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Should You See ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’? A Guide to This Summer’s Weirdest Movie

by on June 1, 2015

Audiences don’t necessarily jump in wholeheartedly when movies take place in bizarre worlds full of weird ideas. This is one of the reasons why the cultural embrace of comic book movies and superheroes has been so fascinating. Companies like Marvel have found a way to package weirdness and eccentricity into something that appeals to large audiences. This led me to one logical conclusion: If a movie has a good enough story, it doesn’t matter how weird it is.

That’s what I thought before. But now I’m not so sure. Because “Mad Max: Fury Road” really might be too weird for some people.

FURY ROAD

Don’t get me wrong: I loved this movie. But I can really, truly understand why people wouldn’t. And as someone who works at a movie theater, I’ve seen some of the reaction to this movie. And by and large, I’ve seen three main types. I’ve taken the liberty to present them to you here. Hopefully that will help you decide whether you should see it. And if you have already, tell me which category you belong in.

1) “That was way too weird.”

I won’t run away from this, as it also happens to be something I love about this movie, but “Mad Max” is straight-up bizarre. Tell me which of these character names I made up, if you can: Rictus Erectus, Cheedo the Fragile, The Organic Mechanic and Toast the Knowing. Trick question, I didn’t make up any of those names. Those are all characters in the movie. This is a world where ghostly white “War Boys” fight for a man named Immortan Joe to get into the afterlife of Valhalla. A world where just prior to a glorious death in battle on the Fury Road, warriors spray their mouths with silver spray paint. A world where I look back and wonder how I just wrote sentences like that about a large-budget movie with legitimate movie stars in it.

And frankly, I understand that it will be too weird for some people. I had just been raving to a coworker about “Mad Max” when someone came out of the theater and told me that they were refilling their soda just to escape for a minute.

2) “That was not the Mad Max I know and love.”            

The other complaint I have heard most often is from people who have seen the old “Mad Max” movies and take issue with its new direction. The biggest complaint seems to regard the fact that Max Rockatansky is effectively a sidekick in his own movie. This complaint is a little nonsensical since it keeps one from really judging the movie on its own merit and involves a good bit of projecting one’s own feelings onto the film, but I understand that some people came to see the “Mad Max” they remembered and didn’t get that.

3) “That was the greatest thing I have ever seen.”

Welcome to my group of people! This is where those of us belong who were simply blown away by this movie. Those of us who love that movies can create such weird, specific worlds and embraced George Miller’s bizarre post-apocalyptic one wholeheartedly.

Not just because it was weird, but because it was earned. The bizarre, interesting tics of characters that were on the screen for milliseconds and the implication of some kind of logical (if twisted) way of life made for a place that felt thought-out and complex. Also, having yet to see the old “Max” movies, getting parcels of information out of Tom Hardy’s Max seemed to exhibit great restraint while effectively painting a picture of who he is. And it’s hard to think of him being a sidekick as a downside when you get Charlize Theron’s Furiosa as the lead.

I was on a high after I saw this movie, and man, do I want to see it again. As many times as possible on the big screen, please.

George Miller created an amazing, bizarre world. And ours is better for it. What a lovely day.

What does everybody else think?

Taylor Gaines can be contacted on Twitter @GainesTaylor.

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4 Comments
  1. I agree: “If a movie has a good enough story, it doesn’t matter how weird it is.” Weird and bizarre films are good when they shine a light on our present reality. I wrote a short essay on Fury Road called “When Barbarians Rule.” If you would like to read it, here is the link: https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/max-max-fury-road/

    • taylorgaines permalink

      Very insightful piece. Thanks for reading!

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