Mad Max: Fury Road full movie review - A ridiculously bad example of film making.
I have a theory on why so many people love this movie, despite what are absolutely glaring flaws that many of us see.
a) So many people waited 35 years for a new Mad Max movie that any movie will do.
b) The hype train around the "feminist" angles of the film had a bunch of people voting an agenda and not the film's actual quality.
Flaw One: everything is a ridiculously simplistic caricature.
Gas Town makes gasoline. The Bullet Farm makes bullets. The War Boys are an all-male army. Immortan Joe promises immortality. Furiosa is furious. Mad Max is semi-insane. Splendid is beautiful. Capable is capable. The Dag blurts things out. Fragile is fragile. The Knowing is wise. Rictus Erectus is strong and tall.
How bad does it get? The Citadel is patriarchal, and the director doesn't want you to possibly miss this fact, so he has a "Dad" who literally keeps The Wives in a vault and locked into chastity belts, literally milks his Cows to produce Mother's Milk, visibly pines for healthy sons so he can fill his War Boys, and literally sends those War Boys off to die so they can enter Valhalla. That's pretty much every negative stereotype about masculinity that you can dredge up, delivered directly to the temple by a sledgehammer.
And, of course the reverse is true: The Wives are all model beautiful, fecund, and they pine for the Green Place where stuff still grows, and who tends the Green Place? The kind and beneficent all-female Vulvolani (yes, there's a tribe named for their frigging vulva) who loathe men and carry around a cache of seeds in a medical bag.
Do you get it? Masculinity kills, femininity grows.
You don't get a much more blatant thematically, than two artificially created poles, a male one around destruction and war, and a female one around growth and fecundity. Miller's film reads like he's a 15 year old, naive Utopian, not 70.
Flaw Two: there's no plot.
Female slaves flee the patriarchy in search of the mythological matriarchy. They find out that myth doesn't hold up to reality, and turn around to topple the patriarchy. The entire movie is the car chase away from the Citadel, and then the car chase back to the Citadel.
Flaw Three: Non Sequitor after Non-Sequitor after Non-Sequitor.
In a film where the land is referred to as poisoned and tainted, repeatedly, and it's alluded to as being irradiated to the point of not being able to bear life, such that even the Green Place gets tainted and decays, The Citadel manages to grow all sorts of plants, just by drilling for water, and the Many Mothers still have viable seeds. Selective radiation for the win!
In an all-male society, where women are literally enslaved, Immortan Joe just turns a blind eye to very female Furiosa, lets her compete with the men of the War Boys and rise up through the ranks to become Imperator? And we're expected to believe that she does this despite the role being filled by an ex-model, and despite the fact she's only got one arm? I guess he can turn that patriarchy off, after all ... at least when the plot needs a Deus Ex Machina on demand.
Immortan Joe values his wives so highly he locks them into a vault and into chastity belts, but a housekeeper can spring them and somehow gets access to a shotgun when most of the War Boys don't even have firearms? Deus Ex Machina number two.
Mad Max is feral, having clearly survived for years in the wasteland by his wits alone, but he's caught in the first two minutes of the film in a cinematic afterthought? Deus Ex Machina number three.
Nux needs a "blood bag" to survive, and Max is a valuable universal donor, but they strap him to the front of a vehicle going into combat, in the desert, while driving at high speed? Deus Ex Machina number four and five, this time to justify why Max is even in the film that's named after him.
Max has just beat her up, then shot at her, commandeered her vehicle, and attempted to flee, but Furiosa teaches him the code to avoiding her kill switch on the rig a few minutes later? Everyone's paranoid survivalists in the wasteland ... except when they need to cooperate to forward the plot, apparently.
The Knowing discovers the War Boy, Nux, hidden on the rig and she instantly falls for him, and he for her? From enemies looking to kill each other to mind-lovers, in one scene? Of course, it has to happen, because Nux has to sacrifice himself to save those lovely, lovely women at the end of the film. The shoe-horned quasi romance is Deus Ex Machina number 987.
Furiosa is just one of Joe's Imperators, but when she returns with The Wives, the entire Citadel fêtes her like she's the second coming of Christ? Not one of the dozens of semi-brainwashed War Boys in training decides to fight back? Immortan Joe's midget son doesn't command them to fight her? It's essentially a religious cult, but apparently the only fanatics are in the cars.
Flaw Four: this isn't a Mad Max film.
It's clearly a set up to transition from Mad Max to Furiosa going forward in the series. Anyone who can visit Wikipedia knows that the next movie is Mad Max: Furiosa directly. Max has a dozen lines, spends half the movie chained up, and is clearly not the protagonist.
Don't jerk people around, Miller.
Summary: this film took literally 12 years to make and for half of that period, the film didn't even have a script and worked solely from a story board. It shows.