Mad Max Returns

Yesterday I went off to see the new Mad Max film with Len Wein and Chris Valada, her sister and son.  It gave me exactly what it promised, and I happen to really like the Mad Max movies though I realized last night that when I think Mad Max I’m really thinking about the second movie — The Road Warrior.  I often forget about the first film, Mad Max which didn’t have the sheer wonder and bizarre world that was presented in Road Warrior.

In some ways this recent film was an even more frightening look at the world.  Back in the 1970’s Road Warrior was a meditation about oil, a reaction to the recent oil embargo.  This one had much more of a general and terrifying environmental apocalypse feel with the soil “soured” as it’s phrased in the film, massive dust storms, rain that falls too fast and too hard and in the wrong places.  The marsh visual was one of the creepiest in the film for me.  And finally the lack of potable water.  Considering that we are already starting to see the result of drought — war in Syria and many countries in sub-Saharan Africa — this to me was one of the most disturbing things about the film.

It’s a fascinating script as well given that there is almost no dialog.  I’d be curious to know just how many words Tom Hardy actually uttered as Max.  Thirty?  Fifty?  It really is Furiosa’s movie and Charlize Theron’s intensity just burns off the screen.  The action was stupendous and virtually all of it practical which gave it far more power then the endless CGI battles that have become a staple of summer movies.

It was also weirdly comforting to me as regards my current book series.  I’m writing about a culture where women have once again been into very limited roles in society because of the inherent dangers involved in colonizing new planets.  I had worried that that would seem quaint today and that such a societal change could never happen (though even today there are many cultures in which women are grotesquely curtailed and oppressed).  Watching FURY ROAD just intensified my belief that when times get tough it may be that women will again only be valued for their ability to breed.  So yeah, I case the angry little Men’s Rights guys were right that this was a deeply feminist movie.  That’s one of the things that gave the film it’s power.  So deal with it, boys.

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