Friday, July 10, 2015
Mad Max: Fury Road (a movie review post)
But that thing about Max not being the protagonist is an issue. I mean, as a Mad Max movie, we ought to care about the character and his goals, but he doesn't seem to have any goals other than, eventually, the co-opted goal of helping the actual protagonist, Imperator Furiosa.
A lot of people have been going on about Charlize Theron in the role of Furiosa, and, I have to say, I just don't get it. I mean, she was fine, but she wasn't any kind of amazing nor did she do with the part anything that a dozen other actresses couldn't have done.
However, Nicholas Hoult, in a part that, although important, seems a bit of a throwaway was amazing. Of the characters in the movie, Nux was the only one I came to care about enough that I felt compelled to root for. Nicholas Hoult is an actor I am with whom I am increasingly impressed, so he was a nice discovery in this movie (because I had not paid attention enough to know that he was in it before I saw it).
The other surprise was Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as The Splendid Angharad. She's all the more impressive in her role for the simple fact of being impressive in the first place. It's obvious that she, along with the rest of the breeder wives, were thrown in as eye candy, and the other four do nothing more than fulfill that expectation, but Huntington-Whiteley brought a certain amount of attitude to the role that made her stand out. I didn't think much of her after her stint in Transformers, but maybe she's someone to keep an eye on. Considering she's only done two movies so far, I'll guess we'll have to wait and see.
Now, it seems almost wrong to talk about the story, because there's almost no story. There might even be too much story. The story amounts to, "Oh, we need to escape. Oh, we need to go back and take over." It is only there to give a semi-plausible reason to have the various cars chase each other through the desert and have mayhem. That's fine, as far as it goes. Likewise, it seems wrong to point out any stupidity within said think fabric of story, but there was one thing that really bugged me, bugged me through the whole movie: the whole blood transfusion thing. The thing in and of itself was fine, if it had been done correctly. The idea is that blood is being drained from Max into Nux, so the needle in Max should be in an artery going into a vein in Nux. [Also, since there was no way to get blood back to Max, he should have been dead within, oh, minutes, but, not only does he not get weak from blood loss, he seems to be perfectly fine throughout the whole procedure.] At the point when the line is finally cut, blood should have gone spraying everywhere but, not only does that not happen, it doesn't seem that there is any blood leakage at all.
Oh, yeah, the whole thing with the breeder wives down the whole "car wash" scene (without a car) where they're spraying water all over themselves also bothered me. Um, water is the most precious thing in their world, and they're spraying it all over the desert so they can look all sexy in their white bride rags. So, yeah, I get the director was going for the visual stimulus, but it was dumb.
The movie, really, is about the visuals. I think, if he could, he would just have the cars chasing each other and doing their thing without any story at all, and, honestly, that might be better. That's what people who want to see it want to see. It's like... car porn. The story is only there to give an excuse for the rest of it to happen.
And I wish I had liked it. It's not that I didn't like it, but I didn't like it. On the one hand, there was the the vehicle that I'm going to call the "band mobile." The rear was a huge set up of drums, and there was a blind(?) guitar player hanging from the front. Visually, it was cool. The dude playing the guitar in the midst of all of that was really cool. As long as I didn't think about it; if/when I did, my brain would say, "That's dumb," and I'd have to tell it to shut up.
All of that to say:
Visually, it's an amazing movie. If you want to go and just watch the action, this is a great movie to do that with. You have to really go in without any expectations other than car chases and explosions, though. Don't listen to anyone who says anything about the amazing story or how feminist this movie is. Just because it has a powerful female lead does not mean the movie is "feminist," and it certainly doesn't have any kind of story that is empowering to women. Because, well, that would imply that it had a story. Beyond, you know, the very basic one I already explained: "Run away!" Except, in this case, "Drive away!"
Mostly, the movie left wondering if I missed something in the other Mad Max movies or if it's just been too long since I've seen them, because it's been more than 20 years since I've seen them. My new plan is to re-watch the other ones and see if they give me some kind of deeper appreciation for this one, but... well, yeah, I don't think that's going to happen.