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lazygecko

Mad Max: Fury Road

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You need to go see this movie if you haven't already. Was a big fan of Road Warrior for most of my life, and I had been anticipating a new Mad Max for about as long as the internet rumors were circulating. Still, I went into this mostly blind without obsessing over pre-release media and production info/rumors as hyped movie fans tend to do these days. All I wanted was more Mad Max with post-apoc car chases and that would have been totally fine. What I got was way beyond anything I could have imagined. Everything was cranked to 11 with wacky ridiculousness yet somehow still manages to make sense within the world. The action and cinematogrophy puts modern CGI- and shakycam-laden filmmaking practices to shame. I shed tears while watching just because it was so damn good. It grabbed me in a way that no other spectacle-driven movie of this century has done. Whether that be action, superheroes, sci fi or epic fantasy.

 

Go see it just for this guy if nothing else:

 

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I've been waiting for this thread...Yeah the movie is mostly spot on for a Post-apocolycpitc genre and I feel it fits nicely above Mad Max BtT, below Road Warrior and slightly lower than the Original. That having been said, I feel the gimmicky 3d effects could have been done without, and funny you should say the guitar flamethrower guy, that guy did nothing but pull me out of the experience...Ok so fuel is in short supply, a staple of the Mad Max universe, buuuut ok here's a guitarist? On a built stage? Spewing flames? While Driving? Yeah that's not really something I'd image would occur in a petrol deprived future...

        I thought to use of story telling, where it's not explicit ala " You killed my father (DUN-DUN-DUUUUUNNNNNN)" but more subtle with each individual having an understandable motivation and the well thought out mythos, with the shreds of a former civilization weaved cleverly into the mythology of Cult of the V8. Yep haven't seen an action movie that's worth another viewing in awhile, so this one is definitely a go and see, if you haven't already. 

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Haven't seen it, but the guy who wrote this movie's script used to write for "Reboot", a Canadian TV series back in the 90s. He penned an episode that was an homage to Mad Max called "Bad Bob". I'm told the plot of Fury Road is more or less the same as that Reboot episode.

 

See for yourself

 

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Haven't seen it, but the guy who wrote this movie's script used to write for "Reboot", a Canadian TV series back in the 90s. He penned an episode that was an homage to Mad Max called "Bad Bob". I'm told the plot of Fury Road is more or less the same as that Reboot episode.

 

I'm going to see this movie today because of this post.

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I've been waiting for this thread...Yeah the movie is mostly spot on for a Post-apocolycpitc genre and I feel it fits nicely above Mad Max BtT, below Road Warrior and slightly lower than the Original. That having been said, I feel the gimmicky 3d effects could have been done without, and funny you should say the guitar flamethrower guy, that guy did nothing but pull me out of the experience...Ok so fuel is in short supply, a staple of the Mad Max universe, buuuut ok here's a guitarist? On a built stage? Spewing flames? While Driving? Yeah that's not really something I'd image would occur in a petrol deprived future...

 

Right... but it's a cult. Cults often expend resources, even when resources are scarce, in the course of ritual & to heighten the "experience" - I suppose it might even add legitimacy to seemingly-superfluous things (like flamethrowing guitarists) that they are intentionally done with the knowledge that scarce resources will be consumed in the process. If there's no cost to the pomp & circumstance, it might seem hollow?

 

If you watch movies looking for anything that might be anachronistic or implausible, I personally think you should focus on the bigger-ticket stuff that's integral to the plot. In this case, I think I've provided an adequate potential explanation that jives with anthropological understandings of cults... instead of a human sacrifice, it's like a gasoline sacrifice... an ostentatious showing of power meant to intimidate partly because of the resources it consumes. You also see this type of display in nature, usually as part of sexual selection...

 

And on that note, I do think the guitar (especially in light of its pyrotechnic ejaculations AND eventual fate) is a pretty transparent phallic symbol...

 

So the guitar is a wang that shoots fire... a wasteful, insane, indulgent display of masculinity and blind rage. I don't think that's a stretch, given the emphasis on what happens to it (one of the 3D effects, too!) in the end...

 

I'd love to get into a lengthy discussion about the ways the film could be interpreted as "feminist" - I put the word in quotes only because, along with "feminism", it tends to get interpreted at least two different ways. Anyone have thoughts on that topic?

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I loved it as a piece of modern movie making. I enjoyed the over-the-top aspects of the movie because they felt unique and not a rehash of other apocalyptic movies. Sure its not realistic, but its not meant to be.  I personally thought the casting/acting was excellent for what they were aiming for. Also the concept of an almost movie length chase was pretty cool. Im sad Max never got his car back though. 

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I actually disliked the movie too. 

 

It had so much potential, the character and costume design was amazing, the action was impeccable, the way the film tells you a story without the need of narration through little details, (the way they spray chrome in their mouths as a ritual to get prepared to enter Valhalla, the way they view fighting as something divine, worshiping their steering wheels), the soundtrack was awesome..

 

But then a 2 and a half hour action car chase with barely any plot.. It became repetitive and boring for me quick. Not my type of movie

 

 

 

I'd love to get into a lengthy discussion about the ways the film could be interpreted as "feminist" - I put the word in quotes only because, along with "feminism", it tends to get interpreted at least two different ways. Anyone have thoughts on that topic?

 

 

I definitely see how this movie can be labeled as feminist. I think the director wanted to break the mold of the overdone style of movie where the female is always saved by the male (where they eventually develop a relationship), deaths are treated in slow motion with a lot of emphasis, etc. It was cool to see one of the mothers fall down and die, and the movie just kept going. It didn't slow down to let it "sink in", and didn't add any typical sad music.

 

Also no ageism. An old woman can be a badass warrior too, which was really cool.

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Even going into this movie having heard the complaints about feminist agenda beforehand, it was never something that really actively registered with me. It's just something I don't think about and nearly a complete non-factor.

An interesting angle was also brought up when Jim Sterling's podcast was discussing the film. I consider this movie to be in the same eschelon as unanimous action classics like Aliens and Terminator 2, which was echoed in the podcast, but the coincidence also brought up was that both of these films also feature very prominent female action heroes.

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Even going into this movie having heard the complaints about feminist agenda beforehand, it was never something that really actively registered with me. It's just something I don't think about and nearly a complete non-factor.

An interesting angle was also brought up when Jim Sterling's podcast was discussing the film. I consider this movie to be in the same eschelon as unanimous action classics like Aliens and Terminator 2, which was echoed in the podcast, but the coincidence also brought up was that both of these films also feature very prominent female action heroes.

 

I've heard people supposedly boycotting the film over this, but from what I've heard those arguments over it are overblown and silly. Most have just said there's a sense of feminism, but since I've not seen it I wouldn't say for sure.

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Right... but it's a cult.

Yeah, but as a Mad Max movie it felt very out of place. It felt like the filmmakers were trying to be cool and made themselves just too cool for school. I get the ostentatiousness display as a sort of (Dis?)honest signaling, but it reminds me too much when like the villain cuts themselves with a blade to show how fearless they are, just seems too over the top not a functional apart of the movie mythology ...it just doesn't seem like something that would exists in the Mad Max Universe to be more precise. I guess its when a director tries to change some part of the universe that doesn't seem to fit congruently, like in Aliens franchise, if the Xenomorphs started talking (which almost happened) I would feel confused and upset. I suppose someone could say "yeah, but they're evolving to better survive by using language!"  Yeah, that's very logical...but it would just seem gimmicky and it seems the better aspects of the mythology are the one's that are left up to the viewer to figure out without going in to the details of it, as if the shattered remnants of the world are punctuated by the shattered take on history, like for me I feel like they didn't actually find old Norse Mythology, but found those hyper-masculine 1980's metal bands and parlayed them into a religion or cult for Immortal Joe's own purpose. Speaking of hyper-masculine...

 

 

 

I'd love to get into a lengthy discussion about the ways the film could be interpreted as "feminist"

 

 

I feel that designation is very apropos. One of the main tenants of Feminism, to my understanding, is that historically the male sex has established a system that disenfranchise females who don't fulfill the male perspective of what a female should or shouldn't do or be. So in the 1950's by not hiring females, the only viable way for a female to exist would be to depend on a male or lead a hard life. This is very much the case, the females are either used for breeding or used as wet nurses for any offspring the Alpha Male produces. Any female who attempts to live out side that has a hard life existing in the male dominated War Rig(?) driving or the polluted desert. The women living outside the realm of Immortal Joe seemed more independent and able to exist without the aid of a male, albeit a harder life. Joe a chauvinistic male who hordes the resources for his own desire, I doubt very much Joe had any intention of returning the world to a preapocalyptic state, he may have even been one of the engineer's of the apocalypse, as he is shown to have medals and his name of the Colonel in some references. So he, as a male, is benefiting from the suffering of those around him, the desperation of the people, as a way to secure reproductive rights with females who are clearly dissatisfied with being labeled property and used solely for breeding. Also this plays up the very male dominated, tendency of a male dominated cults for the old men using the young men's sacrifice or exile to secure their genetic lineage ( see sons of perdition), where as there seems to be less exploitation among the female, Amazonian-esqu tribe, with less focus on passing on their individual genes and more focus on group survival as apposed to any one individual being the lone one who gets to reproduce, by the fact they are hoping to replant the many long dead plants, as apposed to fighting to see who gets to reproduce. 

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I think the guy was also supposed to be the morale boost.  Considering the wackyiness of previous films, I don't think he was too out of place.  I have a friend who wished Miller would have brought the gyrocopter guys back or at least another flying vehicle.

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Literally just got back from the theater.

 

Movie was garbage. I have never found myself leaving a theater so full of regret

 

 

And on that note, I do think the guitar (especially in light of its pyrotechnic ejaculations AND eventual fate) is a pretty transparent phallic symbol...

 

So the guitar is a wang that shoots fire... a wasteful, insane, indulgent display of masculinity and blind rage. I don't think that's a stretch, given the emphasis on what happens to it (one of the 3D effects, too!) in the end...

 

I think they just put that in the movie because

 

"Hey, you know what would be wicked?"

 

"What?"

 

"If a dude had a guitar that was a freakin' flamethrower!"

 

"OMFG YES" 

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I'm going to see this movie today because of this post.

 

movie of the year I loved it oh my god

 

also this isn't a feminist movie because "it stars a woman", it's feminist because it's literally, transparently, about smashing the patriarchy

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Literally just got back from the theater.

 

Movie was garbage. I have never found myself leaving a theater so full of regret

 

 

I think they just put that in the movie because

 

"Hey, you know what would be wicked?"

 

"What?"

 

"If a dude had a guitar that was a freakin' flamethrower!"

 

"OMFG YES" 

 

Hey, if that helps you enjoy the movie more, stick with that interpretation :) Doesn't sound like it did, though... anyways, to me, there are plenty of signals that are ultimately rather overt that suggest more thought was put into it all than simply "OH DUDE THAT'S SO COOL!!"

 

Part of the brilliance of the film is that it undermines its own badassery - you're definitely supposed to have that "OMFG YES!!" moment when The Doof Warrior pops up, and if you don't get beyond that, it still works as entertainment, but... well, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a guitar is just a guitar, but framed in this context, I think it's pretty freakin' Freudian...

 

movie of the year I loved it oh my god

 

also this isn't a feminist movie because "it stars a woman", it's feminist because it's literally, transparently, about smashing the patriarchy

 

A little too transparently, at one or two points.

 

Having seen it twice now, I think it overplays this angle & smashes viewers over the head with it specifically with the old woman's bag of seeds. Yes, yes, yes, we GET it... women = life.... men = death.... life good, death bad.... creation > destruction... I think this was all clearly conveyed WITHOUT the need for an ADDITIONAL symbol; bag of seeds felt silly to me the first time, and my second viewing confirmed: wasn't necessary, felt condescending and manufactured. Minor nitpick, in the grand scheme of things, but I would have cut it. It lessens the film in its crude & redundant symbolism.

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Having seen it twice now, I think it overplays this angle & smashes viewers over the head with it specifically with the old woman's bag of seeds. Yes, yes, yes, we GET it... women = life.... men = death.... life good, death bad.... creation > destruction... I think this was all clearly conveyed WITHOUT the need for an ADDITIONAL symbol; bag of seeds felt silly to me the first time, and my second viewing confirmed: wasn't necessary, felt condescending and manufactured. Minor nitpick, in the grand scheme of things, but I would have cut it. It lessens the film in its crude & redundant symbolism.

 

Just saw it for a third time today, and I started to look more for this stuff rather than just awe at the amazing action and excellent details. I didn't feel like I was hit over the head with a smashing the patriarchy theme, though I see why others might feel that way. There's a short conversation that the breeders have with the Vuvalini along the lines of "so you all kill people just like everyone else" and the old woman brags about what a good shot she is. Even Furiosa seems like she wants to kill but is held back by the breeders. Both sides are willing to kill with no hesitation to survive, and what separates them is that Joe is willing to enslave. So I saw the anti-slavery theme as a stronger theme, especially since that was the tie between the women, Max, and arguably Nux, who I think treats himself as a slave to Joe. I agree with you that the bag of seeds was heavy-handed and didn't add much except paint the good guys in a better light because they're environmentalists or something. Wasn't even needed in the plot. I like the movie more when the righteousness of the good guys is demonstrated through their teamwork and their ability to outlive the bad guys.

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I suppose I should explain why I hated the movie instead of just saying I hate it. I really get the vibe at this point that the whole "look how awesomely feminist this movie is!" thing is veiling some fairly obvious flaws in the movie. Spoilers to follow.

 

1) You'd think I'd find a balls-to-the-wall, completely over the top action film fun, and usually I do, but this time it bored me. Because most of the same faceless enemies being thrown at the protagonists and getting killed in basically the same way again and again. You can only watch people throw exploding spears at spike cars so many times before it loses its effect.

 

2) This film has some of the most one-dimensional characters I've seen in an action film in forever. Tom Hardy also has the presence of an old, country-road mailbox. It's there, but the only reason you even care about its existence is because sometimes, the plot demands you go get the mail. You really don't care if some dumb kids shoot it hell with a .22 as long as it's empty, though and it's usually pretty empty. Max could've been completely written out of this film in 20 minutes and it would make no difference at all.

 

3) The villain's stupidity surpasses Bond villains and that is saying something. "Oh shit, I have all these faceless mooks, but I somehow left my Citadel undefended!" Yeah...okay. I get that his "breeders" were so important to him, but still. This feels like a half-ass reason for them to turn back and keep the action going because I don't think there was anyone in the theater who didn't see "the green-place is gone" coming.

 

Yet it was all still somehow more believable than Furious 7.

 

It just bugs me that this film is getting so much praise, when other action films which are just as or even less guilty of these cliches and things that are usually considered "flaws" in movies are bashed by critics relentlessly. How this film managed to get better overall critical reception than John Wick just blows my mind. 

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Just saw it for a third time today, and I started to look more for this stuff rather than just awe at the amazing action and excellent details. I didn't feel like I was hit over the head with a smashing the patriarchy theme, though I see why others might feel that way.

 

I wouldn't have seen it again or raved about it myself if I felt like it was blunt, didactic, and/or overbearing thematically. With the exception of the bag of seeds and maybe a couple other moments/lines adding up to MAYBE a full minute of material, I think it was handled very well. I nevertheless do think the themes were quite explicitly there; they were just easy to look past (or at least not dwell upon at length) given the frenetic pacing & amazing action.

 

There's a short conversation that the breeders have with the Vuvalini along the lines of "so you all kill people just like everyone else" and the old woman brags about what a good shot she is. Even Furiosa seems like she wants to kill but is held back by the breeders. Both sides are willing to kill with no hesitation to survive, and what separates them is that Joe is willing to enslave.

 

...yeah, but that short conversation is the one that involved the bag of seeds. And she explains - "back then, everyone had their fill" (or something like that) - back then, you didn't HAVE to kill people. That was before (drumroll) ...the world was killed. By men.

 

"Who killed the world?" is rather explicitly painted on the walls of the breeder place when Joe barges in and discovers them missing, and is again recited as a line of dialog. I'm fairly sure the answer is: men. Also on the walls: "Our babies will not be warlords" - I think you're conflating slavery in the abstract with the very specific form of reproductive slavery - to me, a stand-in for reproductive rights in general - that's actually playing out. Give it some thought.

 

So I saw the anti-slavery theme as a stronger theme, especially since that was the tie between the women, Max, and arguably Nux, who I think treats himself as a slave to Joe. I agree with you that the bag of seeds was heavy-handed and didn't add much except paint the good guys in a better light because they're environmentalists or something. Wasn't even needed in the plot. I like the movie more when the righteousness of the good guys is demonstrated through their teamwork and their ability to outlive the bad guys.

 

I think the "green place," and the bag of seeds, and the many mothers, and the emphasis on reproductive rights, and the "Who killed the world?" refrain, and the depiction of men as (almost unilaterally) unreasonable and selfish religious nuts, and the depiction of women as (almost unilaterally) reasonable and compassionate individuals uniquely capable of seeing past Joe's BS and having emotions and what not adds up to something a bit more than just "bad guys vs. good guys," as you've laid it out. I don't think it's a stretch - I think it's rather explicit, actually - but like I said, I also think it's handled really well, offers a refreshing change of pace for this genre, and makes it all feel a bit new (in addition to the stylized, fantastic directing) without really proselytizing.

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Though there is a lot of room for interpretation here, I feel like most of the labels people keep placing on this movie stem mostly from the absences of any concrete story line, Drive vehicle from A to B avoiding antagonists(...hmmm...that about sums of much of what makes the Mad Max franchise good) not to say it's poorly written, just the room for interpretation is usually the hallmark of good art. Maybe it's a retelling of the Vietnam War? Maybe I saw a critique on the War on Terror? Placing a label of Feminist simply because it had a female protagonist and some strong female leads, seems myopic. Bad guys always seem to be stealing women and (metaphorically) tying them to railroad tracks this is nothing new to storytelling, but having a female lead who isn't fawning over someone else or waiting to be recused is a more uncommon female protagonist. 

 

I think they just put that in the movie because

 

"Hey, you know what would be wicked?"

 

"What?"

 

"If a dude had a guitar that was a freakin' flamethrower!"

 

"OMFG YES" 

 

 It's good to feel some vindication on that one...

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