Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mad Max Fury Road Review

Mad Max has become a hot topic in the alt-right for various reasons, including that it is some type of feminist movie. I saw it last night so here's my take.

This looks like another feminist/leftist fail, if that was the intent. When you have a distorted world view, you don't realize how other people perceive your message. One of the best cases is Rorschach from the Watchmen, who was supposed to be the most villainous character, but ended up being the hero to many readers. The author wanted the guy who killed millions of people to be the sorta hero of the story, not the character who died to try to stop him.

In this case, there's definitely a feminist overtone to the villain: he's milking women and treating them as property. If he controlled oil instead of water, he'd look a lot like an Arab despot. There are a lot of female characters in the movie, sort of Golden Girls with guns. So I can see all the feminist parts, but it is really very thin. Charlize Theron is also supposed to be able to kick everyone's butt, absurd, but nothing new.

On the other hand, the entire movie is a car chase with short scenes of non-car chase in between, which is hardly feminist. It is Max who comes up with the final plan to defeat the bad guy, and without him they would have failed. It actually comes off as anti-feminist: there's all these women, but it takes one of Max (and another male character) to bring them to victory. Max is needed to rescue all these women and topple the bad guy.

What I really didn't like: it wasn't a Mad Max movie. It was a movie about these women escaping and Mad Max was a character in the movie, but it wasn't his story. After 30 years, I thought we'd get a new Max-centered story.

In the first two Mad Max movies, Max is dealing with barbarians destroying the remains of the old world, feeding off its destruction. Max fights for those who want to save what's left of civilization.

In the new movie, the villain has rebuilt some civilization. He's pumping water from underground, growing crops and has a functional military. Instead of a mob of barbarians attacking, they're organized. The villain is keeping young women (his harem) for reproduction of healthy, mutation free babies amid a post-nuclear wasteland. In other words, he's not trying to tear down civilization, but rebuild some semblance of one. He's a bad guy, but it doesn't have the same feel as the first movies. I don't remember Thunderdome too well, but it seems far more anarchic in my memories, more like a war lord sitting on top of the chaos as opposed to building an ordered society, however twisted that order may be.

With shades of the end of Elysium, at the end of the movie the water is turned on and allowed to flow without restriction. Immediately I thought: they're going to run out of water.

The world of Mad Max is highly K-selected. The villain and Max are both K-selected, but at the end, Max abandons the rabbits he set free. You know how it will end.

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