Pretty much this whole last week I’ve been sick. Fortunately it seems to have been merely the common cold; it doesn’t seem to be progressing towards a bout of bronchitis. Still, a common cold can take it out of you. Thursday I started improving; Friday I was well enough that I decided to go see “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
My simple review: if you liked “Mad Max” or “The Road Warrior”… get on over to the theater and see “Fury Road.” This movie is *bonkers.* It’s very clearly the product of a gloriously twisted mind and a whole lot of skill, talent and effort. It was, in a word, damned entertaining.
When I got home I decided to look up the reviews. On the whole people seem to agree. But I also noticed a degree of politicization that I didn’t actually get from the movie. People on both the left and the right are yammering on about how this is a “feminist” movie. And… I don’t get it.
The short form is this (it’s a Mad Max movie… the short form is all it takes to describe the plot): Max gets caught at the beginning of the flick, and taken to “The Citadel,” which is a lone outpost with a bunch of cancer and mutation-riddled folk, living in some sort of mucked-up new and rather unfortunate civilization. While there, the gloriously named Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a driver of a “war rig” (basically a tanker truck with a lot of mods) takes off on a run to outlying outposts. With her are four or five other women that she has liberated; they were being used as baby factories by the tyrant of the Citadel, the incredibly creepy Immortan Joe. For reasons difficult to explain, Max gets dragged along as Joe and his band of freaks give chase to get the women back. And… there ya go. An hour and a half of chasing around the Namibian desert follows, with many spectacular car crashes.
Max is… Max. The actor may have changed, but the character is much the same; he’s not wussified in any way. Imperator Furiosa is a badass, and in their travels they encounter a band of impressively badass little old ladies. This, I gather, is the source of the “feminist” yammerings. But it seems to me that if you accept the premise of the world of Mad Max, that civilization has collapsed and the environment has gone to hell due to radioactive fallout, all of these sorts of roles seem likely. When TSHTF, it’ll be the strong preying on the weak. And thus an Immortan Joe-type will rise to power in his little corner, and the idea of using the rare healthy breeding age woman for breeding purposes will likely seem to make a whole lot of sense. It won’t be a pleasant world for womenfolk. And for those women who are outside of these little clusters of “civilization,” they will either learn how to be badass, or they’ll soon find themselves victims. This, of course, will be true for men as well.
Still… here we have an opportunity for people to politicize something that’s probably not political. And so you get stuff like THIS, where people who haven’t seen the movie pronounce it liberal propaganda, and other people who haven’t seen it decide to not see it based on those pronouncements.
And so they’ll miss out on one hell of an entertaining flick, with one terribly wacko villain.
One issue I did have with the movie: the timeframe. This movie is, I gather, a reboot rather than a sequel. But Max still mentions that he once was a cop. He’s not that old, so his time as a cop could not have been much more than a decade or so earlier, which means there was still a functional civilization a decade or so earlier. But there seem to be people middle aged and older who were born into this new and rather awful world. The evidence suggests that the fall of civilization was something that happened *generations* ago (Furiosa was kidnapped as a child, and at the time was a member of some “clan” or other; Joe has a son, Rictus Erectus, who is genetically flawed… and played by a guy who’s older than I am). So what we’re seeing aren’t people struggling to survive the Apocalypse… the Apocalypse is *over.* What we’re seeing are the civilizations arising from the ashes of the old one. And wow, these are some bugnuts civilizations. As I would pretty much expect under the circumstances.