My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

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My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Eric94 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:21 am

Hello all. I was formerly "Shadow94" on here if anyone remembers. I lost the password to the e-mail associated with it, but that's a story for a different day. Anyway, I was thinking about Fury Road a lot in retrospect lately and I have some things I need to get off my chest with you all. The movie is great from a stunt, technical, cinematic and setting perspective but the more I watch and think about it, the more I see flaws in the characters, and most of all, the lead character. No, not Furiosa who hijacks the movie, Max himself.

(WARNING: Semi-Rant Ahead)

First of all, we have to talk about Max in this one, who barely even resembles the character from the previous films (in personality and abilities).

I think about the first and second movies which are my favorites. In the first one, Max was portrayed as a talented, mature and driven policeman who was the best in his division and they made that very clear. He took charge when no one else dared to and ultimately took down a motorcycle gang by himself. In the second one, Max was the strong, silent type that he has come to be known as. He takes out 80% of Humungus' gang including Wez and Humungus themselves. He easily gets out of any jam he finds himself in except for the Interceptor wreck and at the end allows the survivors to escape thus being a hero again, finally.

Now, Fury Road....This Max is definitely a letdown in my eyes. First of all, let's start with his design. Why does his jacket look green? The one-sleeve design is masked because he has a long sleeve shirt underneath of it, so it's hard to notice he's even wearing the right jacket that's become iconic for him. The knee brace is completely unnoticeable and he doesn't even have a limp to my knowledge. That limp and the sound of the brace have become iconic for Max. They put a bunch of magazine pouches on him.....ok...why? Didn't we agree 30 years ago that guns and ammo are scarce in this timeframe? OH, the Bullet Farmer...deus-ex machina. I'd rather see Max with a shotgun bandolier than a bunch of magazines like a generic action hero. Speaking of which, he doesn't even get to use the shotgun.......so, back on track.
Next, we have Max himself. The single biggest problem with the character is how jarringly wimpy and helpless he is. In the opening chase scene, he wrecks. If this was made when The Road Warrior was, he'd have outsmarted them and caused THEM to crash. The War Boys are dumb as rocks. He should have easily been able to fake them out and cause them to crash into each other, but no - he was written to get blown up. I've had a problem with that scene since the first time I saw the trailer. Then, we have the helpless Max being degraded and used as a toy by the War Boys. What happened to the Max I knew from 1 and 2 who would have successfully escaped? They say he's a "raging feral" but I don't buy that at all. The Max I know was just a bitter renegade who was one of the sanest people in a world of crazies. Here he's legitimately insane and having hallucinations. Why is he having hallucinations? Why is Sprog now a girl? The more I go on, the more frustrated I get. Anyway...
In the previous films, Max got to kill those who got in his way. Here, he doesn't kill many people at all. His killcount consists of a few of those pole guys and the Bullet Farmer, and even then they do it off screen as if he doesn't even matter because only Furiosa does. I'll get to that movie-hijacking character later, don't worry. Max plays second fiddle to Furiosa throughout the movie, who is shown to be better at him at marksmanship. Ok, I can believe and accept that one as Max is not known for his gun skills. But they almost imply that she's a better driver than Max and that I dispute completely. Max should be the best driver in the franchise. That's how he survives. The only place where they are evenly-matched is in melee and that's because he's a man beating up on a woman who has one arm and a half and even then he has trouble. This Max is not Max at all. He's someone assuming Max's identity.
Max demonstrates other traits that make him a different character: He tries to bite off Nux's arm when he can't shoot it off. That's not Max. (I'll make that my catchphrase for my points from now on.) Max doesn't gnaw on people like The Feral Kid. Max demonstrates a lack of resourcefulness. He easily picks his handcuffs in the second movie, catches a snake, devises a plan to take the gyrocopter over to the rig and is implied to have modified his car with the giant fuel tanks. In this one, he can't even so much as get the shackle off of his arm or get the muzzle off of his face without help where the ladies come in to save the day. That's not Max.

"Once, I was a cop. A Road Warrior searching for a righteous cause." Yeah, and I wish you still had some talent or spirit and didn't become a generic, one-dimensional action hero. I wish you still were that which you described yourself as.

Something else I noticed is that Max doesn't seem to feel pain or something. He takes an arrow through his hand and into his forehead and he just looks at it. In the first film, he was in serious pain after getting shot through the kneecap and having his arm run over by Zanetti's bike. In the second film, he screamed when the claw thug buried his claw into his shoulder (and he had to struggle against his pain to get out of his grip). Here he knocks the arrow out of his hand as if it wasn't even hurting him and continues to use the hand like nothing happened. George, what did you do this once-great character?

Before I finish, can we talk about his hallucinations real quick? The arrow one is stupid. My personal opinion, but it's ridiculous and it took me out of the movie for a second. His daughter's spirit tells him to block the arrow......wow......What did happen to Miller's original version of Max? Now we have ghosts? Ugh.

In summary, Max is a character who has been stripped of any defining characteristics and iconic trademarks and all of who he was has been given to Furiosa. Here in America, we have a term known as "Flanderizing" where a character has one trait that has consumed their entire personality over time. This is true of Max. The "Mad" in his name has taken over, leaving him a bumbling, helpless nutcase with nothing left of the "Max" we once knew.

I'll do Part Two some time later in which I talk about the other characters in depth but I don't want to make this post too long so in closing I leave you with this:

Max doesn't even get to kill a War Boy with his sawed-off shotgun. That's not Max....

Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks for reading if you made it through all that.
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Taipan » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:21 am

You seem to have a lot of complaints about the character but you answered your questions yourself with:

"The "Mad" in his name has taken over, leaving him a bumbling, helpless nutcase with nothing left of the "Max" we once knew."

That is exactly it.

I'll assume you don't know much about the origins of Fury Road's Max since you seem to have trouble identifying things in his hallucinations as his family, so I'll explain it briefly:

First you have to realize that Fury Road's Max is an evolution of Mel Gibson's Max from the trilogy. I know Miller distances himself from the original trilogy and calls Fury Road a reboot but the character, story and 95% of the movie was made as a sequel, it's just dressed up differently today with a new actor and is called a reboot, revisit or whatever (and only adding more fuel to the fire that is explaining why Max is in his 30's, why he's so different etc..)
At it's core it is a sequel, the Max is a continuation of what we've seen in MMBT.

Having said that:

This Max was designed to have spent so much time in the Wasteland that he went literally insane from clinging onto the past. Just a quick reminder: the 'insanity' of Max in the first 3 movies is his desensitization towards death and violence and also he grievance - that was the original idea for "Mad" Max and Miller's intention. In MMBT you would have seen him being slowly consumed by insanity in a dream sequence that was cut from the movie - I believe those were the early stages of what was yet to come. Fury Road was developed as a sequel to MMBT with Mel Gibson playing a really old Max (in his 50's or so). And so, they made Max " a bumbling, helpless nutcase with nothing left of the "Max" we once knew". You don't even realize this but the Max we see on the screen is I'd say about 50% mad of what I've seen in the early storyboards and from my discussions with the cast and crew.
For example: the opening shot with Max standing on the hill and his voiceover. In early storyboards Max was not standing, but sitting, rocking back and forth, mumbling to himself and crying. Here's also an interesting story: Max's earpiece that was seen in early promo shots - that was a half baked Tom Hardy's idea but it played into the insanity of Max who was holding onto his personality for dear life "like a Jap soldier on a Philippine island, years after the war ended, toying with a ham radio and hoping for word of victory. So, as part of his ‘kit’. vest, guns, knives, rope, medical supplies, he had salvaged the earpiece, and though it no longer functioned, it was a part of him he was trying to hold together, his sense of self."

So, no, It's not like Max in Fury Road came out of the blue, it is a really brutal evolution of the character and everything you have complaints about is a direct result of that:

- Max is feral, an animal this time around, after so many years in the Wasteland.
- Max is run down because his car is in the same shape as him - clopped out.
- Max hasn't spoken in years except in his head which is why his dialogue at the beginning is so clear, but when he opens his mouth it's grunts. Also notice how over the course of the film he regains the ability to speak.
- The girl in his hallucinations is Glory - a girl he failed to save after MMBT, not Sprog. Although his sense of guilt he couldn't help her is probably just as big as after the loss of his own child and wife.
- The jacket color and a different knee brace - I don't care for that much but after 30 years in the wasteland I'd assume those things would change.

Not gonna go through all of your points but you get the picture.

Also you keep coming back to Max from MM1 and 2. That character lived 20 years before Fury Road and ever since the character evolved or rather deteriorated because that's what the script called for and there is a connection between all of those movies. Despite of what you hear from the director who for one reason or another distanced himself from the original trilogy (to keep Fury Road fresh I assume, but all the script co-writers are open about Fury Road being originally a sequel to MMBT and it was written as such).

And the cherry on top - why is it Furiosa's movie...

Honestly, none of Mad Max movies are about Max except the first one. You should've known better, Max is a character that gets caught up in someone else's affairs and wants to get out quick but through helping them he get closer to his human side and goes into the wasteland again to deteriorate possibly and come back again. Fury Road is no different from other Mad Max movies in that sense (except the first one).
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Eric94 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:26 am

Thank you for the clarification. I respect what George Miller was doing as it was ultimately his vision of Max down the line, but I just saw it as such a different character. So, he deteriorated over time to the point where he got to be the shell. I always thought Max had a stronger will than that.

Also, The Road Warrior was mostly Max's movie I'd argue. The Feral Kid is the only other character with prominence as he narrates it. The Gyro Captain, Wez, Humungus and Papagallo certainly weren't the center of attention.
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Taipan » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:19 am

There's one more point I forgot to mention.

The severity of Max's insanity. Although it has been toned down in the movie, it is still severe for a really good reason. Simply put - Miller threw Max off the deep end in order for him to rejoin society once and for all. At the end of Fury Road Max was originally supposed to go up the elevator and live in the Citadel with Furiosa. This was the original idea and even Brendan McCarthy who wrote it wasn't aware of the change until he saw the movie on screen. Needless to say he was surprised that Max wandered off into the Wasteland again. But MIller's decision was understandable because he and Nico Lathouris thought that Max did not earn the right to live among the people yet, and of course - it would allow for the franchise to continue, especially with a new, young actor.

The way the movie turned out, with a young Max, rebooted franchise, those things don't make much sense and I agree that for a lot of people who were fans of the original trilogy they could be shocked of what Max has become, given he's a 'new' Max, a 'clean slate' if you will. But not really. You gotta get down into the mechanics of it all to understand the intentions of the director and writers in relation to the long process of this movie's production. None of that really shows on screen and it causes a lot of confusion.
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby AquaCola » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:52 am

Great post Taipan. To me its MMTD that sticks out as the odd one out from reading all that but the kids and low rating would be mostly to blame for that. Now that I think about how MM2 ended with Pappagallo and various others dying during the chase scene it would work very well leading up to the beginning of Fury Road with their ghosts haunting him.
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Taipan » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:15 am

It's true that MMBT sticks out as a movie, but as part of Mad Max lore it really sits there. I happen to be in possession of the script for MMBT and you wouldn't believe how many things is has that have been later used in Fury Road. Max straight up has hallucinations that look almost exactly like the dream he had on the War Rig, the scene where Max overlooks Bartertown right at the beginning had a lizard on the rock and it looked almost identical to the opening shot of Fury Road. There are plenty of little things like this that didn't make it onto the screen, I've only mentioned Max's nightmare as the one that was actually cut, so it was this close to showing how tormented Max had become prior to Fury Road.
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby AquaCola » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:18 pm

Thats crazy. Was the Interceptor originally involved in BT at all? That would really tie them all together.
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby jbartosh » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:15 pm

Sligthly off topic here: but on the visions it does seem odd they seem to feature Glory heavily enough I think it makes most viewers wonder if they missed something in the plot - as if we should know the backstory why we keep seeing this particular girl over again? Am I right in thinking we only see 3 clear faces in the vision, Glory and very briefly Glory's mother and then the old man (not sure who that is supposed to be? history man or just a random person from the past). Seems like they could have used groups of people instead of individuals or perhaps just several random individuals. Not a big deal though, gets the message across of general insanity in any event I suppose!

Also at the end of the film I find the closing quote curious, who is going to know what a history man is anyway. The quote is still fitting and probably a good close especially with Max heading back into the wasteland, but makes me think if there were ideas of a more involved prologue introducing us to the history men, Glory, etc.?
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Artemis Flow » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:10 pm

Some replies to your questions:

*His jacket looks green ? not that I can see, the movie was heavily colourised to avoid looking like every other desaturated post apoc movie to date
*He only end up with the ammo harness and magazines after taking out the Bullet Farmers vehicle and raiding it for supplies so like MM2 he is still scavenging
*The War Boys maybe socially inept but they are born and bred car mechs and road warriors , even in MM 2 Max could not outrun several vehicles in his car and was taken out of play just like in the beginning of FR the Interceptor is clapped out as evidenced by the cloud of black smoke when it starts and its rag filled rear tyre
*Not sure how the movie implies how that Furiosa is a better driver , the War Rig is her vehicle and one would assume she would be more used to driving it than Max
*Handcuff locks are easy to pick especially if you a cop who uses them everyday , padlocks are a different thing and especially if they are behind the back of your neck
* The arrow in the hand causing no pain is due to adrenalin overpowering the pain , in a state of shock most people dont feel pain , I know this first hand after breaking my femur in a car crash and crawling out of the wreck and trying to walk home

Taipan has addressed the other points you raised
* New site Fury Road Vehicles - http://furyroadvehicles.blogspot.com.au/
*Sydney Fury Road Stunt show - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N929gjLLzkk
*Hitler reacts to Mad Max Fury Road - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-_km-xssIA
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Re: My Thoughts On Fury Road (Part One)

Postby Taipan » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:15 pm

AquaCola wrote:Thats crazy. Was the Interceptor originally involved in BT at all? That would really tie them all together.


No, there's no mention of the Interceptor in BT at all, although Max's Camel Wagon has a cab from a Ford Falcon XB Sedan - the same type of car (yellow interceptor) that Max was driving in MM. It's probably a nod to MM, but it's not mentioned in the script.

jbartosh wrote:Sligthly off topic here: but on the visions it does seem odd they seem to feature Glory heavily enough I think it makes most viewers wonder if they missed something in the plot - as if we should know the backstory why we keep seeing this particular girl over again? Am I right in thinking we only see 3 clear faces in the vision, Glory and very briefly Glory's mother and then the old man (not sure who that is supposed to be? history man or just a random person from the past). Seems like they could have used groups of people instead of individuals or perhaps just several random individuals. Not a big deal though, gets the message across of general insanity in any event I suppose!

Also at the end of the film I find the closing quote curious, who is going to know what a history man is anyway. The quote is still fitting and probably a good close especially with Max heading back into the wasteland, but makes me think if there were ideas of a more involved prologue introducing us to the history men, Glory, etc.?


The other people in Max's hallucinations are credited as "The Accusing Dead", so it's not specified who they were/are.

The mention of The History men is quite interesting. I remember when first official bits of info came out about Fury Road and one of them was this:

"Mad Max is caught up with a group of people fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by the Imperator Furiosa. This movie is an account of the Road War which follows. It is based on the Word Burgers of the History Men and eyewitness accounts of those who survived."

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/57662

Nobody really knew what it all meant at the time and the official press info never mentioned the History Men during the production, until the movie came out along with the comic books. Ms. Giddy is a history woman, the man telling the story in the comic books is a history man. Basically the folks that tattoo themselves with information all over. And yes, there exists a more involved prologue introducing us to the history men, Glory and all that - those are the comic books!
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