Thoughts On Mad Max Fury Road

We have a guest contribution from the great Ace Nelson today giving his thoughts on the recent movie Mad Max Fury Road

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(This op-ed on Mad Max: Fury Road was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten and pub­lished via Twitlonger by Ace Nelson and re-published with per­mis­sion. You can find Ace Nelson on Twitter and on Youtube.)

A lot of peo­ple have been giv­ing their two-cents-worth on this movie. Not just es­tab­lished movie crit­ics, but the gen­er­al pub­lic at large. Apparently, the hype train was rolling pret­ty hard for this film and I wasn’t re­al­ly aware of it. Mostly due to fo­cus­ing on work, per­son­al ven­tures, video gam­ing, and (of course) #GamerGate. So, need­less to say, even though I had seen and loved the orig­i­nalMad Max films, Fury Road didn’t re­al­ly catch my at­ten­tion. With that pref­ace out­ta the way, let’s get to the meat and bones of this.

After notic­ing all the talk of this movie and its “fem­i­nist over­tones,” or how it seems to “make MRA’s heads ex­plode,” my first in­stinct was to sim­ply avoid the movie un­til it hits Netflix, or some­thing. I’ve got­ten pret­ty sick and tired of all the iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics bull­shit. However, yes­ter­day, my good friend and YouTube part­ner had in­vit­ed me to go with him to see Fury Road. I fig­ure that af­ter the rough days I’ve dealt with at work, I could use a day at the movies.

Rk6VONeedless to say…Mad Max: Fury Road was amaz­ing! This film, frankly, is a vi­su­al and au­di­to­ry feast. The prac­ti­cal and spe­cial FX are, ar­guably, the best I’ve seen com­mit­ted to film. Right up there with Pacific Rim, even! The mu­si­cal score and sound de­sign was de­cid­ed­ly at­mos­pher­ic and very fit­ting. Note: This is be­fore men­tion­ing the majesty of Doof and his flamethrow­er elec­tric gui­tar and speak­er set-up that I would swear was plucked straight from the fevered day­dreams of Daisuke Ishiwatari himself!

Speaking of said fevered day­dreams, the world-building in the movie was top notch. This was a post-apocalyptic waste­land set­ting that man­aged to cram full-length nov­els worth of de­tail into the span of a two-hour run time.

Vast desert ex­pans­es? There’s a back­sto­ry to it. Water’s lack­ing! How do peo­ple sur­vive and find nour­ish­ment? There’s a back­sto­ry to it. Religion and so­ci­ety in gen­er­al? There’s a back­sto­ry to it.

Then there’s the act­ing. Tom Hardy cer­tain­ly was a big guy…for you and every­one else in the the­ater. He did a great job as Max Rockatansky, bring­ing not only a great deal of un­der­stat­ed pathos to the role but also a lot of un­ex­pect­ed hu­mor. The de­ci­sion to bring back Immortan Joe from the pre­vi­ous films as the main an­tag­o­nist was pure ge­nius. As per the usu­al with this fran­chise, even side char­ac­ters like Knux (Nicholas Hoult) and Splendid (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) have en­gag­ing characterization.

charlize-theron-in-mad-max-fury-roadWhich brings me to Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. Oh lordy, Furiosa.

She was fan­tas­tic, no two-ways about it. From the mo­ment you see her fire up the en­gines of the im­pos­si­bly METAL War Rig, to her three way brawl with Max and Knux, Furiosa pret­ty much stole the show. While the movie cer­tain­ly does spend its fair share of time fo­cus­ing on the in­creas­ing­ly un­sta­ble male pro­tag­o­nist (why else does one call him MAD Max?), the nar­ra­tive is quite ca­pa­bly car­ried by Furiosa and Ms. Theron knocks it out­ta the park. Now comes my great­est prob­lem with this movie…the ran­cid mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the film’s me­dia campaign.

A good num­ber of peo­ple I’ve seen dis­cussing this on Twitter have de­cid­ed against go­ing to see Mad Max: Fury Road be­cause the movie has been pushed in nu­mer­ous widely-circulated me­dia out­lets with the same sort of stereo­typ­i­cal “fem­i­nist” theme that the most re­cent run of Marvel Comics’ Thor had been pan­der­ing to with the cur­rent lead pro­tag­o­nist. I then went on to look at some of the on­line re­views and even check­ing dis­cus­sion of Fury Road on Facebook and saw more of the same.

The fact of the mat­ter is re­al­ly quite simple.

Fans of post-apocalypse sto­ry­telling should see Fury Road. Fans of Fire-and-Brimstone and heavy met­al (fig­u­ra­tive as well as lit­er­al) spec­ta­cle should go and see this film. I would rec­om­mend Fury Road on the ba­sis that it is a damn good film by the met­rics that should mat­ter: con­cept, pro­duc­tion, and execution.

This film didn’t lan­guish in “de­vel­op­ment hell” for over a decade. It spent those 10 – 15 years mar­i­nat­ing in the cre­ative oceans of George Miller’s mind wait­ing for the right mo­ment to ex­plode onto the sil­ver screen and car­ry all of us in at­ten­dance from our seats straight to the gates of Valhalla with a nar­ra­tive that’s as much about Max’s frac­tured psy­che and Furiosa’s bat­tle for re­demp­tion as it is about the sun­dered world upon which the ac­tion takes place.


Identity pol­i­tics and “fem­i­nism,” in par­tic­u­lar, has ab­solute­ly zero pur­pose in the con­text of dis­cussing Fury Road. To view this movie through such a lens, re­gard­less of the in­volve­ment of Eve Ensler as a con­sul­tant, is a slap in the face to those that worked on the film’s pro­duc­tion. It would ir­rev­o­ca­bly taint an oth­er­wise stel­lar movie be­cause most peo­ple with com­mon sense would want to avoid the po­lit­i­cal bull­shit when de­cid­ing to take a cou­ple hours out of their lives to es­cape the every­day grind. For me, it al­most did.

Witness me.

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Gamer, mar­tial artist, SuperNerdLand con­trib­u­tor, Gatorade-fueled-Parkour-loving ac­tion junkie, pro­fes­sion­al smart-ass and oc­ca­sion­al id­iot. How ya doin’?

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