was just about to post, George Miller talking:
I used to live near a drive-in that was on top of a hill. Often going home I wouldn’t drive in, I’d park outside and watch the movies silent. And then I became obsessed with silent movies and realized that the basic syntax of film… Kevin Brownlow basically said that all film language is defined by the silent movies.
Everyone should also watch the B&W trailer. It looks amazing.
posted by asterix at 4:33 PM on May 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


Everyone should also watch the B&W trailer. It looks amazing.

Oh boy, you weren't kidding. That's really watchable.
posted by cashman at 5:50 PM on May 23, 2015


Ooo, I would pay good American dollars to see the black and white version in a theater. I really wish that Miller had resisted the temptation to push the color saturation up to eleven, I had such a hard time getting past the hideous colors to be able to enjoy the action.
posted by octothorpe at 7:14 AM on May 24, 2015


If you've got 25 bucks laying around, there may or may not be a book on Amazon with the Mad Max art and production shots that looks pretty fantastic. There's a video in one of the reviews.
posted by cashman at 9:47 AM on May 24, 2015


Do you mean The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein? Here's more info. The images shown in the IO9 article are concept art, but the Amazon reviews promise production and post-production images too.
posted by Nelson at 10:22 AM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hardy’s momentarily baffled reaction when he stumbles across this bizarre and completely tonally dissonant scene was humorous at the exact moment we the audience needed a little humor.

This scene reminded me strongly of Book 6 of the Odyssey, when Odysseus approaches Nausicaä and her women bathing and washing clothes in the river. He's very aware that the whole set-up is dangerous: he looks horrible after being washed up on shore and sleeping in the bushes, the women are wet and vulnerable, and he knows that the scene looks like your stereotypical rape scenario. So he has to be very, very diplomatic here and approach her with the same caution he used when facing any other danger (aided by a magical makeover by Athena).

So while Max is no Odysseus, this part of the movie still conveyed that tension, with both the audience and the characters very aware of the sexual violence narrative that might play out.

The parallels are not strong, but I am going to consider Furiosa a modern Athena from now on.
posted by bibliowench at 10:27 AM on May 24, 2015 [19 favorites]


Favorite minor detail: the skeleton arm painted on the driver-side door of Furiosa's war rig. Just perfection.

YES! I was just checking to see if anyone else had mentioned that.
posted by asterix at 10:30 AM on May 24, 2015


I think the ceremonial waste of scarce water and fossil fuel, for purposes of spectacle and political dominance, is not only "not realistic" but perfectly parallels contemporary Western life. Warrior Doof is a Superbowl Halftime Show taken to its logical conclusion.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:21 AM on May 24, 2015 [16 favorites]




I also thought the earlier linked article about why the film isn't feminist was supremely unconvincing, badly written and demonstrated that the writer hadn't bothered thinking a lot of things through. (Sorry, the man of twists and turns.) For example, this line:

Yep. Such a perfect example of some of the most tiresome shit on the internet right now, which amounts essentially to a shitty version of your fave is problematic. Basically "I'm going to explain badly why this thing everyone likes is no good just to be contrarian and get pageviews"

Fuckkk offffffffff
posted by emptythought at 2:03 PM on May 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


I am distantly related to Elvis. Thanks to this thread, I learned that I am even more distantly related to Doof Warrior.

BRB BUSY DUCT TAPING A GRILL LIGHTER TO MY STRAT
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:43 PM on May 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


Elvis the car or Elvis the singer? 'Cause the former was bought off some gearhead in Australia and used for Fury Road and the latter's granddaughter is one of the Wives.

"My dad's Lenny Kravitz".
"That's nice..."
How MRAs Killed the World
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:19 PM on May 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


fwiw Riley Keogh is not actually married to the Doof Warrior guy, but his stunt double (or at least one of the stuntmen in the production).
posted by cendawanita at 8:47 PM on May 24, 2015


Lexica: And come Halloween, I may do Furiosa this year. I wear my hair short anyway, and it grows out fast, so…

Damn, I might too.
posted by invitapriore at 12:17 AM on May 25, 2015


>I'd love to see a dialogue-free cut of the movie.

You'd miss out on the best line in the movie...

"MEDIOCRE!"
posted by Catblack at 12:20 AM on May 25, 2015 [14 favorites]


I was imagining that the dialogue free version would have silent movie inter-titles.
posted by octothorpe at 7:03 AM on May 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


Related to bibliowench's comment, I just found this blog post by a classics professor comparing those scenes in Fury Road and the Odyssey.
posted by daisyk at 7:27 AM on May 25, 2015 [13 favorites]


Just saw this and it was great but man, there are some plot holes. Like... auto grease? on your face? would probably cause breakouts, but her skin was perfectly clear. Anyway, a fun movie, but sort of unrealistic.
posted by desjardins at 4:21 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is that plot hole?
posted by kenko at 5:45 PM on May 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


ymmv corner followup: Fan Theories, Deep Reads And Second Guessing - If I had assumed the article would have gone much wider, I would have written it slightly differently. No, not less 'angry' - I still think that's funny. I would have explained my definitions of 'fan theories' better. I've been getting a lot of comments, here and on Twitter, from people who don't quite see where I'm coming from, so let's try to break it all down.

posted by cendawanita at 8:55 PM on May 25, 2015


Judging by that trailer, I'm so much more on board with the black and white version. Definitely should do a theatrical release of that and not just a blu-ray extra or whatever.
posted by dogwalker at 9:11 PM on May 25, 2015


If you liked Fury Road, check out DREDD.
The inevitable LEGO Mad Max.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:23 PM on May 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Regarding the male gaze on the wives -- I just saw the movie, so I may be incorrect, but I think that only happens when we first run across them in the desert. Then they start cutting off their chastity belts, and for each one, as the belt comes off, the camera abruptly changes its view and that's the end of the male gaze camera work. I thought it was a really powerful cinematic choice.
posted by KathrynT at 10:25 PM on May 25, 2015 [40 favorites]


Saw this yesterday. Well, almost all of it. I had to leave the theater before the ending, but I'm looking forward to going back to see the whole thing.

One thing that stands out in my mind is how poor the feeling of geography was, contrasting with the Road Warrior which had a very good sense of it. I was expecting more. I think it's important in movies that have chasing and shooting and this movie had a lot of it.

So there are some dumbnesses to the geography in MM:FR. I can forgive how the Skeletor Wasteland Castle Playset is within within sight of Gastown, directly down a straight-ass road. (THE Fury Road? Guzzoline Alley?). It was weird to see that after they made such a big deal of gearing up for a supply run. I mean jeez it's just fucking right over there, the bandit situation can't be that bad.

There was also an example of what I think of as a "Fangorn", where characters are surprised to see something that should have been obvious to them, but they can't see it until the reveal. They don't, like, crest a rise or come around a corner; the thing is right on top of them and would have been plain for them to see for a long time, but it's invisible because it's off screen. The characters somehow don't see it until just before the audience does. (To be a true Fangorn, it has to be something immense stretching across the whole horizon like a giant forest or sandstorm.) I think it's efficient visual storytelling, but also kinda lazy and bad.

But the lack of geography really wrecked the whole confrontation with the Bullet Farmer. The terrain was reduced to a tree-thing in flat dark emptiness. Everything else was gone. The BF was perpetually just kinda somewhere off-screen. Normally some sniping would motivate a sense of geography, but in this scene it really didn't at all. On top of that, shooting out the light and blinding the BF didn't seem to do much anyway. They were still charging right at the truck blasting it with bullets that could hit everywhere, with aim that might as well have been with full visibility. So there was a fakey peril of "WAH, WINCH, BULLETS, WINCH, BLAM BLAM, TREE LEANING MORRREE, WAAAGH", but then in the end the good guys pulled forward like two car lengths to absolute safety

(I think it would have been more fun as a submarine hunt type of scene. The goodies shoot out the searchlight, then try to avoid getting tracked by sound. The baddies' tank-car is faster, but they can't hear as well over their own engine. Maybe they try to use muzzle flashes to light the way, or ping by firing randomly and listening for a ricochet. They're pretty sure the solution is bullets. But it just helps the goodies evade them, then Max goes back to kill them off-screen the same as before..)
posted by nom de poop at 12:01 AM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Regarding the male gaze on the wives ... I think that only happens when we first run across them in the desert.

You're right, and as someone who brought up the male gaze thing here I appreciate your saying so. Reading and thinking on the film more I think that scene was set up precisely to explode our preconceptions about the damsel-in-distress trope. The audience is misled briefly, thinking these pretty young scantily clad women are going to be sexy "things" for the viewer to enjoy, or a plot device, or some other typical sexist nonsense. That gets shut down real fast by the rest of the movie. (I also love the Odysseus / Nausicaä connection.)

The more I think about this movie the more clever it seems. I think I need to see it a second time.
posted by Nelson at 6:53 AM on May 26, 2015


Just saw this and it was great but man, there are some plot holes. Like... auto grease? on your face? would probably cause breakouts, but her skin was perfectly clear. Anyway, a fun movie, but sort of unrealistic.

I assume it was to cut the glare.

I know Theron is a badass method actor, but I understand why she didn't want to force her forehead to break out for grease-related-realism. I mean, it's like having good teeth - everyone has good teeth, even if we're pretty much explicitly told everyone has bad teeth ("This one still has all her teeth!"). You just gotta roll with it.
posted by Windigo at 6:55 AM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I took myself on a date to see this in 3D last night (with fancy chocolate almonds and lime Perrier in my purse, like a total douchebag), and HOLY EXPLODING CHRISTFUCK. I'm still digesting it, but it definitely made an impact on me -- for a few weeks I've had this problem where the first thing that pops into my head upon waking is a problematic life thing that I don't want to be thinking about as soon as I'm conscious, but this morning I woke up thinking about Furiosa. And that was fine by me.
posted by palomar at 7:19 AM on May 26, 2015 [18 favorites]


I have nothing substantive to contribute to this discussion. My awe for this movie is such that I have stopped lurking. It is charred gristle that has made me approach the campfire of conversation.
posted by LegallyBread at 9:03 AM on May 26, 2015 [39 favorites]




Just saw this and it was great but man, there are some plot holes. Like... auto grease? on your face? would probably cause breakouts, but her skin was perfectly clear. Anyway, a fun movie, but sort of unrealistic.

I assume it was to cut the glare.


I think desjardins was being facetious--but possibly the replies to her motor oil comment are also facetious and now I'm the one who doesn't get the joke.

Likes this movie a lot more than I thought I would, precisely because it subverted all the things I thought would be standard tropes from what I know about action films.
posted by tyrantkitty at 10:37 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I need to see it a second time.

I think I might see it for a third time. I've never seen a newly released movie three times, but it's just too fun to pass up. And every time I watch it, I notice more things about it.
posted by FJT at 10:43 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


> Reading and thinking on the film more I think that scene was set up precisely to explode our preconceptions about the damsel-in-distress trope.

Same with Splendid's pregnancy. We're set up to see it as a liability, both by our familiarity with action movie tropes and by Fury Road itself -- Splendid complaining about a scratch after being grazed in the leg, or clutching her belly in pain while Furiosa tries to conclude the deal in the canyon. In another movie, her water would have broken during the monster truck sequence, her feminine vulnerability suddenly imperiling the heroes further. Instead, it's because she's pregnant that she saves Max and Furiosa. (And it's explicitly her action that saves them, not just her presence.)

When she's killed, we're set up for a "the mother died but the child lived" scene, and that gets subverted too. The whole audience knows what to expect -- a gory but necessary blade through the dying mother's belly, the surviving infant pulled from inside her -- but this time the scene is grotesque! The doctor may as well be a drooling butcher; the father, in his frenzy to possess the child (he literally grasps at the air) and know whether it's male, ignores the mother entirely while she breathes her last. Normally, ending such a scene with a swaddled baby posthumously gives the mother narrative purpose. Here, with the big bad himself explicitly disregarding the life of the mother in favor of her (not yet viable) unborn, a swaddled baby means that for all that she ran from them, the bad guys clawed what they wanted from Splendid and discarded her. I was relieved when they didn't get that win.

And, if I recall correctly, we never see Splendid's face after she's run over. The camera never lingers on her as a beautiful corpse -- she's just gone.

I've seen the movie twice now. Worth it.
posted by postcommunism at 11:37 AM on May 26, 2015 [37 favorites]


And then poor Rictus's howl of "I had a baby brother! And he was perfect!" One of the great emotional beats in the film.
posted by KathrynT at 11:40 AM on May 26, 2015 [17 favorites]


The movie illustrates the power of social media because I never would have gone to see it without a couple dozen people on Twitter haranguing encouraging me to do so. I like the occasional action movie but I would have thought this would be Too Much. But Too Much turned out to be Just Right. (Plus the theater served beer and is 7 blocks from my apartment!)
posted by desjardins at 11:41 AM on May 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


I finally saw it earlier.

What a day. What a lovely day.

In the morning I saw the Avengers movie, in the afternoon, Fury Road. A very interesting comparison. The Avengers film is probably the purest representation of classic Marvel comics (for good or bad) that we have, whereas I agree that this is the apotheosis so far of the 2000AD approach.

The Avengers film is a lot of fun, but Fury Road is a proper film for grown-ups. It made me think of Laurence of Arabia, although much faster, possibly because of the sand; my wife (who saw it last week and now we both want to go back and see it again, maybe in 3D) was reminded of Miyazaki, specifically Nausicaä, both the biker grannies and the fact that the green place has died.
posted by Grangousier at 1:21 PM on May 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


When it was over I realized my hands hurt a bit from all the clenching. Loved it, can't wait to see it again.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:59 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]




So, has anyone seen the latest Amazon reviews for Wilton's silver food spraypaint?
posted by cendawanita at 6:31 PM on May 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


Finally saw it and was impressed. One question...

What was up with the creepy Ring-style choppy movements of the war boys in the opening scene? Was it supposed to represent Max's mental and physical state or just a stylistic choice? Also, is there a term of art for this effect?
posted by mullacc at 6:33 PM on May 26, 2015


I agree with the idea that stylistically it's supposed to represent Max's survival mentality at that point (which gets dialed back as he becomes more human throughout the remainder of the film). I could be wrong, but I think this is from speeding up the frame rate? It's used at a number of other points throughout the film to similar effect: a heightened sense of action during a tense time.

Edit: it appears that the terminology is undercranking the film, referring to when cameras were hand cranked in order to control the frame rate. Overcranking results in slo-mo. Both are anachronistic terms now-a-days.
posted by codacorolla at 7:18 PM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I could be wrong, but I think this is from speeding up the frame rate?

Yep. Looked like it was shot normal speed and then sped up in post. Pretty common, but usually not for such long sequences and it's also typically smoothed over quite a bit more.
posted by dogwalker at 7:21 PM on May 26, 2015


I haven't listened to it yet, but Devin Farici did a Fury Road vs Mad Max 2 podcast.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:48 PM on May 26, 2015


I love how the pick-up with the camera derrick at 4:30 could easily be one of the war trucks.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:34 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, thinking about Nux - along with Max and Furiosa, his name is from Latin, meaning Nut (as in Nux Vomica, Poison Nut, from which strychnine is derived). It also means "a worthless thing".
posted by Grangousier at 5:45 AM on May 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


feministmadmax.tumblr.com. "hey girl: you can use my shoulder as a rifle stand, as you're the better shot of the two of us"

I'm still waiting for the canonical Tumblr of animated GIF clips. The pirates haven't produced a high quality copy yet so all we have online is clips from the trailers.
posted by Nelson at 7:51 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking of, someone on Twitter pointed out that the rifle stand thing was a gender swapped version of a famous part of the Clint Eastwood movie Two Mules for Sister Sara, which is just fucking delightful in so many ways.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:02 AM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


that choppy frame rate / frame drop style in the earlier sequences is cinematography shorthand for "shit be crazy / dude be trippin'" in film, pretty much. It's a deliberate choice to portray that whole tense, meth-addled feel for the earlier chase/capture scenes, and also alludes to Max, who is, as we see in the very first scene, "mad" in the sense of yeah, he's nuts, and not in a good way.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:52 AM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would love to see the bolt cutter be adopted a progressive symbol, this movie makes a good case for it.
posted by LegallyBread at 9:24 AM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Incidentally, thinking about Nux - along with Max and Furiosa, his name is from Latin, meaning Nut (as in Nux Vomica, Poison Nut, from which strychnine is derived). It also means "a worthless thing".

Huh. I assumed it was a corruption of NOx. Maybe it's both.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:30 AM on May 27, 2015


Post on twitter: Tom Hardy's expression on being asked if he was taken aback by all the women in the script.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:04 AM on May 27, 2015 [22 favorites]


Okay, that gave me the giggles.
posted by brundlefly at 1:34 PM on May 27, 2015


Was the silver paint supposed to be literal spray paint they huff or some sort of weird drug that just happens to make your face all silver?
posted by GuyZero at 2:37 PM on May 27, 2015


I may be a little too obsessed with this movie because I just started thinking about a relatively minor detail (thanks to this review discussing Furiosa's missing arm) and I can't stop thinking about it now.

Where did Furiosa's prosthetic arm come from? It's obviously miles and miles away from the technological level of any of the groups shown in the film. It's better than just about anything made today. Can be used effortlessly, has its own long-term power source, can just be popped on and stays on. Keeps running even after getting knocked around a lot. It's the one bit of "futuristic" science fiction tech in a movie that's otherwise full of junkyard relics.

Is it an indication that there's still civilization out there.. somewhere.. that produced it and it somehow ended up at the Citadel? Or is there a cache of advanced medical technology, full of things that still work? An old engineer, old enough to have lived when the world was still functioning, put it together for her out of old pentiums and cell phone batteries?
posted by honestcoyote at 3:00 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, I don't have too much trouble believing prosthetics improved in some areas, even as the world was sliding downhill, the nukes apparently didn't fly until after Road Warrior. And it's the kind of thing that one good engineer can work on. The spray paint being around seems far odder, as they are the product of sophisticated industrial processes, and I doubt the pressure would last the 40 or so years post-war that Miller pegs it as.
posted by tavella at 3:24 PM on May 27, 2015


It struck me today that the thing the bathing scene reminds me of is Windowlicker, but with the pregnant belly standing in for the face reveal.

Who would ever have thought I'd find an excuse to put those words together in that order?

And I'm sure the resemblance between Furiosa and Jill Layton is completely coincidental.
posted by Grangousier at 3:30 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


the whole chroming your face thing is apparently a real life problem among Australia's youth. it's another way of huffing paint. in the movie context it makes sense to ritualise the act of getting high before committing kamikaze-like acts (i mean, the warboys are called kamikrazee).
posted by cendawanita at 3:57 PM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Something which particularly captured my attention (among all the things mentioned above): The War Boys dedication/requirement of being witnessed. Such a fascinating detail, worthy of parsing out implications/origins. (Sadly, I don't know the origins and can only guess at implications myself)
posted by CrystalDave at 4:22 PM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I took my mom, who is 70+ and has worked most of her life at a women's health clinic that provides, among other services, abortions. She's seen protestors set the place on fire, bomb it with vomit smelling spray, chain themselves to the radiators, and openly film workers and patients. She is as old school feminist as they come, so I was very interested in her take.

She declared the movie 'awesome' and thanked me for taking her. My mom is the best.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:11 PM on May 27, 2015 [28 favorites]


I saw it again, and I think I'm starting to pick up on weird details too. Like, I think Toast (Kravitz) counts the bullets for the rifle and she says there are only four shots left, but the next time the rifle is used Max takes two shots and Furiosa uses the last bullet to hit the light, but that only accounts for three shots. Where's the 4th one?
posted by FJT at 5:58 PM on May 27, 2015


When she's killed, we're set up for a "the mother died but the child lived" scene, and that gets subverted too.

One thing I like is that from Immortan Joe's point of view, it was Splendid getting fridged. He is partially motivated by his man-pain, first he just wanted her back, now he wants revenge.
posted by nom de poop at 6:44 PM on May 27, 2015


Speaking of Splendid, where do her facial scars come from? Scarification is practised in this society, but 1. Splendid's scars look like random hatch marks, and 2. if she was shocked that she felt pain when the bullet grazed her calf, the scars couldn't have been carved into her face by Immortan Joe.
posted by peripathetic at 7:05 PM on May 27, 2015


I wondered too, but it could have been anything. A childhood accident. Punishment for a previous escape attempt (she was the most forward and driven of the group, certainly the mastermind in trying to get Furiosa to help them).

I didn't get that she was shocked to feel pain when grazed, just that she went deer-in-the-headlights for a moment because she was sorta shot at?
posted by Windigo at 7:23 PM on May 27, 2015


I just assumed that Furiosa lied about the number of bullets so there'd be one left after Max wasted the other three.
posted by ckape at 7:26 PM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ugh. Just ran across this on tumblr...so it appears the way the Men's Rights yahoos are NOW justifying the film since it's come out and is so brilliant that they want to claim it and subvert it so it fits their stupid worldview is this sort of thing.
posted by Windigo at 7:29 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I watched it again, and it's even better the second time. Two things I was thinking about,

One, is that Immortan Joe appears to believe in his own divinity, or at least the cosmology he has established. He's holding his holy grenade spear and muttering some sort of liturgy for Splendid in the scene where the convoy is heading back through the gap.

Two, is that Joe is arguably the most important of the three horsemen of the apocalypse. Bullets are nice, but staying put in the citadel is just as effective as raiding. Gasoline is more important still, but if you have a relatively self sustaining system and nearly infinite water, then you don't much have to worry about moving. The establishing shots of the citadel also show windmills churning, which would indicate that they don't even need Guzzoline for whatever their energy needs are. Water, however, is priceless, especially since the film establishes it as getting even scarcer (with the standing water of the green place going sour). That would explain why Joe was able to get the other warlords to go to battle for him - he's likely the top dog in terms of useful resources.
posted by codacorolla at 7:52 PM on May 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I keep having thoughts about this movie!

One thing I loved and found very unexpected about the C-section scene is that they did it after Splendid is dead. It would have been really . . . typical. . . to have that scene be the surgeon cutting into Splendid's belly while she is dying but still conscious and sensate, with the screaming and the blood and the pain as he lifts the wriggling but fatally premature baby into the light. It might even be defensible, held up as an illustration of just how much Joe cares about the doomed baby than the still-living woman.

But that's not what happened. No screams, no wriggling. No torture porn of anesthesia-less surgery. We didn't even see the baby. All we saw is the umbilical cord, twirled and snapped like a belt, highlighting the connection between Joe and Splendid. Miller had an opportunity to put a scene of hideous rapey pain (childbirth isn't sex, but it isn't totally unrelated to sex, either) in this movie and he clearly deliberately chose not to do it.
posted by KathrynT at 8:00 PM on May 27, 2015 [15 favorites]


I didn't get that she was shocked to feel pain when grazed, just that she went deer-in-the-headlights for a moment because she was sorta shot at?


But remember how when Furiousa reacted after enquiring after Splendid's leg? "Out here, everything hurts." which suggests to me that the Wives were isolated from a lot of the physical ugliness in the Citadel.
posted by peripathetic at 8:24 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do You Realize Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle? - this has been going around, though I personally, strongly feel a lot of his details are overstated and/or misunderstood the history of both the production and the WB's studio behaviour. But I'll agree with the headline. A long-gestating project like this has no business being so good, fresh and actually of its own -neither aping the trend nor clearly stuck in a past.
posted by cendawanita at 8:59 PM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do You Realize Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

More than anything else, I spent the movie saying to myself "THIS IS INSANE". Basically every shot is insane on four levels: Somebody thought of something insane to shoot. The insane thing makes sense and feels natural within the insane world. Somebody actually built the insane thing in the real world and did it. A Major Motion Picture Studio actually paid the bills for something this insane.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:36 PM on May 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


I had assumed that the Splendid Angharad's scarification was her way of marking something out - either days of captivity or (possibly more likely) nights she had had to spend with Joe.
posted by Grangousier at 12:18 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


So Max's last heroic act is to voluntarily nourish another with his blood. He becomes a symbolic mother.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:42 AM on May 28, 2015 [18 favorites]


Something which particularly captured my attention (among all the things mentioned above): The War Boys dedication/requirement of being witnessed.

I'm right there with you -- the War Boys' culture absolutely fascinated me. So much amazing worldbuilding, so much showing, so little telling.

I've only seen the movie once at this point, but among my favorite parts was Nux witnessing the War Boy who double-grenade-spear kamikazi'd into the spiky desert nomad attack car. At that moment in time, Nux was on a mission to stop (with deadly force, if necessary) the occupants of the War Rig. Despite that, he basically stopped worrying about attacking and was absolutely exhilarated at being able to bear witness to this War Boy, even if they were on opposite sides as far as he knew.

I don't know why, but there was something really deeply moving and interesting about that level of dedication. I think that it's bits like that which really make the world the movie inhabits feel so amazingly real and lived-in.
posted by tocts at 6:53 AM on May 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


There's an argument that Nux is the real protagonist of the movie, that his character comes the farthest and has the most heroic ending. But the film doesn't really do that. I think it's the way Nux is so passive and cringing. He acts like a puppy whose owner kicks him every day.

On the four bullets thing, I'm pretty sure they're all counted for but will have to watch again to be sure. My memory is the first bullet is used almost immediately, then much later Max uses two and misses and Furiosa takes the last shot.

Shiny and Chrome.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2015


On the four bullets thing, I'm pretty sure they're all counted for but will have to watch again to be sure. My memory is the first bullet is used almost immediately, then much later Max uses two and misses and Furiosa takes the last shot.

I think the first of the four bullets might have been used when Furiosa takes out the motorcyclist that Cheedo was trying to run to after Splendid's death. Can't remember though if that happened before Toast's bullet count.
posted by risingphoenix at 8:21 AM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was thinking about the field surgery moment at the end of the film. It's another example of a pretty common action film trope that is radically re-imagined here. There's a long tradition of heroes getting beaten to near death and then taking time for recovery -- it's very common in Clint Eastwood films, but you also see it in films like Mark Wahlberg's Shooter.

But it almost always comes just before the climax, and it's always the hero that has been injured, and they either fix themselves or their sidekick nurses them back to health so they can finally face down the big bad at the end of the story.

Here, it's Furiosa that's injured -- more evidence that she's the actual hero of this movie. And it happens after the climax, rather than leading up to it, as though narratively George Miller is saying "the story doesn't end with the killing of Immortan Joe." And that usually is the climax of an action film -- the villain dies, and the story ends. I mean, there's actually several of these in Die Hard, but there's no sense that the film ends at the start of a new story of any significance.

But after Furiosa's near-death, she literally takes charge of an entire desert city, and there's obviously a story that will sprawl forward from here. The film doesn't climax in death, but in new life, as water is given to the thirsty and heirloom seeds find a place where they can grow.

And I feel like the importance of this, and Furiosa's role in this, is signaled by the placement of the field surgery scene, and the fact that it is the ostensible hero who is tending to the ostensible sidekick, rather than the other way around.
posted by maxsparber at 8:30 AM on May 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


I said this in another thread, but: this is the first film I've seen since Pride that had me leaving the theater more elated than exhausted. It's visually gorgeous, strokes all the hidden WH40K places in my heart, and subverts and subverts until I stopped seeing tropes and just saw characters and action, all delivered with a huge economy of speech. It's like a symphony of rage and loss.

And maybe that's what I took away most from a first viewing -- broken people in a broken world, the Warlords have chosen to ruin everything, to embrace the apocalypse of lies and patriarchal religion and the Capitalist insistence on owning everything that can be owned and exploiting to desert anything that can't. And the painful clawing of other broken people, first to refuge (which is long gone), and then back to the cruel hard work of building and growing in a world that wants to own and ruin.

It left me breathless and joyful, like the sight of the banners at the end of Pride.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:30 AM on May 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


On a lighter note, I kind of wonder if Joe isn't just a guy driven around the bend by sleep apnea. I know that, after a couple of weeks of no sleep, I'd probably try to rule over a ruined wasteland with a hateful fist, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:33 AM on May 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


He's got a CPAP machine!
posted by maxsparber at 8:37 AM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine trying to sleep in that thing? Besides, it probably has sand in it all the time.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:46 AM on May 28, 2015


(Immortan Joe wakes, tears his headmask off, shakes sand out of it.)

MEDIOCRE!
posted by maxsparber at 8:48 AM on May 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


strokes all the hidden WH40K places in my heart

Yes! I was thinking during the film that the warboys (which is surely spelt warboyz) are basically ork Speedfreekz.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:47 AM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wonder whether the way the protagonists work isn't different from what we've come to expect from Hollywood action movies. On the one hand, Furiosa is without doubt the driving force of the plot (no pun intended), and it's her story that Max wanders into. On the other hand, her story without Max ends in failure and ignominious death somewhere in the Salt flats. Max isn't the kind of hero who wanders in and saves the day, but through him we are integrated into groups involved in a struggle to escape.

The series has his name on it not so much because he's the primary character in all the stories (though he has been so far), but because he's the consistent window into the worlds of the different films. The series title is also separate from the character: Mad Max = Total Insanity.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the way that characters bring very obvious marks of the life they've lived (often disabling in some way) to the film - Max's caliper; Furiosa's missing forearm; Angharad's scarification. The characters don't come to the film fully formed, but are the results of processes that we don't see other than those marks. Even, it has to be said, Joe.
posted by Grangousier at 9:48 AM on May 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


And grenades on a lance are an actual WH40k weapon.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:48 AM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


a review from Jacobin

can't say i agree with much of it, but i wanted to share it since this has become quite the thread of fury road links
posted by kokaku at 10:45 AM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Huh, I read the film almost the opposite from the Jacobin article. Rather than being primitive, pre-Capitalist Others, I saw the Warlords as the last Capitalist gasp, representing military power, resource exploitation, and industrial manufacturing in a world ground down to the dregs by that very ethos. Furthermore, I would say that the Wives (and, to a lesser degree, the Warboys) represent the exploitation of youth and inexperience so necessary to the Capitalist process. It may be that they are "deserving of our attention (as movie goers)" because they are young and attractive, in contrast to the hordes of disfigured and wretched that fill and surround the Citadel, but as characters in their world, they are only valued for that attractiveness (and their wombs for the Wives and their vigor for the Warboys), qualities which the Warlords will extract from them the way minerals are extracted from the ground or surplus value is extracted from the Workers.

In contrast to the Ethos of Exploitation, the "rebellious characters," although damaged, are struggling (with multiple starts and stops) to collectively produce something of value and, we may hope, renew the world.

It's worth noting that the Wives and Warboys are essentially markers of selfishness -- the Wives for Joe's consumption of their youth and fertility, and the Warboys who fight for the hope of dying gloriously for a grand afterlife. The Wives (and Nux) sacrifice for each other in direct defiance of this exploitation and selfishness, and Max and Furiosa both abandon (at least briefly) their own tormented (yet comforting) self-images to put the needs of others ahead of themselves.

I suggest that the film is less about Orientalism and Primitivism and more about the mad leap into unchacy cooperation in defiance of the certainty of exploitation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:22 AM on May 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


Something I really loved about this movie is how the "Chekov's Gun" principle is in full effect. Every single item that you see on screen becomes useful and/or plot relevant, even the Doof Warrior's guitar. There's an amazing economy of props and imagery.
posted by capricorn at 12:45 PM on May 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


A good friend of mine wrote a pretty critical post about the film, but I'm hard-pressed to find it unfair.
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:03 PM on May 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


That's a great post, Sokka shot first, thank you for saying. Way more detail on something I was trying to say earlier, that mixing up "bad evil monster people" with "people born with developmental abnormalities" is problematic. Only way smarter and more detail than I could manage.
posted by Nelson at 2:06 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why do you think they're bad evil monster people?
posted by Grangousier at 2:24 PM on May 28, 2015


Sokka shot first, good read and I agree with a lot of it - there's definitely a freakshow-esque tie being made between disabilities and "grotesque"-ness, especially with Corpus Colossus and Immortan Joe, the way the camera lingers on them and lets their bodies be one of the images that introduce us to the (what we are meant to perceive as) bizarre, strange quality of the dystopian world. I think what it does miss is that all the characters have disabilities (not the wives, which is intentional, and maybe not the Vuvalini, though it's hard to tell). It's not just Furiosa. Max is dealing with a mental disorder and a physical disability as well. It's about how what we would think of as "healthy" bodies are just not a reality in the world of MM:FR, which is why the Five Wives are treated as a precious commodity.

I have to tell myself that it's coincidental, in striving to show that Joe is a rapist monster, that the movie is saying Joe is monstrous for wanting a healthy child.

I would say that Joe and Rictus' grief over the stillborn baby was a humanizing moment for them, myself...
posted by capricorn at 2:32 PM on May 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Eh though, I will say I would have liked to also see some of the milking slaves escaping in the War Rig with Furiosa at the beginning. It would just reinforce the point about the commodification of female bodies and not just the Victoria's Secret model ones.
posted by capricorn at 2:34 PM on May 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've now seen Mad Max: Fury Road twice. It holds up to a second viewing.
posted by zippy at 3:42 PM on May 28, 2015


That Jacobin review lost me from its opening paragraph, but I guess I'll persevere through. (naturally my marxist friends thought it's a useful link to tag me on facebook with)
posted by cendawanita at 6:10 PM on May 28, 2015


I just want to note, for the permanent record, that as of 7:00 PM MDT on May 28, 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road is the #30 ranked movie on IMDB. The #31 ranked movie is also set in a desert, involves smuggling people to freedom and looks good in black and white.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:13 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


It gets a lot of basic stuff wrong, principally in how Joe's organization is depicted, so much so that it seemed like the author went in already knowing what they wanted to write.
posted by codacorolla at 6:58 PM on May 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


It gets a lot of basic stuff wrong

I've noticed that about a lot of the reviews/analysis I've read, sometimes in ways that matter and sometimes not. For example, I read something that claimed that Nux's chest scarification is in the pattern of a circuit board. To my eye, it's pretty clearly in the shape of a V8. This is not a movie centered around computer technology (do any computers appear? I don't think so), its orienting theme is cars.

Similarly, "Five women who look like Victoria's Secret models could never produce that much milk" (these were the most-prized "wives"; the Milk Mothers produced the milk) and "Nux was an albino" (no). There are other examples, but they're not coming to mind at the moment.
posted by Lexica at 7:35 PM on May 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


this one: 'Max’s cycle is complete when, after Furiosa has killed Joe, he triumphantly returns to turn on the water for the masses.'

.... bro.
posted by cendawanita at 8:07 PM on May 28, 2015 [17 favorites]


After thinking about it, the wives as waif-like super models makes sense. If you're a woman locked in a vault being routinely raped with the purpose of being impregnated, what would you do? What do you have power over? Food.

So, perhaps the wives were a few pounds heavier upon capture, but I could really see them starving themselves in both protest and as an attempt to lose enough weight to make impregnation all but impossible. With Ms. Giddy's aid, they could get away with losing an extreme amount of weight without management catching on and force feeding them. It could be that when this ploy didn't pan out with Splendid and finally with Dag, that they approached Furiosa through Ms. Giddy.
posted by risingphoenix at 8:28 PM on May 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


this one: 'Max’s cycle is complete when, after Furiosa has killed Joe, he triumphantly returns to turn on the water for the masses.'

.... bro.


Oh FFS. In counterpoint, from Twitter:
DID YOU NOTICE HOW FAT WOMEN SAVED THE WORLD? ME TOO.
DID YOU NOTICE HOW FAT WOMEN DRENCHED THE WORLD IN LIFE? ME TOO.

And whoa… thank you for that idea, risingphoenix, it's not something I would have thought of but definitely makes sense.
posted by Lexica at 9:16 PM on May 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


Apparently the art book says that Angarhad's scars are in fact self-inflicted -- rebellion via marking up Joe's "property". So other kinds of self-harm also seem possible, and it also may be that Joe, being an adult pre-war, still has models as his standard for beauty.
posted by tavella at 11:08 PM on May 28, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh wow, this detail from that link clears a lot up:

The five women we meet are in no way his first wives. He has been a slaver-polygamist for a long time, giving each wife three chances to produce a healthy heir before he divorces them and sends them out among the Wretched. Until Splendid, there was no ‘success.’
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:14 PM on May 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


The five women we meet are in no way his first wives. He has been a slaver-polygamist for a long time, giving each wife three chances to produce a healthy heir before he divorces them and sends them out among the Wretched. Until Splendid, there was no ‘success.’

But he had a son, didn't he? The guy who said he had a brother.
posted by jeather at 5:55 AM on May 29, 2015


Both of the living sons were deemed insufficient, I think. Hence the "I had a baby brother and he was perfect"
posted by rmd1023 at 6:07 AM on May 29, 2015


Both of the living sons were deemed insufficient, I think. Hence the "I had a baby brother and he was perfect"

yeah, this. I think it was laid out above but it's a huge complicated thread. Both Corpus Colossus (the dude with the telescope) and Humungus are brothers, but both are flawed - one has the brains but not the body, the other is the body without the brains.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:02 AM on May 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Saw this last night, at the absolute last showing at the theatre in town. So glad I got to see it on the big screen!

Loved the little glimpses of the societal, religious, military, and medical systems of the citadel. So glad we didn't have a scene where Max says (to a fellow prisoner?) "What's this all about then, eh?" followed by a lengthy explanation. Or worse yet, a pointless expository speech by Joe to a crowd who is presumably living it.

I kinda feel like re-watching The Postman because now I'm wondering if you could cut a shitload of dialog and somehow save it.
posted by ODiV at 8:01 AM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cross posted to both threads because OH MY GOD (creepy as hell Doof Warrior backstory):



"The back story iOTA got for the character explains Coma’s distinctive mask. “It was made from his mother’s face. He was brought up by his mother; she was a musician and he had a happy upbringing.” Then Coma and his mother were attacked. She was dragged away and, days later, someone dropped her head in Coma’s lap. The immortan found Coma clinging to the head of his dead mother, which the Immortan made into a mask for his battle singer, so that, iOTA says, “He exacts revenge on the world with his mother’s screaming face on.”
posted by Windigo at 9:53 AM on May 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


I found an article I like very much and I wanted to give it a shout out. Mad Max: Beyond Patriarchy - On Fury Road's Visual Rhetoric and Apocalyptic Social Rebirth
posted by stoneegg21 at 12:46 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also really liked a few things no one has commented on. When Furiosa first gets to the Many Mothers she has an entire spiel on how she's related. You can get the idea that she's been reminding herself of these things for a while, imagining what it would be like to go home. But when she talks about her mother's death, everyone makes a little 'in my heart' gesture. She doesn't do it until she sees them do the gesture, and even then she's hesitant. She's forgotten her own culture.

Also, I didn't notice until the second time that when Cheedo crawls over to Rictus it's to distract Rictus from seeing Furiosa. I thought she'd given up again. I adore that.
posted by stoneegg21 at 12:53 PM on May 29, 2015 [18 favorites]


Nux loves everybody! (Fanart by Faith Erin Hicks)

Also: Claire Hummel's Furiosa. Team Mom and Dad by Diigii. Another Furiosa, by Tiny Snails. Taking the kids out, by Joanne Kwan.

No, you spent Friday night looking up fanart to post on Fanfare.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:18 PM on May 29, 2015 [15 favorites]


omg pregnant Splendid eating a burger 😍
posted by catch as catch can at 4:24 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


EndsOfInvention: I love how the pick-up with the camera derrick at 4:30 could easily be one of the war trucks.

I've never been interested enough in any movie to intentionally watch Behind The Scenes stuff or b-roll, I enjoy movies on their face too much to want to see behind the curtain, but Mad Max has changed this.

I have enthusiastically watched this 20 minute b-roll footage and loved it. I think I might buy that Art of MM book! This fanart delights me and I want to see more!

What have you done to me, George Miller?? (Do it again!)
posted by pseudonymph at 7:26 PM on May 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


For the record:

Just as amazing the third time. This was the viewing where I had NOPE NOPE NOPE UGLY FACE EMOTIONS through half the film. Ugh, god, the performances.

MAX. MY NAME IS MAX. THATS MY NAME.
posted by Windigo at 8:26 PM on May 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


Re: art for the film. This is my favorite.
posted by Windigo at 8:28 PM on May 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


But when she talks about her mother's death, everyone makes a little 'in my heart' gesture.

At the end, when Nux realizes he is not going to make it to the other vehicle and he's staring at Capable, he whispers 'Witness me.' Capable makes that hand gesture back at him.
posted by Windigo at 8:29 PM on May 29, 2015 [20 favorites]


I noticed this time that there's also a grand piano in the Wive's cell.

When Max jumps onto the hook at the beginning, the doors he slams open are old ambulance doors.

Remember the double-decker transport vehicle that was carrying a couple dozen war boys at the beginning? At the end you see it again, sans war boys. It now is carrying all the destroyed cars from earlier, presumably to bring them back to the Citadel to be rebuilt.
posted by Windigo at 8:34 PM on May 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


Because apparently I can't stop posting:

A scene shown as it's being filmed vs the final cinematic version
posted by Windigo at 8:51 PM on May 29, 2015 [1 favorite]




Star Wars... The Matrix... Fury Road.
Star Wars created a new universe and ignited imaginations with practical sets and effects.
The Matrix started a new generation of storytelling with computer-generated effects, although it was still in the infancy stage. It pushed the boundaries yet was still restrained because it was so new.
Now, after years of "just make it CG!" effects (made by talented people, but let's face it, you always think "yep, that's CG"), we have a movie that knows how to mix the two to the fullest potential. To keep the audience engaged (and inspire awe), practical should always be the first choice, not CG.
posted by starman at 5:18 AM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've never been interested enough in any movie to intentionally watch Behind The Scenes stuff or b-roll, I enjoy movies on their face too much to want to see behind the curtain, but Mad Max has changed this.

I have enthusiastically watched this 20 minute b-roll footage and loved it. I think I might buy that Art of MM book! This fanart delights me and I want to see more!


I bought it. It's wonderful. Beautiful to look at and so many tidbits of information.

Even more minor characters get their due. Like Ms Giddy. Her tattoos! It's all history. The older people realize the importance of recording history. Since there is very little paper left they tattoo themselves. The book even talks about what they use to do it.
posted by Jalliah at 5:52 AM on May 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


What I've been thinking about recently - and the astonishing thing about this film is the sheer number and diversity of things to think about - is the way that every character and every object has a story, and a history. This is explicit in their bodies, a lot of the time. The narrative of the film brings all these stories together and shakes them all up. At the ending there's a situation of tremendous ambiguity, because the way the stories - the destinies and fates of the characters - have been shaken up means that it's impossible to tell what will happen next, everything is open, but all sorts of things are possible in a way they've not been for a long time. I'm assuming that Corpus Colossus (the only Citadel authority figure left, I think) recognises that Gloriosa is the only person who has the authority to take over from the Immortan. We know that she has the intention to be a just person, but perhaps the Immortan started that way, too.

We don't know what will happen next, we just know that it could be different. The uncertainty is what we can derive hope from.
posted by Grangousier at 8:06 AM on May 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


What (almost) everybody else said. Amazing. What can I add?

How about The Milk Mothers?
A lot of people seem to be particularly WTF-ing over the breast milk machines, but I thought it was quite a clever little piece of post-apocolyptic evil religious symbolism.
Immortan Joe, while only having a couple of 'imperfect' (in his view) sons (and he only cares about sons, obviously), is the spiritual Father of every one of the War Boys, War Pups, Wives (ewww!) and members of the citadel.
They are his children and he provides them with the *anonymised* many mothers milk, because simultaneously, he is minimising the role of actual women and the real mothers in his 'spiritual parenthood', to that of cows, and animal milking machines.
He is the Father, while women/mothers are literally interchangeable and worthless, but what they provide, what he takes from them and gives to others, is still symbolically nurturing. He is the only source of that nurturing, and the only source of your redemption...

At least until women literally reclaim themselves, their ability to nourish and choice who to nurture.
And in the final scene? Those milk mothers CHOOSE to symbolically and literally nourish the world.
THEY are the ones to free the water.

Phenomenal.
posted by Elysum at 8:23 AM on May 30, 2015 [23 favorites]


(Furiosa, obviously, not Gloriosa.)
posted by Grangousier at 11:01 AM on May 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just realized Nux never knew 'Bloodbag's' name. That makes me sad for some reason.
posted by Windigo at 2:05 PM on May 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


From the visual effects article Bangaioh linked:
“George pays an enormous amount of attention to the audience’s point of view,” says Jackson. “He calls it ‘eye scan’ - you have to be very aware which part of the frame the audience’s eyes are focused on in terms of the last frame of one shot and the first frame of the next shot. He’ll make sure that the relevant piece of the frame that you should be looking at is in the same place, so that you don’t use the first three or four frames to find where you’re supposed to be looking at. You’re already in the right spot. We did a lot of blowing up and racking and re-positioning within the frame to make that work. It’s absolute testament to that technique that those very fast sequences are easy to watch, and you don’t get lost. You do have a sense of wow that was crazy but I know what’s going on.”
Oh, George Miller, I love you.

Also, on the topic of practical effects vs. CGI, Brianna Wu was tweeting about how much she appreciated seeing a movie with really good practical effects, and some bozo got up in her mentions about how he worked in CGI and her comments were devaluing what he and other CGI artists do… I really had to invoke my do not get into arguments on Twitter rule to avoid replying "So what? So this is what you do, so what? Obviously some of us don't think that y'all do a very good job of it, or we wouldn't prefer the real thing to what you do!"

Argh. I read an article fairly recently (don't remember where) by a CGI artist about why so much CGI sucks (not properly respecting mass, forgetting that there's supposed to be a virtual camera, stuff like that) which really reinforced my opinion that Miller et al. did it right — use the CGI for things like erasing wires and safety equipment, enhancing explosions, adding background, etc. But my monkey-brain knows pretty well what bodies, water, and fire look like in motion, and your computer probably can't match reality. (Although the point in the visual effects article about how they had to change the bodies flying through the air in the lightning-haboob was very interesting — movies have trained our brains to expect something that doesn't actually accord with physics.)
posted by Lexica at 3:39 PM on May 30, 2015 [14 favorites]


2 hour presentation by the cinematographers:
Making of Mad Max: Fury Road from ACS Victoria with John Seale ACS ASC and David Burr ACS
posted by Bangaioh at 4:23 PM on May 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Finally saw it last night with some friends. After the movie, one of them remarked about Max trying to set some group up to re-kindle civilization, and isn't he getting tired of it by now, this being the third time.

But thinking on it, it hit me that part of the reason these movies are so mythic is because they are (future) myth. Road Warrior/MM2 was a story told by the now-grown Feral Kid. Thunderdome was told by Savannah Nix of the rescued kids.

Sometime after civilization has rekindled, I like to think different groups met up realized many of them had in common stories of a man named Max who helped them in their darkest hour.

Fury Road does not end this way. We do see Max slipping off into the crowd and Furiosa watching him go, but no voiceover/storyteller. I hope that the reason is that George Miller is not yet done telling the Max & Furiosa story, and the shift to storyteller will happen in a later sequel.
posted by fings at 5:40 PM on May 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, on the topic of practical effects vs. CGI, Brianna Wu was tweeting about how much she appreciated seeing a movie with really good practical effects, and some bozo got up in her mentions about how he worked in CGI and her comments were devaluing what he and other CGI artists do… I really had to invoke my do not get into arguments on Twitter rule to avoid replying "So what? So this is what you do, so what? Obviously some of us don't think that y'all do a very good job of it, or we wouldn't prefer the real thing to what you do!"

To me it's not so much that they don't do a good job, although obviously that's the case sometimes. It's that CG and practical effects are tools that are suited to different things and have various benefits and drawbacks. Some people have this "all I have is a hammer" vibe when it comes to the use of CG, which is a bummer, but I don't think that means CG is bad. Look at Jurassic Park: a perfect mixture of practical and CG and it's barely aged a day.
posted by brundlefly at 6:32 PM on May 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Whoa. I was just looking at this photo of Furiosa and had a thought that blew my mind.

You see the fringe of chain dangling down in front of her belt? That looks like a reference to the neolithic string skirt that is the earliest known example we have of clothing.

Interestingly, the string skirt was originally an indicator of fertility. Perhaps Furiosa was lucky to have lost an arm and therefore become "imperfect" and so not a suitable candidate for breeding.
posted by Lexica at 8:47 PM on May 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


Argh. I read an article fairly recently (don't remember where) by a CGI artist about why so much CGI sucks (not properly respecting mass, forgetting that there's supposed to be a virtual camera, stuff like that)

6 Reasons Modern Movie CGI Looks Surprisingly Crappy
posted by sukeban at 1:28 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's some spot-on stuff in that piece, however there's this:

The original Jurassic Park spent minutes on the Tyrannosaurus' approach. When we finally see it, we spend another several minutes on the thunderous horror of a dinosaur tearing a jeep apart as it frantically tries to eat all of the characters on-screen. The Lost World repeated this in the scene where the Tyrannosaurs knock Jeff Goldblum's trailer off a cliff, and even dumb ol' Jurassic Park III spent a lot of time on showing us exactly how much of an airplane's ass a giant dinosaur would kick (answer: all of it). Now look at this ungodly shit:

[here there's a gif from a single shot from the trailer]

Sure, that looks pretty awesome, but destruction on that scale should blow our fucking minds. The response to dinosaurs wrecking a helicopter should be nothing short of paralysis, but this scene has no sense of gravity or consequence. There's no scale to it.

Really? Any individual shot in Jurassic Park's T. rex attack has the benefit of what surrounds it. It has the benefit of those very minutes of the dinosaur's approach that the writer mentions. This kind of niggling over a single, out-of-context shot devalues a lot of totally non-FX-related aspects of filmmaking. Editing for one. Writing for another.

I guess I feel like by the end the writer was reaching for things to be disapproving of.
posted by brundlefly at 2:22 AM on May 31, 2015


A plea: I saw this gif of behind the scenes with Hugh Keays-Byrne congratulating the War Boys, does anyone know where the original video can be watched? (Though it may make my heart explode...)
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:48 AM on May 31, 2015


That's from this B-roll footage, around the 8' mark, previously linked by EndsOfInvention.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:54 AM on May 31, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bangaioh (and EndsOfInvention) THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I am going to incorporate Immortan Joe telling me 'You look AMAZING' into my morning routine.

Also - great profile of Nathan Jones, aka Rictus Erectus, at Grantland. Dude has lived a life.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 4:01 AM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a gif or screenshot of that scene near the start (while Furiosa is still waiting in the War Rig at the Citadel before leaving), wherein there's a bit with the platform being raised, while the guards standing on it stomp on the hands of people trying to climb onto it?

I saw this movie again tonight and only noticed the guards last time, but this time thought I glimpsed a single female figure standing huddled in the centre of the platform. I've been looking to see if I just imagined that, but can't find that shot anywhere.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:35 AM on May 31, 2015


Also - great profile of Nathan Jones, aka Rictus Erectus, at Grantland. Dude has lived a life.

The gun he is holding in that photo looks like it started life as a Hitachi pneumatic framing nail gun.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:31 AM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm going to see it again this weekend. I expect I will see it at least a couple of more times in the theatre.

I'm so looking forward to the DVD release though because of the crazy amount of minute detail. This and the other on the main site are full of things that people saw that I didn't. The art book I mentioned above is full of little things as well. It's money well spent and the coolest 'coffee table' book I've had in a long time.

I'm expecting to just keep noticing things through multiple viewings. This movie should get multiple design awards. It's incredible how layered it is.
posted by Jalliah at 1:08 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


For those curious about performance, here's a side-by-side weekend gross drop percentage comparison of this, Age of Ultron (for a blockbuster action comparison), and 300: Rise of an Empire (which had a similar opening weekend):

MM / AU / 3R
45.8% / 59.4% / 57.4%
44.7% / 50.0% / 55.7%

That's a tiny dataset (since it's only been out for 2 weekends), but it's a useful comparison. Most movies are considered lucky if they drop by 50% after the first week, and it tends towards the high 50s for competitive summer action movie season. I think this is a good indication that Fury Road is a success, and that it "has legs" as the saying goes.
posted by codacorolla at 1:22 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I saw it last night. I really should not have enjoyed it, because, in any action movie, the things that always bore me are car chases and big explodey fight/battle scenes. Which was basically 85% of this movie. But I went to see it because of all the feminist stuff I'd been seeing, and because I do have a weakness for post-apocalyptic books/movies/TV shows.

I loved it. I mean, I didn't enjoy every moment of every battle scene, but I just loved the overall experience of the film, including all of the thinking I've been doing about it since. I dreamed about it last night. It's such a fully-realized vision and that's always such a beautiful thing to experience.

I have my quibbles with it on the feminism front, but overall, I thought it worked so well as a feminist film because it's NOT just about a "strong woman" or two, but about different kinds of women, plus a few cool guys, joining together to take down the patriarchy.

You have the badass action-figure lady, but you also have the grandmotherly type, and the wise women of the desert, and the young women (who may all be beautiful in a model-type way but are certainly not all the same: there's a skeptic, a nurturer, a badass leader, etc.). And sure, you could argue that these are all 2-dimensional types, but even that is a huge step for a mainstream, big-budget action movie. You usually only get such a diversity of female "types" in movies if it's a chick flick. And nothing against chick flicks (I also saw and enjoyed Pitch Perfect 2 last week) but it's so nice to see this in a film that's not just for women and their dates.

And the second part is really important too: that these women are banding together to defeat a patriarchy. It took me a while to put my finger on this, but Jessica Valenti really nails it: this film is about dismantling patriarchy and that's what makes it not just a movie with good portrayals of women, but actually an explicitly feminist film.
posted by lunasol at 1:25 PM on May 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, that review from In These Times is garbage and it really makes me angry. It's bad enough that it's poorly written. I actually thought at first that it was written by an intern or something who just needed time to develop their critical voice. But it's written by a professor at Berkeley, which makes her body-snarking on the actresses who play the wives especially egregious.
posted by lunasol at 1:30 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]



I saw this movie again tonight and only noticed the guards last time, but this time thought I glimpsed a single female figure standing huddled in the centre of the platform. I've been looking to see if I just imagined that, but can't find


Yes, that happened. I noticed it the first viewing and it stood out every other viewing as well. Looks like a preteen girl or very small woman, standing nervously.

I assume they pull useful people from the crowds. Or that children are often offered up, in hopes they have a slightly better life in the citadel. The masses don't know what it's like; surely there are rumors and built up legends about how glorious it must be.
posted by Windigo at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


all of the thinking I've been doing about it since.

As someone who's a fan of action movies, including terrible ones ... That's probably the highest compliment one can say about a movie regardless of genre (but action movies tend to suffer more): It holds up to being thought very intently about. Every tiny bit. And that's so rare. It's sad that it is, a bit, but it's clearly hard to pull off especially at this scale.

Fuck, I need to see it again.
posted by sparkletone at 2:11 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


This reminded me strongly of Solarbabies. Not impressed.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 2:37 PM on May 31, 2015


Saw the movie last night and while discussing it with a friend today, he mentioned how cool it was that the first thing you hear from the "wives" is that "we are not things." I think he's slightly wrong - we first see, not hear, that sentence scrawled out on the walls of their prison, right? Because the spoken NO of a raped woman is often contested, these women felt the need to make their NO physical, big as life, in a place where the patriarch couldn't claim not to see it.
posted by goofyfoot at 5:44 PM on May 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


And the camera revolving around Joe while he takes in those words really sells it. Miller's direction is just flawless.
posted by brundlefly at 7:06 PM on May 31, 2015


Yeah I think the wives were supposed to be untainted breeding stock so as to try to breed children that are not half-lifes or otherwise genetically abnormal like Joe's sons Rictus Erectus and Corpus Colossus.

The Vuvalini marvel at the wives' beauty and health, asking Furiosa "Where did you find such creatures?...This one has all her teeth!"
posted by fozzie_bear at 8:29 PM on May 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was rereading another In These Times post, and went back to the cited Tumblr post, and I thought this very valid point was still not addressed:

Polynesians often are erased, or mistakenly seen as white passing often because White Western culture only teaches how to see black or white, ignoring or wholesale erasing all the many colors in between. One of the really ugly truths behind why so many indigenous people are “white passing” is because of the long legacy of us being raped by white oppressors. Many of us only being valued as “pretty” sexual objects for the enjoyment and consumption of white men.
There is a BIG difference between being white passing and having your ethnicity erase from mainstream awareness. People, even POC, default code Polynesian women as white because they only SEE the parts of our features that are stereotypically viewed to be “white


as I said elsewhere, just like Furiosa's arm, nothing was ever explicitly stated, and if people who are used to whiteness can't see people of colour as they go on living, without making their ethnicity a big deal, just like Furiosa's disability was no big deal, i am not too sure if this isn't a blame that is more to do with social expectations that what the movie was actually doing. Tangentially I feel this is similar to another linked commentary about representation of the disabled - there's clear recognition of visible disability that was more associated with the villains but no acknowledgement of the various degrees of PTSD and other mental illnesses suffered by the War Rig crew.
posted by cendawanita at 10:17 PM on May 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


More on the editing, which mentioned the same centre-framing thing as the American Cinematographer piece: The Editing of MAD MAX: Fury Road
posted by cendawanita at 11:36 PM on May 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Cendawanita: Thanks for the link to the tumblr post!
Yes, EXACTLY!
The In These Times post was frustrating, and didn't seem to have taken any of that onboard, for example, "But the movie never mentions that these two women are Maori"

Excuse me? But Zoe didn't have to mention her race?
In a symbolic movie which has very little dialogue?

They missed something big, because this is Not An American Movie. Let's look at the symbolism again.

After they meet the Vulvalini, Cheedo is seen wearing what non-New Zealand and non-Australian audiences may see as just a headband.
Go take a look, I will wait.

That is actually a Maori Tipare, and it is pretty damn iconic, especially for women's cultural performances. I was so excited when I saw that!
(It looks to me like a genuine old one, from harakeke/NZ flax. Hard to tell?)
These are the gifts the vuvalini have given them, heirlooms - seeds and culture.

So, a character who has been portrayed as frightened, and wanting to go back to their oppressors, has just reclaimed her f@#£%ing heritage, and proceeds to act from a position of strength for the rest of her movie, and bravely fighting against them.


The white patriarchy was oppressing Australian Aborigines as they usually do, but I was hoping that they are mostly just out of reach of Immortan Joes crew.
Within living memory, white Australians have hunted aborigines for sport. I feel like you can't have that history and imagine wanting to be in range of something like Immortan Joe, but I am over theorising and excusing the narrow focus of one action movie (immortan crew, vuvalini, and rock riders whose ethnicity is never revealed ) but I want to see more representation in the sequels if they meet other tribes.
posted by Elysum at 4:10 AM on June 1, 2015 [27 favorites]


I've noticed that about a lot of the reviews/analysis I've read, sometimes in ways that matter and sometimes not.

This is jumping a bit back in the thread, but I keep meaning to mention:

By far the weirdest review mistake for the movie I've seen was in a review which I found randomly on Rotten Tomatoes, but was one of their marked top critics. The reviewer repeatedly commented on the significance of the (totally false) fact that the War Boys literally use blood as a substitute for gasoline, and that Max being tied to Nux's vehicle was basically as an external gas tank.

Apparently the reviewer missed that one of the primary things being tatooed on Max's back in the opening was his blood type (O-), and that Nux was specifically hooked up to Max for a blood transfusion, and that they refer to him as a "universal donor" repeatedly, etc. One wonders what movie this person was actually watching.
posted by tocts at 5:05 AM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


After they meet the Vulvalini, Cheedo is seen wearing what non-New Zealand and non-Australian audiences may see as just a headband.

At this point, my operating belief is that nothing about those costumes was accidental. Every element was put there for a reason.

(Which is why I'm so amused by the way the Keeper of the Seeds has a gourd hanging from her belt in a rather suggestive spot.)

I also just came across this article: Why every mum should take their sons to see Mad Max: Fury Road: "When Allison Pearson accompanied her teenage son to watch the new Mad Max film, she didn't expect it to be a lesson in feminism"
posted by Lexica at 10:06 AM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have a pet theory, based on not much really but I don't recall if it got covered earlier in the thread. I get itchy too sometimes when reviewers get all "well actually" about things like "well why is Furiosa's arm tech so much more modern than like driving fucking manual transmission non-fuel injected vehicles through the desert..."

I grew up on a farm. Any moderately mechanically inclined twelve year old (because I was one) can fix a carburetor and understand the basics of timing, spark, gap, and manual gearboxes. As alluded to above, you do not want this shit breaking down on you in the middle of apocalypse nowhere; your survival depends on your ability to fucking bump start it if necessary after the Evil Death Firenado shorts out your ignition or whatevs. And I'm for reals convinced you aren't going to have a convenient Pep Boys anywhere close to replace a fried map sensor.

However, as evidenced, Furiosa can get along okay, probably fine, without her prosthetic if absolutely necessary. I mean hell she beat Max practically insensible with her stump, that counts for something. So yeah, she is fine with having something potentially more fiddly / less desert-hardened endurable for the sake of functionality much of the time.

but your ride breaks down and you are shit out of luck and that's final. Hence you drive the most basic low tech high horsepower iron you can get your hands on.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:27 PM on June 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


The nearly 11 year old loved this film, and for days afterwards was asking great philosophical questions and making comments - "did you notice how so many of the mouths had something going on with them? What do you think it symbolises?". "Why is chrome so important?", "Why are there different settlements for different resources?" He had absolutely no problems with women being portrayed as strong, competent and as important in action sequences as men - makes me think we are doing something okay as parents when something everyone thinks is revolutionarily feminist (me included) is just normal for our son.

I loved it - and I especially loved the amount of 'Australianisms' in it - haven't heard terms like 'Fang it' or 'slanger' for a very long time ...
posted by Megami at 10:01 PM on June 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


Shit, I just made the mistake of reading the comments on that Telegraph Lexica just posted. Some seriously disturbed people.
posted by pmcp at 7:44 AM on June 2, 2015


So what do "Fang it" and "slanger" mean? From the context I assumed slanger meant roadkill or something.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:00 PM on June 2, 2015


Fang it - to drive it like Fangio (Juan Manuel Fangio, Early formula one driver)
Slanger - penis. That one I don't know why, but maybe because it sounds like sanger, which is slang for a sausage.
posted by Megami at 12:27 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


If I had to guess, German or Yiddish or Dutch origins for slanger -- Schlange/shlong/slang all mean "snake" and can also mean penis.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:41 PM on June 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, it just occurred to me: Is the license plate FURIOSA and/or WAR-RIG available in my state?
posted by Rock Steady at 3:35 PM on June 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Soooooo tempting...
posted by Rock Steady at 5:44 PM on June 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!
posted by ocherdraco at 6:09 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


OMGGGGGGGGG DO ITTTTTTTTTTTTTT
posted by Windigo at 6:26 PM on June 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


It is also available in my state, but my husband does not seem to think it's a good use of resources.
posted by Windigo at 6:30 PM on June 2, 2015


I just looked up how to get a custom plate in my province, and I don't even own a car.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:43 PM on June 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Windigo, sure you could listen to your husband but ask yourself this: Who killed the world?
posted by pmcp at 4:22 AM on June 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


This is a great essay: The feminine desert of Mad Max: Fury Road
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:13 AM on June 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I don't own a car but everyone who does so take this opinion with a grain of sand, but I really strongly believe those who can get the FURIOSA plate for their area should do so.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:09 AM on June 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Virginia sells six-character personalized souvenir plates for $20. WAR RIG fits nicely on the Gadsen flag plate.
posted by djb at 5:47 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I quite enjoyed the film.

AND NOW I CAN'T STOP TRYING TO TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT AND FILLING UP MY FACEBOOK FEED WITH EFFUSIVE POSTS ABOUT IT AND EVERYONE I KNOW HATES ACTION MOVIES AND I'M ALL ALONE FOREVER.
posted by sonascope at 2:24 PM on June 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was telling a friend's husband about it recently. He's (no joke) a French fencing instructor and immediately did the cliché "snooty French person" thing, which I had never seen in the wild before, and started talking about the superiority of real film like Godard over "Hollywood movie factory trash" like Fury Road.

That all those French New Wave guys went bonkers over "Hollywood movie factory trash" was evidently lost him.
posted by brundlefly at 2:47 PM on June 5, 2015




Upon rewatch: Nux has drawn little happy faces on his tumors. He has names for them, I can't remember what they were.

Spray-painted in the bedroom/vault: "Our babies will not be warlords"
posted by isthmus at 11:06 PM on June 5, 2015


I've been thinking about how the first time we encounter the enslaved women's war cry "We are not things!" is because they wrote it on the wall. This speaks to me of the fact that a spoken NO isn't enough - NO has to be written so it can't be denied.

And I remembered a shirt my best friend and I shared as punk rock teenagers. She'd painted CELIBATE on the back of it, and one of us would wear it when we were going to parties at which, we suspected, one of us would end up fucking a guy we knew we shouldn't. The shirt served as a reminder to whichever one of us was wearing it and whichever one of us wasn't - we'd literally watch one another's back.

So I put these together and came up with a rather outlandish strategy re campus rape. I would imagine that girls get ready for frat parties together. Your best friend has to okay your outfit and check your makeup, right? This is standard young woman behavior. What if that preparation included writing NO on each others belly (and back, I suppose) in wash-off-able ink, along with a necessarily short sentence indicating that unless there is a picture of the woman washing off her own NO, it's undeniably rape.

Now, I think that a good prevention of campus rape is to have a buddy system. Someone who keeps an eye on you. Someone who steps in and says, if he thinks a friend is about to rape, "Dude, you're doing something awful."

But as far as proving that rape happened, this could be a good tactic. Or is it totally silly? It sounds silly to me. But I remember the effectiveness of that shirt K. and I shared.
posted by goofyfoot at 11:16 PM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


isthmus: the tumours are called Larry and Barry.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:47 AM on June 6, 2015


Saw Fury Road again. Spoiler: still awesome, even after reading all the behind the scenes articles and thinkpieces. Slower than I remembered it. My postman friend liked it but didn't LOVE it; maybe he'd prefer The Postman (which is a good book). I swear I saw a Borderlands mask in Fury Road. Am I imagining things? Time to play Borderlands until I pass out.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:14 AM on June 6, 2015


I didn't like the future slang. 'Schlanger' is probably Australian, but I never heard it, and 'smeg'? Do they get Red Dwarf in the post-apocalyptic future?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:46 AM on June 6, 2015


"So shiny... so chrome..."
- Nux
posted by isthmus at 3:07 PM on June 6, 2015


So much detail and texture in the world. Love the customized gas pedals. I'm 100% certain that the pedal in the War Rig is a Brannock Device.
posted by kreinsch at 10:29 PM on June 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Smeg predates Red Dwarf, when I was a kid there was a big piece of graffiti on the side of a main road into Liverpool that read 'Margaret Thatcher drinks smeg'. Not sure how it would have got to Australia, or at least the Australia of this film.
posted by biffa at 4:23 AM on June 7, 2015




I'm 100% certain that the pedal in the War Rig is a Brannock Device.

It was!

For the record, I have now seen this movie 4 times. Whew.
posted by Windigo at 10:32 AM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Where did Furiosa's prosthetic arm come from? It's obviously miles and miles away from the technological level of any of the groups shown in the film. It's better than just about anything made today. Can be used effortlessly, has its own long-term power source, can just be popped on and stays on.
It doesn't just pop on; it has a harness that buckles around her torso. I think it's a purely-mechanical body-powered prosthesis, which would mean that it transfers Furiosa's own arm strength to "power" the grip.

It actually looks fairly similar to real body-powered prosthetic hands available today. It also seems pretty realistic for the industrial capability of the Citadel.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:33 AM on June 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Saw it again, on IMAX in 3D. When the trailers played (nothing special - Mission Impossible the nth, Jurassic Yawn), I was struggling to follow what was going on in them, the images were so big and overwhelming. But MM? So perfectly framed that I only remember having to move my head once.

2nd time round: there was way more Doof Warrior than I had thought (yay!); that Nux is told an Imperator has gone rouge and 'taken some of Joe's stuff' - 'What stuff?' - 'Breeders, his prize breeders.'; my bae Immortan Joe's mask is a breathing apparatus, and his sons have versions of them, too (this completely passed me by before); the Wives stuck with me far more; Bullets - 'anti-seeds'.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 3:07 PM on June 7, 2015


So I went and saw it again and here's my thoughts-dump: when they're on the road out to the Green Place, Max asks Furiosa if she's done this before. She says something like, "Many times, but now that I drive a War Rig, this is the best chance I'll ever get."

I can't tell if Max is asking her if she's driven for Immortan Joe before or if she's escaped before. I like to think it was the latter-- that when she was younger she escaped and was caught, escaped and was caught, until Immortan Joe lost his patience and cut off her arm. Because you have to have a vehicle to escape, right? And you can't drive a motorcycle or one of those charged-up welded-together beasties with only one arm. And Furiosa wasn't allowed the materials to build her prosthesis or able to drive again until she's "proved" to Immortan Joe that she was his creature. So now she has her prosthesis, her War Rig, and her chance at escaping... at the cost of whatever it was she did to prove her loyalty to Joe ("Redemption.")

Also I love the movie top to bottom but the soundtrack puzzled the heck out of me. It was so straight-forward and overwhelmingly generic heroic for what is not exactly a generic-heroic movie. In particular the strong use of strings sometimes pulled me out at inopportune moments. I wish the composer had been composing more within the world-- more Taiko drums, more banging on empty gas cans and hubcaps for percussion, more desert instruments. In short: I wish the soundtrack was as weird and lush as the visuals in the movie.
posted by WidgetAlley at 5:15 PM on June 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


There was a thread on the blue about the soundtrack.

The only part of the movie that broke the immersion for me was the look of the nighttime scenes (shot in the day, then color-graded to monotone blue-and-black). It was a cool look, but very unreal. And it went on long enough that it started to bother me.

But I did love when Max wandered off-camera to deal with the bullet farmer, and came back a short while later without saying a word about the fight.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:50 PM on June 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


%n: "But I did love when Max wandered off-camera to deal with the bullet farmer, and came back a short while later without saying a word about the fight."

This bit seems out of character with the rest of the movie to me. In the rest of the film, Max is pretty passive and just going along and, as he says, surviving. But all of the sudden he's able to take on a car full of armed men with just a gas can and not even break a sweat. It was very cool, don't get me wrong, but it didn't square with the rest of the movie.

Also, "Does anybody see the bright lights and encroaching gunfire?"

Third time today.
posted by stet at 6:56 PM on June 7, 2015


I saw the film a second time. Sadly, in 3D, which I do not recommend. It was fun watching again to pick up on a bunch of details I missed the first time. I'm not in a hurry to see it a third time though, at least until it's out on home video.

The 4 bullets thing does seem to be a continuity error. They count the bullets, then none are shot until Max wastes two and Furiosa takes the third all in the one scene. It's not quite established that her shot was the last bullet and Max comes back soon after with the ammunition spoils from The Bullet Farmer, so maybe it doesn't matter. Or maybe they cut a shot. Not a big deal, but I did count.

I agree the soundtrack is a bit generic. Parts of it are amazing; particularly the 3d location effect of the Doofmobile with the Taiko drums in one of the grand sweeping shots. But overall it's a lot of background, well, movie soundtrack. I've listened to it by itself a couple of times and it's not so great alone, although entirely consistent with other movie soundtracks.

I love the whole thing with Max going off to take care of the Bullet Farmer off-screen. Partly there's just too much action already, yet another fight scene would not improve the movie. Also it reinforces he is.. Reliable. When he goes off Furiosa remarks he is going to "retaliate first". When he comes back Furiosa notes "that's not his blood", a quiet sort of acknowledgement of one Reliable to another. It worked.

I met a woman today at a tech conference whose Twitter name is "Imperator Bethiosa". I love how that established instant kick-ass context for her.
posted by Nelson at 7:01 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


> The 4 bullets thing does seem to be a continuity error.

Doesn't Furiosa shoot a biker with the long gun immediately after Toast's tally? That leaves three shots for the night sniping.
posted by postcommunism at 7:32 PM on June 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Via Laura, the awesome tumblr user who wrote about being an amputee and watching the film, a response to her post from a crew member.

Also, some Furiosa backstory snippets - from Charlize:
“This is not in the movie: this is stuff that we talked about, backstory about how she ended up with no arm and that she was discarded. She couldn’t breed, and that was all that she was good for. She was stolen from this place, this green place that she’s trying to go back to. But she was stolen from that place and kind of embedded in this world for one thing, and when she couldn’t deliver on that one thing, she was discarded—and she didn’t die. And instead… she hid out with those war pups in the world of mechanics, and they almost forgot she was a woman because she grew up like them. So there was no threat. It was like, “If you become us, then you’re not a threat.””

And costume analysis that's pretty chilling.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 11:59 PM on June 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


Mad Max and the Stolen Generations

One of my first thoughts after leaving the movie (which I finally got around to seeing this pst weekend and would gladly see a dozen more times) was that the summary "A group of young women held against their will attempt to escape home across the harsh Australian desert" could equally describe Fury Road or Rabbit-Proof Fence.

It would have been great to have more indigenous Australian actors in the film (although the above point about the Maori actors and costuming was neat).
posted by naoko at 6:24 AM on June 8, 2015


Also, question I have after the third viewing, I don't recall it well on account of I'm retconning it out of the movie, but at one point does one of the war boys shout "f*ggot" at the top of his lungs? If so, I'm really disappointed in the film, which is why I'm choosing to believe that I misheard it three times running. It's no stretch to figure that the world of Mad Max is screamingly homophobic and it's lame enough that one of the "wives" basically calls Max a cocksucker, but dragging out a homophobic slur that does exactly nothing to advance the plot is a really shitty thing to do.

Unless I heard it wrong. Please tell me that I heard it wrong. I want my love for this movie to be pure and unblemished.
posted by stet at 7:11 PM on June 8, 2015


I think that might've been "Fang it", as seen above when discussing Australian slang.
posted by CrystalDave at 7:31 PM on June 8, 2015


That is clearly what I heard. Not only does it make me happier, but it makes more sense. Thank you.
posted by stet at 8:01 PM on June 8, 2015


I just saw this again yesterday (even better the second time!) and noticed, when Furiosa reaches under the dashboard of the war rig, there's a little light tan drawstring pouch dangling there with two ovoids inside, one hanging slightly lower than the other. It's only in one shot, very briefly.

Also, when Immortan Joe is holding Splendid and wailing, he's wearing a variant of the mask he wears during the rest of the move - its mouth is open. It never opens at any other time in the movie as far as I can recall. In fact it gives the impression of not having an articulated jaw.

There are so many details in this movie, and they all contribute. Miller really took the world to movie-making school with this film.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:52 PM on June 8, 2015


stet, what's the 'cocksucker' reference? The Dag does call him a 'schlanger', i.e. a knob, which paired with Toast's dismissal of the guns in phallic terms I thought was quite apt - they're really over dicks at this point.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:03 AM on June 9, 2015


Something that just struck me - apologies if it's struck everyone else first: The fundamental difference between Furiosa and Max is that she is a part of every social group / subtribe we see: As far as we can tell (from backstory leaks) she was born into the Vuvalini, was stolen from them and became a Wife, then she worked her way up through the War Boys and at the beginning of the film is an important part of the ruling elite of the Citadel. Max is alien to all of it. I wonder if it's that that gives Max the insight that he uses to completely change the course of a story that he's up to then allowed to carry him along.

I think it's an important factor in the film that no group can fully succeed on its own: For all its unpleasantness, the Citadel under the Immortan is a functioning society, which has successfully tapped an aquifer and is developing agriculture. Yet its functioning is deeply repressive, corrupt and decadent (centring, as it does, on a self-aggrandising old man); For all their wisdom, the Vuvalini are on the verge of death - the best they can hope for is to persist for a bit longer; Furiosa's singlemindedness drives her powerfully, but in one direction only (and when that direction leads nowhere, she can only continue along it to her very likely death). The ending allows for the possibility that they might recombine into something that can genuinely transcend the Wasteland.
posted by Grangousier at 5:55 AM on June 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


In the rest of the film, Max is pretty passive and just going along and, as he says, surviving.

Surviving, sure, but I dunno about "passive" - the movie essentially opens with him trying to fight his way out of the Citadel, then he keeps trying to free himself when he's strapped to the front of Nux's car, then he tries to hijack Furiosa's War Rig. And of course he pretty much fully participates in fighting off whoever's attacking the rig while he's in it.

I think Nelson pretty much nails it above; Max going off to take care of the BulletTown baddies is when he proves himself Reliable, it's the point at which he fully throws his lot in with Furiosa and the Brides. Up til then their alliance had been one of necessity and expediency and Furiosa wasn't 100% certain when he left that he wouldn't just take off into the wasteland or even ally himself with the BulletTownies. Until he returned out of the darkness covered in blood and dragging a blanket full of guns & ammunition. So we don't need to see that fight, because the fight isn't really the important part. The important part is that twitchy, inarticulate, isolated-to-the-point-of-psychosis Max actually invests in something greater than his own personal immediate survival.


And after a second viewing I'm definitely agreeing with the idea that the male-gaze-y introduction to the Brides is intentionally subversive - Miller & Co. are well aware that in standard action flicks that scene would exist simply as male-viewer fanservice and an introduction of potential Providers of Teh Sex for the hunky male protagonist. But Miller immediately cuts the legs out from under this interpretation by showing that Max cares solely about 1) water, 2) boltcutters, and 3) vehicle, in that order, he doesn't give a shit about the Brides as young attractive women, he only cares that they have things he needs to survive, and once he's bluffed and/or fought his way into getting those things he's outta there and Furiosa & the Brides are on their fucking own, too bad for them.

Which, come to think of it, adds another layer of trope subversion to the scene, since so often the thing that the hunky male protagonist wants is sex, he'll talk/bluff/fight his way to getting it, and once he's gotten it he's outta there. And the sex is so often presented as a Survival Need or "biologically-driven motivation" for the male. Whereas here I think Miller is taking a poke at that whole concept of "Males Need Sex", demonstrating that when it comes to actual survival there are things WAY more important than the attention of a hot young woman. Having Max pay no attention to the women as potential sex partners (even though they are presented to the viewer in a way that looks like a form of the male gaze) is a way of questioning the all-too-common assumption in our stories that the desire for sex and attention from women is an actual biological motivator for male behavior.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:51 AM on June 9, 2015 [27 favorites]


Living in Virginia, the land of the cheap personalized license plate (so much so that it's like being in the midst of a giant free-association experiment), I expect that "FURIOSA" and "WAR RIG" will be taken quickly. What I'm really looking forward to seeing, though, is "WWIFD".
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:49 AM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


what's the 'cocksucker' reference? The Dag does call him a 'schlanger', i.e. a knob

The line in question: He's a crazy smig who eats schlanger!

I think it's specifically that The Dag says that he eats schlanger, which carries a bit more connotation than just 'being a knob'.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:12 AM on June 9, 2015


I think it's specifically that The Dag says that he eats schlanger, which carries a bit more connotation than just 'being a knob'.

You're quite right, it does, I missed that. (Totally calling people a smig from now on, though).
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:36 PM on June 9, 2015


And after a second viewing I'm definitely agreeing with the idea that the male-gaze-y introduction to the Brides is intentionally subversive

Yes - I love that it does something genuinely challenging with the notion of the gaze itself : what we are seeing is exactly what Max is seeing - we are literally looking through his eyes. However, we might be seeing parts of young women's bodies (and that might be pleasing us or causing us umbrage), or women unshackling each other. Maybe we see the water that's the only thing Max is actually looking at. The gaze is not something that the eye does, but a story that the mind tells about what the eye sees.
posted by Grangousier at 3:14 PM on June 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


On my second viewing, mostly cause I missed so much the first time cause everything is flying past you relentlessly...

Nux still breaks my heart - he's so young In his werid doofy enthusiasm and eagerness to please.
posted by The Whelk at 4:33 PM on June 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also I took my SO to it for the first time and he thought the War Boys where zombies or something so oooo
posted by The Whelk at 4:38 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


(He liked it a lot but he thought they had like, literally supernatural powers that where somehow blood based.)
posted by The Whelk at 4:43 PM on June 9, 2015


I don't ship it, but the story of how Max and Furiosa's stunt doubles fell in love on set and got married is so sweet it's making my teeth ache:

‘We’ve said it before and it’s quite cheesy, but it really was love at first sight. While we were punching each other we were falling for each other – quite rapidly.’

Bonus adorability: they're called Dane and Dayna.

And, for anyone else craving more meta: Stanza and Deliver - the Filmic Poetry of Mad Max: Fury Road (What rhymes with 'MEDIOCRE'?)
posted by Gin and Broadband at 8:46 AM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


That "Stanza and Deliver" post is solid proof that, no matter how ostensibly smart the audience is, the comment thread is probably going to be painful.
posted by brundlefly at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]




%n: "I think that might've been "Fang it", as seen above when discussing Australian slang."

Just got back from seeing the movie and fourth time and this is definitely what they were shouting. Hooray!

Also, hold up to a fourth viewing, particularly if you're sitting in close proximity to the only other two people in the theater who are seeing it for the first time. I cannot believe that I had no desire to see this movie before it came out.
posted by stet at 4:56 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


A Warrior Woman’s Work - "Furiosa isn’t history’s first female fighter, but she is the latest to remind us that women’s place is everywhere."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:27 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tom Hardy on finding Max's voice: "I was safe with the grunts."

/card-carrying lifetime member of Appreciators of Tom Hardy's Bizarre Accents Club.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:44 AM on June 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Finally saw it, loved it so much. Especially loved this dance Miller did where basically every single piece of set dressing and worldbuilding paid off in a satisfying way, while also subverting damn near every audience expectation beyond "there will be a fuckton of carsplosions." And so many of those subversions are about keeping an earnest, good-hearted arc for the story -- there's nothing rapey in Max or Nux's interactions with the Wives, the Green Place really existed (how many times has that exact setup turned out to be just a myth and the heroes are back where they started?) and there's reason for hope based on it even though it's not there anymore, there's no real temptation for Nux to turn on them after he joins the crew of the War Rig, the populace and War Pups are on board with Furiosa's new regime, etc.

(Also, I totally think Furiosa was lying to Max about the bullets so she'd have an ace in the hole in case he wasn't reliable after all)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:41 AM on June 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


A nice quote from the actress who played the keeper of the seeds:
"We're a badass lot, yeah," says actress Melissa Jaffer. "I mean, my character is no doubt a killer." Jaffer is a well-known Australian actress who plays the eldest of the warrior women. Her character carries hope for the future in a satchel filled with plants and seeds.

The 78-year-old Jaffer says she and the other actresses did their own stunts. "And I got feeling from a lot of the crew members that they didn't think it was right women of my age to be doing that sort of thing. You know, sometimes they'd come up and say, oh, he shouldn't ask you to do that. And I would say why? And they'd say, well, because you're an older woman. I did it, and I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of it."

Jaffer says it was a box office risk for Miller to cast older women to play such ferocious characters. But she says she jumped at the opportunity. "The roles that one is offered at this age, quite frankly, you're either in a nursing home, you're in a hospital bed dying, you're suffering from dementia, or in fact, in two cases, I was offered two characters who'd actually died and come back to life," she says. "So when this role came along, I thought well, I won't get another chance like this before I die, and that's why I took it. It was absolutely wonderful. Wonderful role."
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:01 PM on June 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


If Jaffer looks familiar to you, it may be because she was in Farscape. That show and the Mad Max franchise share two other actors: Virginia Hey was the Warrior Woman in The Road Warrior and Hugh Keays-Byrne was both Toecutter (in the first film) and Immortan Joe.
posted by brundlefly at 2:26 PM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Mad Max and the Fury Road to Damascus
For example, let’s look at the symbol of Immortan Joe and the War Boys. A flaming skull on a steering wheel is pretty fly as far as religious icons go. We could just be presented with that and then move on; a skull on a steering wheel equals mortality and the importance of vehicles in a harsh wasteland, we get it. But instead we are shown its importance through the character Nux, one of the War Boys.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:44 AM on June 18, 2015


Exclusive Interview With ‘Mad Max’ Villain The Immortan Joe

Hugh Keays-Byrne did an interview (mostly) in character:

I’m a renaissance man, trying to rebuild with outreach programs, get these people up. Help, help, help.

"Daddy loves you!"
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:41 PM on June 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


One thing that I haven't seen mentioned and I can't get out of my head is the heavy Jack Kirby influence in this movie. The Mountain of Judgement, the bikes of the Hairies and any number of other Kirby vehicles would be right at home in one of the chase scenes. Furiosa and Big Barda would get along famously. And everything about the Warboys is incredibly Kirby. Die for Darkseid on the Fury Road, to ride eternal, shiny and chrome!
posted by jason_steakums at 1:42 PM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


For the past few weeks there's been a pretty terrible "Get a bikini body!" ad campaign on ALL of the billboards at the enormous Union Square subway station in NYC. Every time I go through, I see messages that people have written on them ("this hurts women," "fuck this ad," etc.).

The last time I went through, someone had used a sharpie to scrawl on one of them "WE ARE NOT THINGS."
posted by ocherdraco at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2015 [37 favorites]


isthmus: "Upon rewatch: Nux has drawn little happy faces on his tumors."

Thank you! I just saw the movie this morning, and I thought there were dots from surgery or something. Happy faces makes so much more sense.
posted by Bugbread at 1:17 AM on July 3, 2015


They're totally little smiley faces. It's part of his having named them.
posted by sparkletone at 1:39 AM on July 3, 2015


I am super late to the Mad Max party but I just want to +1 all the squee in here. Greatest feminist road trip flick of all time!!
posted by nicebookrack at 10:57 AM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm late too, but wow what a great film. So different from everything else being made right now in terms of action films - not just the practical effects vs. CGI and the feminist tone of the film, but the reliance on the actors acting instead of just expositing their motivations just really made it wonderful.
posted by nubs at 11:18 AM on July 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, I couldn't justify a vanity plate, but I did make myself a bumper sticker. Witness me, bloodbags!
posted by Rock Steady at 5:21 PM on July 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


For fun, go back and read the thread after the trailer wasfirst released. Many are concerned that there's too much CGI in the film, that it will be too rapey, and that Theron won't be able to carry the role of a desert badass well enough.

Funny how all that turned out.
posted by stet at 8:27 PM on July 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Theron won't be able to carry the role of a desert badass well enough.

WITNESS ME!
posted by nubs at 8:32 AM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Many are concerned that there's too much CGI in the film, that it will be too rapey, and that Theron won't be able to carry the role of a desert badass well enough.

They were reasonable concerns at the time, though. I would never have figured it to be as good a movie on all those levels as it was. (Maybe not the last, Theron is a fine actor.)
posted by jeather at 11:52 AM on July 10, 2015




I assume it was to cut the glare.

My impression was that it's Imperator war paint, as seen on the other Imperators accompanying the warlords. Furiosa puts it on because it's what the bikers expect.
posted by zamboni at 4:45 PM on July 14, 2015




It took me so long to see this movie! I wanted to see it for so long, but I could only get to it in the theater just yesterday. It was amazing! There is so much I want to say about it, and I have gotten so, so much out of reading this very long thread.

One thing that really sticks with me, out of everything that was linked to here, is the Jacobin article linked above. It got me so, so angry, and I kept ruminating on how very wrong it was throughout all the rest of this thread. So I decided to write it down.

Let’s start with the basic inaccuracies about the movie. These, I think, are telling. I didn’t realize the pattern to them when I first noticed them, but a pattern there is. First, there’s this claim: “Max and Furiosa smuggle the wives out and set off on a journey....” That is not what happens. Max has nothing to do with smuggling the wives out. The wives were the ones who set the plan in action. Furiosa then was the one who smuggles them out. When this was going on, Max didn’t even know any of them existed. He was a prisoner, enslaved, being used as a bloodbag. So, this is the inaccuracy: Maher misrepresents Max as playing a significant role in one of the most significant events in the movie, when in fact he does not.

Here’s the second inaccuracy: “In the fight to destroy Joe’s patriarchal demagoguery, Furiosa is almost an equal partner to Max.” Now, I accept that this is in part a value judgment, but it is so divorced from what we actually see in the movie, it must be treated as an inaccuracy. The problem is that stupid word, “Almost.” Almost? Furiosa is ALMOST Max’s equal? Now, there is room to argue about whether Furiosa is an equal partner to Max or not—but the argument is about whether HE is an equal partner or if SHE outpaces him. She is the one who brought everything to a head, by helping the wives escape. Without her, you have no epic chase, you have no disruption to Joe’s patriarchal demagoguery at all. More importantly, she’s the one who actually cares about it! Max doesn’t care.. In the very short narration at the beginning, he makes clear that he has only the instinct to survive left—that’s the voice of someone indifferent to his political surroundings. Furthermore, note how the truck they are in operates: it doesn’t run without her. There’s a kill switch that only she knows about. Later, Max is able to drive only because she gives him the code he needs. So, in a movie that is literally nothing but a car chase, THE CAR DOESN’T MOVE WITHOUT HER. Also note that Furiosa is a better shot than Max, and she is ultimately the one who takes out Immortan Joe. She is the one that the crowd really applauds for at the end. And yet, Maher is left able to say nothing stronger than that she is ALMOST Max’s equal? That is just such an incredible, unbelievable dismissal of Furiosa’s role in this movie and an unjustified exaggeration of Max’s own.

The final inaccuracy, I think, may be the most telling: “Max’s cycle is complete when, after Furiosa has killed Joe, he triumphantly returns to turn on the water for the masses.” Max doesn’t turn the water on. Max isn’t anywhere near the water, in this scene. Max isn’t even on the platform that takes Furiosa and the rest of the war party up to where the water’s controls are. Max is, instead, on the ground, in the crowd, moving AWAY. Who turns the water on? The milk-mothers, from the beginning. The fat women. (As a fat woman myself, let me say how happy I was to see them playing this integral role in the film: they turn on the water! The movie ends with their agency, their personhood, reinforced. These fat women, treated like animals, like literal cows, rose up and turned on the water without any input from our lead players! They are the ones who liberate the masses!) I don’t even know how you can watch this movie and make this mistake. Max is so far away from the water when it turns on, and we get such a clear shot of the fat women doing this vital, important work. And so, yet again, we get an inaccurate claim that works to exaggerate Max’s role in what happens, by ignoring or dismissing the role of the women surrounding him.

What I take all of this to imply is that Maher wrote this piece without thoroughly appreciating the role of women in this film. Given that this is a movie in which the role of women is so central and vital for its meaning, and given that so much of its point is to emphasize how problematically women are ignored, dismissed, and underappreciated (to say the least), I think this gives us prima facie reason to believe Maher doesn’t know shit.

It’s always problematic to make claims about other people’s psychologies given their writings, but given the errors Maher makes and the general approach he takes to interpreting Fury Road, I feel pretty confident in saying: Maher (despite his willingness to use the word “patriarchy”) doesn’t understand feminist theory and is so embedded within our sexist, patriarchal society that he can’t even recognize how Fury Road works to criticize it.

Now, let’s move on to some of his more substantial, interpretive claims. Even I’m not willing to go through every mistaken element of his analysis, but here are some of the big ones.

Claim: Joe’s society represents a “tribal” or Oriental Other. Here’s one major point where Maher supports this claim: “The bad guys are marked by tribalism and traditionalism. Inequality in Joe’s society stems not from the exploitation of labor, or the ecological and social devastation wrought by capitalist production, but rather from Joe’s absolute power to ration water — a power he apparently uses to enhance his political legitimacy by appearing benevolent and generous when he chooses to turn it on.” I so don’t even understand this. This is a movie about the exploitation of labor. How can you miss that? First, you have the exploitation of labor through slavery: we can see the slaves responsible for operating the giant infrastructure. It’s never made explicit through dialogue, but it is hard to imagine that the milk mothers aren’t enslaved. And then you have the wives, who are conceptualized as property within Joe’s society. Next, you have the Warboys, who are exploited through the use of religious fanaticism. They are brought up in a society where they believe that their labor (as warriors) should belong to Joe, so that they can die for him and reach Valhalla.

Now, the movie doesn’t imply that the inequality in Joe’s society is the cause of all of the ecological devastation around them. We are given no specifics about how the world was so destroyed. There is, however, very good evidence that Joe represents the sort of mindset that led to its destruction (hence the question of the wives’.) There is also plenty of evidence that the social devastation surrounding Joe’s society is most definitely the result of capitalist production. Note that the Vuvalini managed (at least for a long time) to thrive without the horrible inequality we see at Joe’s place. Notice, again, the milk mothers, whose milk is collected for the sake of trade and drunk by the highest class: the production of milk is not in any way the most conservative ways to produce digestible calories. It is, instead, a delicacy, a (relative) waste of energy, at the expense of slaves and the huddled masses down below (who could definitely use more conservative means of food being produced) for the sake of the upper classes. If that’s not social devastation (and slowburn ecological devastation) as the result of capitalist production, I don’t know what is.

There is other evidence Maher uses to claim that Joe’s society represents some tribal Other. The wives constitute a harem, which Maher associates with Eastern and Middle Eastern societies. As if the masculine desire for ownership of multiple women weren’t a feature of our own society as well. Maher also points to the Warboys’ willingness to kill themselves in battle, which he claims forces us to associate them with suicide bombers (which, apparently, are only a feature of Islamic society, for his argument to work?). As if ‘Western’ religion had no history of, I dunno, MARTYRS or CRUSADERS, willing to die as a part of their religious fervor. Maher also refers to tribal iconography used in Joe’s society, but I’m not really sure what specific symbols he means. (One prominent place of what might be referred to as ‘tribal’ symbolism: the Maori Tapare, discussed above, that one of the wives starts wearing after they have escaped… But this shows that symbols of connection to ‘tribal’ associations or heritage do play an important role, but as a sign of healing, greater safety, freedom.) So, ultimately, I don’t think Maher’s interpretation of Joe’s society holds up to the film.

Claim: Furiosa, the Vuvalini, and the wives represent liberalism and modernity (as opposed to tribalism). Here is, I take it, Maher’s definition of modernity (appealing significantly to Weber): “modern societies are ruled by rational bureaucracies that govern according to formal principles, such as liberal constitutionalism.” The three terms that go together: modernity, rationality, and individuality. According to Maher, this is what ‘we’ are meant to identify with in the film and see our protagonists standing for. It’s what we are supposed to take as good and desirable, compared to the (supposed) tribalism represented by Joe. It is what we should take the Vuvalini in particular as representing. Modernity, rationality, and individuality.

This, I think, is the point where Maher’s interpretation grows so very distant from the text of the film, and where I think the blind spot (as I take it to be) Maher has for feminist theory is the most apparent. When I see the words “rationality” and “individuality” put along with “modernity”, I cannot help but think of the sort of liberal individualism that is the subject of so much feminist political critique. I cannot see these words without, immediately, thinking of a political ideology that dismisses emotion (highlighting disembodied rationality in its place) and disparages the social contexts in which we are embedded (maintaining liberal choice as the primary facet of a human in its place). And so I am left just completely slack-jawed confused as how the hell Maher thinks the best way to interpret the Vuvalini and Furiosa is as representatives of modernity, of the political ideology of liberal individualism.

Let’s consider: what is Furiosa’s goal? To get to the green place. Why? Because that is where she is from. That is her tribe (if we want to continue using the tribal/modern distinction Maher sees as central to this movie). That is where she is born. How does she join into the Vuvalini upon finding them? By proving it is her rational choice, as an individual, to join their society? By opting in? No. Instead, she gives her ancestry. She proves that she is with them, due to the (unchosen, unfree) relationships she has with them. She belongs with them, because she was born to them. This sort of connection has no place in the modernity that Maher subscribes to it.

Are the Vuvalini best interpreted as valuing rationality? Hell no! This isn’t to say they are irrational but, instead, to highlight that they do not fall into the near-worship of rationality you see within liberal individualism. They are emotional. They are caring. (Hey, “care”! That word will show up again.) We get so very little information about their society, but we do get is this: they are deeply concerned with the wellbeing of a woman they have not seen for something like 20 years, and they have a hand-gesture to express their grief at her passing. Consider, also, how they greet Furiosa. She is accepted when she is identified: “This is our Furiosa.” That is what matters: they recognize her, as the person she is, as someone who belongs with them. (This might be the most substantial distinction between Joe’s society and the Vuvalini: individuals belong TO Joe; individuals belong WITH the Vuvalini.) It is the concreteness of her body, of her as the specific individual who was born to them and lost to them, that is relevant to their greeting of her. That is not what we should expect from a society intended to represent liberal individualism.

Further elaboration on this theme. How does Furiosa vouch for Max and Nux? She does not highlight their features, as individuals. She does not say they are strong, or intelligent, or good drivers, or resourceful. Any one of those could easily work, in a world like theirs. All of those attributes belong to both of them (well… I’m being kind by saying Nux is smart. He’s more like a sad li’l puppy). And they are all individualist attributes: they are attributes that apply to an individual, independent of any surrounding social context. What does she say, instead? She calls them reliable. That is an attribute that only makes sense within a social context. It is a claim about how Max and Nux can fit into the group, with the rest of them. Reliability is a feature one can have, only through relating to others. You have to be reliable TO someone, to be reliable at all. This is, again, an emphasis on communality, on social embeddedness. This one little line of dialogue works to emphasize what sort of people the Vuvalini are: they are concerned with how they operate as a group. Their focus is on maintaining community, of caring about and for each other. Their focus is togetherness. Note, finally, that the keeper of the seeds recognizes those seeds as a charge, a due to others, rather than some personal belonging: she does not own, but instead takes care of, that which is so vital for the group as a whole.

What I suggest we see, then, is not a representation of “modernity”, of liberal individualism. It is, instead, the rejection of it. What I claim we see in the Vuvalini is a representation of an ethics of care, or a political and ethical system that is built around the promotion of social relationships, attention to particular individuals as embodied and emotional (as well as, yes, rational) beings. Far away from representing the liberal individualism that highlights rationality and individual choice above all, they seem far closer to feminist Marxists.

Now, if that is how we should understand the Vuvalini, how can we make sense of Joe’s society? Joe, I believe, represents “modernity,” understood as the conditions we find in our own civilization. Joe represents a society that is built around social inequality, patriarchy, and the exploitation of labor. What we see in Joe’s society is not some Other, as Maher says, but our own society. Joe’s society is the funhouse mirror that accentuates our faults, highlights by exaggeration the problems in our own world.

Modernity vs. Tribalism? My ass. More like: feminist communism vs. patriarchal capitalism.

Claim: Max is a Jesus figure.

Oh. My. God.

This interpretation almost makes sense, in light of the factual inaccuracies highlighted above. If Max were the main hero of the movie, the main doer who led to the freedom of the wives and the flowing of the water, then it would make more sense. I wonder which came first: Maher’s assumption that Max is a Jesus figure, or his misremembering of the film’s contents.

The specific details Maher raises to support this interpretation are at least actually in the film. Max is, in fact, bound to some wooden planks. (Of course, his arms are not out, and he most certainly isn’t on a cross—and it would’ve been so easy for him to be presented on a cross, if that were intended!) He does, in fact, rise from the dust at one point. (Of course, it’s a further interpretation to read as him dying and being reborn in this scene.) His blood is, in fact, given to others to save their lives. But is this really the best interpretation of him?

My thoughts keep coming back again and again to something I saw upthread: there is an emphasis in this movie on the theme of umbilical cords. It’s the most prevalent item we seen from the stillborn child. When Max is hooked up as a bloodbag, there are two cords tying him to Nux: the blood cord (like an umbilical cord, giving life) and the metal chains (like an umbilical cord, wedding him to another). This is something we see emphasized over and over again, that we are tied to one another—sometimes, in ways that are nurturing and good, but sometimes, in ways that are enslaving and poisonous.

With that in mind, consider how Max’s blood is relevant. First, he is corded up to Nux, the cord of life-giving blood wrapped around a cord of soul-crushing, personhood-denying chain. This umbilical cord connecting Max to Nux is grotesque, horrific. It is a terrible infringement on Max’s humanity. It is him being treated as a thing to be consumed and discarded. It is horrific.

Next, consider how he becomes corded up to Furiosa, at the end. This, he freely chooses. No one asked him to do it. He recognized a need in Furiosa, and he willingly, unquestioningly, took on the responsibility to meet that need. He provided, because he wanted to, because he cared about her, because he recognized that he, as a human, could help her, as a fellow human. Here, it is beautiful. The transfer of blood, in this context, is intimate. It is kindness and love and deeply personal. When you first see Max hooked up as a bloodbag, you can’t imagine that this sort of set up could ever be a thing of good. And yet, at the end, it is. And note, this is when Max tells Furiosa (and those around) his name. This is when he truly gives himself to the group, allows them to meet him as a person. In this act of nurturing and goodness, he finds his humanity, his personhood. He is made whole (or more whole) through the giving of sustenance to another.

How best can we understand Max, then? In this movie about exploitation, slavery? In this movie about the vitality and value of personhood and the firm, unequivocal denial that people are ever things? I suggest he symbolizes a rape victim, in a far more useful and valuable interpretation than any bullshit built around treating him as a Jesus figure. In a movie about rape, he, symbolically, is yet another rape victim. He is made to suffer depersonalization, objectification, and the use of is body against his will, and this use of his body, we later learn, is something that is his to give freely, if he so chooses, and is beautifully and lovingly given when it is. His umbilical cord of blood shows how horrible this mistreatment of the body can be, when it is taken without consent, and how wonderful the use of it can be, when given freely by choice.

There is also an important extent to which he actively is a mother, as I think someone else mentioned above. It is, again, an umbilical cord: his blood, through this cord, brings life to another. I think it would be easy to go too far, interpreting this as a claim about the value of motherhood as some supreme good. I take it, instead, as a show of the value of nurturing, of protecting, of caring. When he gives life to Furiosa, he is nurturing her. Nurturing. He was broken and lost when the movie started, as he had lost all instinct but to survive as a solitary individual. Now, he is (partially) healed, upon locating that other most vital, most human instinct: to nurture another.

Of course, “Give life to another” is the sort of language we use when describing Gods. In a Christian worldview, it is God who is responsible for all life. Life is the gift he bestows upon us all. But we mustn’t forget that the sort of giving-of-life that Max provides is not godly but completely, deeply human. He gives life by giving blood, through cord, just as every pregnant woman gives life to her fetus. He is not Jesus, but a human like any woman is.

If we’re looking for Jesus stand-ins in this movie, there is somewhere far better to look: good ol’ Immortan Joe. Of course, he claims to be the father, rather than the son. But he also claims to be immortal. And remember how we first see him: we see him with his arms apart, as if he were on the cross, as his armor is put on and he then goes to greet the masses below. He claims to be able to grant eternal life to the Warboys. Their devotion to him is their salvation. He even uses the language of ‘anointing’, regarding the chrome paint they spray on their mouths. And don’t forget what the Warboys says: “I live, I die, I live again.” Sure, that could possibly be read as some sort of reincarnation slogan, but they specifically refer to living in an afterlife, in the heaven of Valhalla. If anyone is meant to be a Christ-figure in Mad Max, it has got to be Immortan Joe.

And he is the bad guy. He is the villain. The religion he promotes is a tool he uses to keep his slaves, his workers, loyal. There is much that could be said about this, but at this point I have written too much.

So, concluding thoughts. I think Maher’s analysis represents what you get if you try really, really hard to apply Weber’s work to Fury Road. I think it also represents what you get if you try to interpret Fury Road, without any appreciation for feminist political theory or the significance of the women in the film. It is a warped and misguided interpretation. There are such better, more fruitful, and more valuable interpretations available. Above all else, I believe it is important to interpret this movie, keeping in mind that it is about our society and that it is about women.

I am so sorry for all of this.
posted by meese at 4:43 PM on July 26, 2015 [57 favorites]


Good god that article is terrible. What was that person even watching?

Unrelated: Someone I follow on Twitter saw it the other day finally and pointed out how in a very real sense, Max plays what would normally be the femme fatale role in this movie. He's a key part of the action, but also kind of outside it. He kicks ass but his biggest badass moment is offscreen. He's there to look pretty and to spur the real hero (Furiosa of course) to further action. I'm a big noir person so that reading, which hadn't yet occurred to me, pleased me greatly.
posted by sparkletone at 4:57 PM on July 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Finally saw and loved this movie. Just filled up my Instapaper queue with links from this post.

Has anyone considered why the War Rig was left-hand-drive? Having just watched the previous three Mad Max movies, this stood out to me. It could be a special modification for Furiosa so she can shift and flip switches more easily with her right.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:13 AM on July 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ok, this is naughty, but I literally pressed the "Post" button when I realised that I wasn't sure what you meant. I originally posted this:

That's the side of the road they drive on in Australia.

But now I wonder whether you know that and the steering wheel is on the wrong side for Australia, in which case I don't know, but in Namibia ... they also drive on the left so that doesn't help at all.

I'm a bad boy, mea culpa.
posted by Grangousier at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2015


Yeah, in Australia they drive on the left ... with the driver's seat on the right hand side of the car (From the driver's perspective).

Furiosa sites on the left hand side of her war rig. Her left arm is prosthetic, and the left door has the awesome skeleton painting.

So maybe I used the wrong terminology? Driver's seat is on the left side, is what I meant. Unusual for Australia (and for the previous three Mad Max films).
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2015


Don't you dare apologize, meese. That is one hell of a comment. Thank you.
posted by brundlefly at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2015


(No, sorry TPAA - I shot off a comment, then edited it to backpedal when I realised that I hadn't understood what you meant properly and it was a bit terser than I'd intended. You may be right, but the fact that, thinking about it, having the driver on that side makes a lot more cinematic sense - as they're travelling right-to-left for most of the film - was very interesting. I seem to be going through an open-my-mouth-and-be-an-arse phase, and this was a part of that.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:56 PM on July 27, 2015


Yakkety Max.
posted by sparkletone at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mad Max Fury Road - Deleted Scenes. 3 scenes ripped from the Blu-Ray. Nothing amazing, but they're fully produced and interesting.
posted by Nelson at 4:21 PM on August 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


meese: If I could have favourited that comment more than once I totally would have.

I'm mildly obsessed with this movie. I made my husband watch it and I've seen it twice in quick succession. I still think about it weeks later and recommend it to everyone randomly. I didn't know I needed some action movie filled with a variety of female characters like this, but it turns out I really really did. I hope this starts some kind of trend.

So many women I identified with. On the outside I guess I'm a milk mother, but inside I'm a badarse wife. Both are good. High five to both Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, and to George Miller extra hard.
posted by shelleycat at 1:05 PM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been mulling over why I, and so many other women I know, really really loved Mad Max. At its most simplistic level I think it was a reclaiming of ground for me, and for many others. I don't really enjoy action films, and I certainly don't enjoy chase films or big cars. This film made me realise that there is nothing intrinsically boy about such subjects, that a boy film or a girl film is so much more a matter of whom the filmmakers are speaking to. Perhaps for the first time there was an action film, a good one, with neverending chase sequences and big cars, which was not just for the boys, but also for me, and which signalled to me that the director respected me and those sharing my gender as full viewers, and made a film for all of us without crass nods to market segmentation.
posted by tavegyl at 9:50 AM on August 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Cartooning the body.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:00 PM on August 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


We Are Not (Just) Things: Hair and Metal in Mad Max: Fury Road - "The real theme of the film is the resolution of an apparent ideological tension between a kind of collectivism or social utilitarianism on the one hand, and individualism on the other."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:15 PM on September 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Fury Road, hieroglyph edition
posted by fings at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


A theory about Max pops up in this i09 advice column:

Mad Max is immortal.

Now hear me out. First, when we meet Max Rockatansky in the first movie, society is on the verge of collapse. But, when we meet him in the fourth one, civilization has been gone so long that only the oldest people have any recollection of what life used to be like. Max remembers the “before times”, but he’s not old and decrepit like the rest who do. He and Furiosa appear to be about the same age and she barely remembers anything.

posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:01 PM on September 9, 2015


So what you're saying is that Max is rendered mad through repeated uses of Lazarus Pits?
posted by I-baLL at 3:27 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Max is kind of the Wandering Jew, isn't he?
posted by Nelson at 4:43 PM on September 9, 2015 [1 favorite]






Everything Wrong With Mad Max: Fury Road has been posted by the always awesome YouTube channel CinemaSins.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:27 AM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this use of the word "wrong"; is this video clip zero seconds long?
posted by Gin and Broadband at 6:19 PM on October 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


Everything Wrong With Mad Max: Fury Road has been posted by the always awesome YouTube channel CinemaSins.

17 seconds and it's easy to tell they either don't know what the fuck they're talking about or just trying to score cheap points. Possibly both.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:17 AM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The first thing is like "narrator is not the main character". Um. What? Also "narration" is a sin? They are basically just listing random stuff.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:07 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


17 seconds and it's easy to tell they either don't know what the fuck they're talking about or just trying to score cheap points. Possibly both.

This is pretty much the problem with the Everything Wrong... series. Once they ran out of completely incoherent films to do, they are stuck trying to squeeze 15 minutes of "comedy take down" out of movies that just don't have that much to attack unless you are willfully misunderstanding the film or crabbing about the film's central assumptions or points that are not addressed in the film but trivial to explain (why do the Warboys suddenly have hooks to grab Max with as he is trying to escape? I dunno; maybe they are stored inside the door to grab/manipulate that huge hook and anything that it's carrying?). "Every Picky Thing We Could Grab onto to Fill 15 Minutes" would be a better ame for the series. I remember enjoying them when they first came out, but the last 2-3 I have watched, I have turned off after a couple of minutes because they are really grasping at straws.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:45 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Their videos shouldn't be taken as criticism by and large. They do movies they like all the time, and people react to their stuff by saying exactly what's being said in this thread too. And they know it.

(This shouldn't be taken as an indicator that I like their videos as I find them not funny enough to be worth the time generally, but enh. Some reasons to dislike them are worse than others.)
posted by sparkletone at 3:54 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]




The International Federation of Film Critics vote MM:FR the best film of the year:

Miller beat out three other finalists for the best film honor: Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin and Jafar Panahi’s Taxi. The 2015 best film award was selected from among films that premiered after July 1, 2014. 493 FIPRESCI members – all international film critics -- voted for the award.


posted by Gin and Broadband at 9:51 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I like that golden retriever piece, and plus it mentions our Emotional Labor thread!
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:15 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




The Golden Globes nominations are out. Fury Road is up for Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Director.
posted by brundlefly at 12:23 PM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I finally found time to watch this movie yesterday. It was great!

It felt like Army of Darkness and The Mummy and Tank Girl and that Dragula music video by White Zombie all rolled up together.

I think the comment above about Joe's group being a funhouse mirror of our current society is so true. Anti-abortion folks sometimes comment on the fetus being the property of the man. The rock music fueled young men spurned on with adrenaline and violence. The gout ridden men. It was black humor at its finest.

Now I have to watch it again...
posted by jillithd at 2:01 PM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Banner year from Angus Sampson, who plays the field surgeon in this film. He was also Bear Gerhadt in Fargo.
posted by maxsparber at 9:22 PM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I kept wondering why he looked so familiar but not badly enough to go IMDb. Thanks for resolving that for me!
posted by sparkletone at 2:15 PM on December 22, 2015




An unbiased look at the Best Picture nominees of 2016. In which the author considers all the possible winners and why they are not as good as Mad Max. It's hilarious.

Also while I'm here, the Mad Max videogame is surprisingly good. Well the game itself is mediocre, middle-brow gameplay that's entertaining enough but nothing spectacular. But the game draws heavily from the backstory and source materials from the movie, so it has a very rich visual world with lots of fun outlandish characters. Also great voice acting.
posted by Nelson at 9:53 AM on January 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was out of the country when this came out, and felt like seeing it in illegally downloaded form on my boyfriend's laptop would probably lose something in translation. Fortunately, our local theater is awesome and shows all the Oscar Nominees again once nominations are out, so Wednesday night I saw this in 35mm in a giant theater with nobody else in the room.

It was so good! For all the reasons everyone said above! The design was just incredible (I really liked Furiosa's pedal that was originally one of the shoe size measuring things). I liked how evident the story was even though basically nothing was spelled out explicitly. I loved the way disability and health played such a complex role in society. I loved that there was a "strong female character" in the archetypal badass vein, and strong female characters who were hyper-femme and the mothers who were badass and feminine all at once. I loved that Nux and Max were important but by no means the drivers (hehe) of the story. The mothers did not want to be things.

Anyway, I was chatting with a male friend about how awesome it was and he said he thought it was too hyped, but really just a bunch of cliches and anyway, definitely not Oscar-worthy. And, like, it's no arthouse film, but it was a thematically complex story that was stylish and feminist and interesting in a way very few other movies I saw last year were. Oscar-winning films don't have to be stodgy. They can have explosions and pointy cars and flame shooting guitars!
posted by ChuraChura at 3:01 PM on January 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Wow, Fury Road is getting a lot of awards at the Oscars tonight.
posted by homunculus at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2016


A lot of the technical ones that they often give as consolation Oscars to genre films.
posted by Etrigan at 8:01 PM on February 28, 2016


It always bums me out when things like makeup and editing are considered "technical awards". These are artists who deserved their awards for their artistry.
posted by brundlefly at 11:13 PM on February 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


You're right. I meant that they require more technical knowledge than the "big" Oscars, but that did sound like I was being dismissive of the winners' achievements, and I apologize. I should have called them "below-the-line" awards.
posted by Etrigan at 6:46 AM on February 29, 2016


Oh, I didn't mean to call you out in particular. They ARE referred to as "technical" all the time. Mine is a broader complaint.
posted by brundlefly at 11:31 AM on February 29, 2016


Finally got around to see this. This is the best movie I have seen in a long, long time.

Between this and The Force Awakens, I'm glad that big-budget filmmakers are finally remembering that they work in a visual medium and can therefore use spectacular visuals to actually tell a story.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:09 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, Jenny Beavan deserves a bonus Oscar for wearing such a badass outfit while accepting her Oscar.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:09 AM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Caught up with the thread now. How the flaming fuck did some Marxist bozo watch this film and miss that Joe's crew is 100% the modern imperial-capitalist military-industrial complex? Joe extracts resources from The Earth and from Exploited Women, which he trades away to bloody GAS TOWN and THE BULLET FARM. Joe lives in THE CITADEL and wears bloody ARMY MEDALS ON HIS CHEST. The point-missing astonishes.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


I was talking to an older relative after the Oscars and she asked me what this Fury thing was. I had to explain that it was a violent action movie but it was a really REALLY good violent action movie. Then I raved about the editing for a while.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:38 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


tobascodagama, in my experience socialist film criticism* is almost always an exercise in confirmation bias.

* I single out "socialist" and "film" because those are things I'm more likely to read.
posted by brundlefly at 10:43 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I finally saw this the other day, and while I enjoyed parts of it a lot, my reaction was somewhat mixed.

And, like, it's no arthouse film, but it was a thematically complex story that was stylish and feminist and interesting in a way very few other movies I saw last year were.

This I agree with, though with some caveats. It was definitely stylish, though some of the more interesting parts (like the entire introduction section in the citadel, or the interactions with the motorcycle matriarchs) were rushed and cursory, giving most of the space to the car chase. I would have preferred more complexity and more time with the various character actors (which is one of the biggest pleasures in the three earlier Mad Max movies). I guess Hardy's inexpressive acting was an artistic decision, and it did help focus attention on Theron, but at the end of the day he wasn't much as Mad Max.

The feminism part was interesting. I liked that it was there at all, and it highlighted how almost all action movies just ignore it totally. The motorcycle matriarchs were great, and I wanted more time with them, and it was a real pleasure how Theron's character was permitted to be strong and competent without having to have one of those scenes where she drops her strength to become a sex object. The wives were more a mixed bag, which I assume was intentional -- they escape and paint "we are not things," but they also spend the entire movie dressed in cheesecloth and mostly spend it being led around and taken care of.

But simply that there were a bunch of women characters, most of them complex and interesting, and at no point simple romantic fodder for the male character, was so pleasant. It should be the norm, and hopefully this will help open that door.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:27 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


at the end of the day he wasn't much as Mad Max.

This wasn't a Mad Max film. It was a Imperator Furiosa film with a title that let it get made.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:42 AM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


This wasn't a Mad Max film. It was a Imperator Furiosa film with a title that let it get made.

I'll disagree with this. It's important to realize that none of the Mad Max films after the first is really about Max. He may be the main PoV character, but the story is about other peoples' struggles where Max wanders into the situation and generally gets bullied or duped into helping out. Then his reward is to leave and continue wandering rather than enjoying the culture that he has helped survive.

I think this goes back to the first film, where Max turns away from being a Man of Law and becomes a Man of Blood. For his vengeance, he forsakes Society, and his reward is to be cut off from society forever. This is repeated in Nux's arc, where he abandons his abusive society and finds a glimpse of a true society, becoming the only Warboy whose end is really Witnessed, because he's the only one who belonged to a society that cared for him as something other than a tool. So Nux gets the end that he wants, having glimpsed, as it were, the Promised Land, and Max likewise gets a look, but then has to move on because that's his curse.

Anyway, the films are driven by Max in a way, but they are really not ever about Max.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:56 PM on May 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


Yeah, that exactly. That's one of my favorite elements in the MAX sequels. It was funny how internet reactionaries were going bonkers about how Max was playing second fiddle to others (in this case women) and it was clear that they didn't know the franchise at all.

(To be clear, I realize that Dip Flash is not coming from that reactionary perspective at all.)
posted by brundlefly at 12:18 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I unironically love the first three movies and really just wanted more of the same attention to the character actors that those had, while also enjoying the feminism and other improvements.

It is interesting to imagine a movie focused just on Furiosa, without Max at all, and what that would allow in terms of the story.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:47 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


'Mad Max' Director George Miller Is Way Too Sane to Be a Mad Genius - interview at THR

"I was surprised we'd [gotten] 10 nominations," he says, "and I didn't have any expectations. I knew, having been before, to really temper expectations. People say, 'You're going to win!' and you don't. We had breakfast, just Margaret and I, and [talked about] very mundane things. Margaret is someone who never wears makeup, but she decided a makeup person should come along. She only bought her dress the day before. I said, 'Margaret, why don't you wear the same dress you wore to the BAFTAs?' And she said, 'People will have seen me.' "

The whole thing is delightful. What a dude.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 11:55 PM on May 15, 2016 [2 favorites]






If anyone's within driving distance of Columbus, OH around Thanksgiving, the Gateway Theater is going to be showing all four Mad Maxes in 35mm film Thursday-Sunday. It is going to be amazing.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:07 AM on October 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Movies with Mikey: Fury Road
posted by nubs at 9:28 AM on December 10, 2016




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