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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Not being a fan of generic apocalypses, I've been a fan of this series since I was a lad. They'd always managed to inject enough imagination to make these interesting. This one was no exception.

Mad Max is captured by Immortan Joe's War Boys and made a living Blood Bag for one his boys. Meanwhile, Furiosa tries to lead Immortan Joe's Breeders to a new life. After a car chase, Furiosa and Mad Max find one another uneasy allies, needing to use each other to their own ends.

Perhaps its greatest strength is its SFnal-ness, its scraps of world-building. The common people shout "V8!" The names invite a telling reading: Rictus, Furiosa, Immortan Joe, Breeders, Blood Bag, War Boys.

The heart-thumping visuals stun viewers equally.  A race alongside a giant tornado. Elaborate bone masks, with respirators, outlandish costumes and makeup. Shot of water cascading off a cliff into the desert.

The pacing is relentless, almost too much, yet the plotting sparks originality and cleverness, looping back upon itself for a more satisfying closure.

What works less well is the dialogue, excluding aforementioned world-building: "Treason! Betrayal!" etc. Since the dialogue is minimal, it gets a bye.

The world ecology does not make sense. If only one place in the world is capable of producing food, what was left of the population would congregate there and only. There'd be no separate bands and little roaming. A splash of water would not be enough to keep the common folk alive. They would either storm the citadel themselves or died inside two to four weeks. It would be foolish not to try to expand one's farming area, or else people would not be interested in breeding except as recreation.

If they live on half the average American's yearly diet--1000 lbs--how many acres would they need per person? How many persons can this "citadel" actually sustain?

They have war rigs, but what for? They seem to be at least nominal friends with their neighbors.

Where did that huge tornado come from? While tornadoes are not unheard of in Australia, they are not as common. Moreover, it requires warm and cold air masses, so how did this one grow so large?

Why does Furiosa have an American accent?

The main criticism, in terms of story, is that Mad Max is a sidekick. This should actually be Furiosa's story. It misleads viewers in its title and in starting with Mad Max. The main thread is Furiosa's. We should follow her more. Mad Max is the B story.

Despite these criticisms, it is worth watching. I probably lean toward IMDB's 8.3/10 rating, rather than Rotten Tomato's 97%.

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