However, reading some of the reviews online and some of the thoughts about this film made me reassess my thoughts and convinced me that it was worth seeing. I refer, of course, to the oddity that is Mad Max: Fury Road. I was not disappointed. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, far from "MEDIOCRE!" and very likely to ride into Valhalla, shiny and chrome.
I have now seen it twice, once on my own and once with friends where I even blew off work to do so, which is so unlike me it actually hurts.
So, what can I say that you haven't already seen and read elsewhere? Answer: probably nothing. However, I went to our local cinema to see it and I have to say I didn't really know what to expect. Before I went I knew all about the potential issues with Feminism and disabilities and how this film was apparently being boycotted by MRAs. I have to be honest here, up until that point I wasn't going to see it. On hearing the arguments levelled against the film by various people online, and the rebuttals, I decided to watch the trailers a little and listen to some of the music. Over the course of a week I became hooked on the music and began to wonder about actually going to see the film as well. Then, once I decided that seeing the film was a possibility, I read everything I could find on it.
And yet, on sitting down in the local cinema having paid the sort of prices that even in my youth I would have been happy paying, I just settled and waited for it to begin. I knew, academically, that the style would be intensely visual and that the main character was disabled and that the director would trust the audience. I knew about the use of real stunts and less CGI than most blockbusters use. I knew about the soundtrack. I knew about the themes being played on. I'd spoken to people at length about The Road Warrior and remembered sections that I had thought long forgotten.
And the issues: climate change, nuclear disarmament, social commentary - poverty, objectification, toxic masculinity, Feminism, water wars... they were all there. All of them. And during the film I didn't notice them at all. It was only afterward, thinking about the film, that any of it came out. It was done so well that I'm still thinking about it now, almost two weeks later, and I want to watch Road Warrior again to see what I missed all that time ago.
But that isn't the end, oh no, and the main reason I loved this film is probably down to the following comment that put it better than I ever could:
"Here is why I have lost all sense of proportion over this film and am fully obsessed. I sit here in a 'We Are Not Things' tshirt having given my understanding husband a lecture on fire stunts involving The Gigahorse over breakfast this morning.
"I do love Joss Whedon, but the lack of Strong Female Characters™ was just wonderful. I really like the Lego Movie, for example, but the choice of female characters I can be is Wyldstyle or UniKitty, one of whom isn't even a human, and the other gets to be cool until she is Exceptionally-Yellow-Duded out of the picture and has her narrative explanations 'blah blah blah blahed' out because she has the temerity to have #distractinglysexy hair.
"I was lost to MM:FR where, right at the beginning, Furiosa turns East and one of the warboys turns up at the window and says something like 'What are we doing?'. She responds 'We're going East', to which he replies "I'll relay the orders down the line" as if this is completely normal. There's no 'what for? Why are we doing this? What are the orders?' he just gets on with it like this is his job, like this is what they do every day, and I suddenly realised how little this happens in mass media. Compare that with things like, say, Disney's Hercules (watched recently with The Chap) in which a young lady is asked if she needs help, she says no and then a male character wades in anyway. Hercules, mate, she said she doesn't need any help - relay the fucking orders down the line and go about your business. To have a woman be an actual leader and not be questioned was just... wonderful.
"Considering last year the character I most wanted to identify with was a male, computer generated raccoon, to have an actual CHOICE of grown human females that I might want to be at different stages of my life is both fantastic and depressing at how little these opportunities arise for me, how excluded I do feel by the representation of my gender in mass media. No one has to bang anyone to express their gratitude, Furiosa doesn't have to die in punishment for being independent."
Well, quite. I did notice, on the second viewing, that bit at the beginning where Furiosa is clearly seen as the one in charge and gets away with not lying simply because she is in charge. And I did notice how it was different to a great deal of stuff in the media about femininity and in contrast to the vision put forth about Ms Jenner recently.