by Madeline Iva
Call me an optimist. I say 1/2 a good movie is better than none. And Max Max is all kinds of half a good movie.*** Let me count the ways:
1) DESIGN DESIGN DESIGN: This movie’s best moments start and end with the look of the film. The franchise is not just about costumes anymore. Once upon a time we were sated by some 80’s white rocker desert costumes. Once upon a time a bladed boomerang and hockey glove on a little kid’s paw did it for us. One upon a time teddy bear effigies marching across desert sand and we cheered. Now the best oscar for Post-Apocalyptic Macho Motifs in a Futuristic Dustbowl Series goes to brilliant yet repellant details such as:
Cancerous punk boy cannon fodder — who spray their teeth and lips silver just before going all jihad on their enemies…
Various nipple piercing/breast exploitation elements — the details of which I will not go into here, but needless to say all are all well thought out and thoroughly disgusting.
2) FABULOUS CHARACTERS SUCH AS:
FURIOSA — Charlize Theron is a one armed kick-ass warrior–which is better than none. Because Mad Max isn’t the reluctant warrior hero in this movie. Which still has me scratching my head. In fact, at some point Charlize Theron basically takes this movie and steals it. Then she tries to give it back, and they’re all like no-no-no-Ms. Theron, it’s yours, take it. Seriously.
NUX– because 1/2 a conflicted hero is better than none. Tom Hardy’s Mad Max spends part of the movie being insane and part of the movie trying to get a stupid mask off his face. It’s Nux, a big-eyed dying skinhead, and thwarted martyr bad guy, who ends up saving everyone’s bacon at just the right time. Played by Nicholas Hoult (yes, from Warm Bodies) with his friendly cancerous lumps that he calls his ‘mates’ he is raggedly endearing in a scarred way, and winds up with more of a character arc and big ending than the Tom Hardy, aka ‘our hero’.
3) A WEE TINY LOVE STORY– It’s just a wee tiny little lovestory between Red Headed Model Babe, aka Lisa Marie Presely’s daughter, and Nux—but it’s sweet in its own way. And it’s better than NO LOVE STORY AT ALLLLLLLLL BETWEEN FURIOSA AND MAX — something I’m still sulking over, because what else did they have to do in the whole second half of the film?
4) THE OBLIGATORY BREAK FROM ALL THE DUSTY BIG BAD BY SWITCHING TO MODEL BABES CAVORTING This moment in the movie contrasted with the entire rest of the film. Almost in the middle of a massive long car/truck/monster thingy with wheels chase, everything stops for a minute. A set of wispy Model Babes with a variety of hair colors, wearing torn strips of white sheets decide that this is the time to stop the truck, get out and get all wet in the middle of a big dusty desert with bad guys rolling towards them fast. (Rolling my eyes.) But after so much spiky hot man-deaths I gotta admit that their soft skin and big doe eyes, their big inflated baby lips and skinny legs are kinda refreshing. As another condescending gesture to feminism, each model babe is giving a ‘thing’ she contributes to the plot. Like “This model gets the plant seeds” and “this model counts the bullets” and “this is the model you think is so weak but really she tricks the bad guys in the end”. The models don’t have character arcs, per se, but it’s better than watching them sit around screaming in the back of the truck and needing to be saved for the entire film. (Shrugging).
4) BECAUSE 1/2 A TOM HARDY FILM IS BETTER THAN NONE
Tom, Tom, Tom. This is a big film for you. I gotta admit, the accent was not 100%. At first you sounded like Vin Diesel meets Mel Gibson, but about a 1/3 of the way through the film you just sounded…odd.
And I love Tom Hardy. He’s why I went to see the film — that and everyone raving about how good it was. But he wasn’t really in this film. I think he’s a real character actor who likes to go very deep into character, and probably feels he does his best acting when he’s being tortured. But there was no arc to his character. No change, no growth, no recovery, no redemption. Yeah, by the end he got his funky face mask off. By the end he was working with the women, and blah, blah, blah. He wasn’t really a great leader, he wasn’t a savior — he wasn’t even a total Road Warrior. That was Charlize Theron. So what was he? — Why was he even in the film? Still scratching my head over that.
But I haven’t lost faith in you Tom — this is just a stepping stone to much bigger things to come. However, I’d try to stick to more contemporary talk-y films if possible. Films where you can do what you do best–that sensual, tricksy, awesome, charming thing. You know what I mean?
HOW TO MAKE THE WHOLE FILM MUCH BETTER:
This whole movie was odd, frankly. Most reviewers are saying it’s a long car chase–but that’s what you expect out of a Mad Max movie. That’s not the problem. The problem is that like a souped up drag car that pulls into the pit half way through the race, this film simply ran out of gas. They literally race out into the dessert and then turn around and race right back.
Here’s my MUCH BETTER PLOT for Mad Max: Fury Road:
ACT ONE: Model babes in a moist, rocky Australian oasis are horny, but cancerous skinhead boys are useless for making babies. Model babes disport themselves in the water, and try girl-on-girl action with moderate to great success but still want babies. Occasionally in a fit of good will, they dispense water to the less sexy but thirsty below…One red head model babe does have a sweet little romance with a big-eyed dying skin-head named Nux who needs blood transfusions.
Along comes a half insane Tom Hardy from the dessert. Raving mad, even so, he is so hot that the Model babes must f*** him back into sanity.
ACT TWO: Lo! Bad guys in hedge hog spikey cars are a-comin’ after Tom and headed straight for the oasis. Tom wants to go back out there, but as the only viable sperm donor on the continent, he must be protected. The babes quickly send their best warrior Furiosa out into the dessert to deal with the bad guys.
ACT THREE: Furiosa with her cyborg arm and lithe cancer boys on pogo circus sticks, face off with bad guys. Furiosa uses many clever car chase/truck chase moves to finally kill icky bad guys. She subordinates the left over bad boys to her bitch-queen-goddess-grease-monkey-awesomeness. They ride back with her to the wet oasis, promising to give blood transfusions to Nux, and all excited to join this Model babe-led society. They are particularly excited about being potential sperm donors. Meanwhile, the guitar drum blazes flames, and the amp & drum truck beats out Furiosa’s praises all the way home…
Now *that’s* my idea of a great post-apocalyptic movie. Follow us at Lady Smut–we’ll lead you into clouds of post-apocalyptic utopian bliss!
***This is not a review: more a plaintive wail to the gods about why it wasn’t a better movie. Clearly, it’s intended for people who already saw the movie or are never gonna see it.