“Who was more crazy? Me, or everyone else?”
By: Brian Tallerico
The author of the article talks about the film Mad Max: Fury Road in the general sense, praising its pacing, special effects, and the exciting experience it offers to the viewers while there is not much of a plot, but “one long sustained chase.” In the article, the author also emphasizes the well-fitting cast and Miller’s contribution to transforming post-apocalyptic genre in the movies, citing his past successes with the Mel Gibson franchise and the current attempt to release a thrilling product.
The author of the article mentions how Miller transformed the post-apocalyptic films in the past and stated that the current film is a success, but there is no mentioning of which post-apocalyptic elements work best to make the film work and make it appealing to mass audiences. The review also fails to emphasize how the chase is shaped by the post-apocalyptic setting and how it turns an otherwise common movie chase into an exhilarating experience. The film turned out to be remarkable not because of the quality of the special effects or the thrilling presentation of the events on the screen. It is the post-apocalyptic setting that shapes all events and characters and defines the laws of this world in the conditions of almost absent water and gasoline.
The world has seen all possible kinds of interpreting the world in its post-apocalyptic stage. The world of Mad Max takes a grim approach citing the energy crisis, lack of water, global warming, and the entire planet turning into the desert, in which hardly anyone can survive. The author of the review mentions that George Miller managed to transform post-apocalyptic entertainment with “visceral stunt work and singular vision of an increasingly desperate future.” The later is an especially important component that makes the world of Mad Max so appealing. Lack of primary resources makes the life of humans desperate and drives towards radical action, which seems to be beyond capabilities of an average human nowadays within the normal world we know and are accustomed to. The film translates the feeling of despair well by showing limitless deserts with not a single bit of green growth or any body of water. Moreover, people are also shown to be in a desperate position in Joe’s Citadel where they have to work to live (be given water every day in return for their day’s work). Such desperation makes the situation of the characters more acute, and there is a deeper understanding that their desperate actions are perfectly warranted and make sense within the conditions they exist. It might seem unlikely or crazy that Furiosa drives the right into the sandstorm, which is shown on the screen as the dark orange continuous whirlwind of never stopping destructive chaos, against which only heavy-duty machinery can still stand. However, within the setting of post-apocalyptic hopelessness and Immortan Joe’s ubiquitous power, it is understandable why she goes for such a desperate action.
The color plays a highly important role in the film. Everything is in warm colors (except for night scenes) to underline the absence of growth and water. The world of Mad Max is orange and yellow, and the sky barely seems to be blue in comparison. There is also the physical dimension to the fleeing party’s hopeless escape. The director constantly employs such points of view where the chase is shown from bird’s eye height, so that the viewers could fully comprehend how near the fleeing party is from their chasing adversary.
The post-apocalyptic setting also frames the personalities of the characters. Neither Furiosa nor Mad Max says much. Their world is destined for quick decisions and lightning speed actions – both are instrumental for their survival. They are still filled with emotions and worries just like any human being, but the dialogues in this film are kept to a minimum to emphasize the level of hardship that these people have gone through. Ironically, most of the dialogues are the yells between the opposing parties whenever they appear to be near each other during the lengthy chase.
The post-apocalyptic landscape can be “an expression of two converse impulses: the terrifying contemplation of the space of the world after the nuclear war and the exhilaration that this black canvas is the stage for feats of adventure and heroism” (Williams, 301). The author, when reviewing arguably the least successful part of the original trilogy of the franchise, accurately points out that post-apocalyptic element serves as the cornerstone for the entire story, personality of characters and, most importantly, their motivation to act without reservations, basing their decisions on instincts and sometimes pure luck.
Another highly interesting element is the feminist view on the society because the prisoners are the beautiful women destined to be breeders for the gruesome leader of the gang. The entire crux of the chase is that Charlize Teron’s character chooses to betray the leader and subsequently “defends and liberates a group of enslaved women” (D’Erasmo, 97). This is yet another side to the post-apocalyptic setting: how it would change our society and which groups would suffer the most. Incredibly, the film shows both sides: a strong woman who finds enough bravery within herself to go against the entire gang, and the helpless women defined solely by their beauty while other traits of their character are either not needed or disregarded.
The film works incredibly well with its ability to establish a chase that lasts almost throughout the entire film. It smartly implements special effects and stunning camera work for the most exhilarating actions scenes. Moreover, it uses perspective and physical distance to give the chase precise physical dimensions. Moreover, the film even manages to make use of social distance, which becomes highly significant as radically different people try to co-exist together within the tight confines of the war rig. However, none of these positive elements would work well, unless if it was not for the post-apocalyptic setting, which the film uses to its fullest potential. There is hopelessness, lacking resources, and gruesome competition for survival. This glance into one of the many possible futures is what makes the film genuinely appealing nowadays and would make it so in the future.
D’ERASMO, STACEY. “After The World Ends.” Mississippi Review, vol. 43, no. 3,
2016, pp. 97–111. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/44505041.
Tallerico, Brian. Mad Max: Fury Road. Roger Ebert Online, 2015, Web.
Williams, Paul. “Beyond ‘Mad Max III:” Race, Empire, and Heroism on Post
Apocalyptic Terrain.” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 32, no. 2, 2005, pp. 301
315. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4241349.