I admit that I am a guy. A dude. A mannn. A man fully in the grip of his manly manhood. As a manly man guy, I freely admit that I enjoy watching shit blow up, violence, and non-stop car chases in which there is violence and shit blowing up. There is art and then there is A R T: HELLS YEAH! The first enlightens you— somewhere along the way you might learn a little something about yourself and life. The second makes your eyes bleed and pulverizes your brains to mush with ONE POINT TWENTY-ONE GIGAWATTS of Dolby Digital sound.
I’m an eyes bleeding, mushy brained sort of guy. Sue me.
Too many guys seem to live in denial of their essential guyness wheit comes to movies these days. Very often we accompany (dragged, really, dragged) our significant others to films that are the eternal themes of perky starlet finds true love, perky starlet finds herself, or perky starlet foils President Santa Claus’s latest evil scheme.
On the flipside of this, we have our kids and our friends hauling us to the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Summer is the season of the superhero flick, and my boys, midget or otherwise, are determined to see anything released with the Marvel logo on it (when it comes to DC, they wait for the blu-ray). I have nothing against superheroes or movies about them. I enjoy many of them, in fact. But after a decade of Robert Disney’s wiseass smirk, I’m just grateful that Iron Man wears that helmet.
When one considers that the Marvel films have made the Dark Empire of the Rat about a gazillion dollars, it’s safe to assume that we’re all going to be marvelling it for a long time to come. Yet what about those of us who are suffering some major Marvel burnouts? What about those of us who are so sick of seeing Thor flip his luxuriant mane of hair that the female hair care products in our local Walgreens is in eminent danger of being annihilated? Thankfully, there is a cure for our delicate conditions. It’s called Mad Max: Fury Road.
I’m the first to admit that I was pretty sceptical about Fury Road. After all, it’s the latest chapter in a film franchise that had its last hurrah in the late great 1985 — the year that spun you right round like a record, b a b y! I was also suspicious because the film’s directed by a guy who hadn’t directed much of anything lately, unless one actually counts the movies about dancing penguin and talking pork and vermin. To top it all off, I was leery when I discovered that this monster had cost over 150 million smackers to make. So money being thrown at a film can indicate rancid stickiness, does anybody remember Superman Returns? Let us not forget that Hollywood has been under the impression that money can fix anything, even cinematic trainwrecks, and.that somewhere out there exists a producer who originally thought Heaven’s Gate was a good idea.
I was pleasantly surprised when Fury Road proved the exception to my doubts. I’m not providing a review here. That there new-fangled Interwebz computer thingie is just loaded with gushy reviews for this big old slice of crazy pie without requiring one from me. Besides, being gushy gives me hives. Here’s a few thoughts, to be taken with a grain of whatever.
The movie takes many chances that logic says it shouldn’t have taken in order to get butts into seats. First, the title character is really just a supporting character in his own movie. While he’s there, the filmmakers take a stab at developing other characters which works to the film’s benefit in my opinion. We all know the strong, silent type and we’re all familiar with how the mythic hero works. An easy way to freshen things up is push the hero out of the spotlight.
CGI is kept to a minimum. Most of what you’re seeing on screen is absolutely real … hooray! Many people don’t realize that advancements in physical film technologies make possible the sort of gonzo shots you see in this movie. Skynet has run things long enough, Hollywood. With that in mind, kudos to the real locations. Nothing outreals the wasteland like a real wasteland.
And oh yes, my friends, shit blows up. There is violence and non-stop car chases in which shit blows up. In spite of this, Fury Road provides plenty of stuff to think about. This movie is about you and red-blooded manly guys and about how shitty we can be sometimes. It’s about how we treat others, especially women. It’s about how we treat the environment, simultaneously hoarding and wasting. It’s about the question that the best of the post-apocalyptic genre offers: are we worth saving?
Decide the answer to that question for yourselves, gentle readers. As for myself, it’s a yes and no answer.