Thursday, 4 June 2015

Mad Max: Story Time

As you may of noticed Mad Max: Fury Road has been released. Ending thirty years of toil and expectation. Released is a apt term as since the film hit the screens, it seems to have gain a momentum of its own.

Fury Road smashed into people's imaginations with many people going to repeat viewings. Its also generated many articles about the production and the nature of the film. Many of them concentrated on Fury Road's feminist subtext.

A lot of articles focus on the creativity gone into the film and we've been treated to great images from nearly thirty years of conceptual art. Including work from the films co-writier Brendan McCarthy a stalwart of 2000 AD.

This comic book element may of fuelled the creation of drawings from contemporary comic artists. Often of the films central character Furiosa. Add to this reproductions of the cast as cats and the recreation of the insane vehicles in Lego, it would appear we have a car welded into another car sized phenomena here.

Why? Is there anything within the film that could explain way Fury Road have supercharged creative juices.

If it has done or is it another case of the ehco chamber of social media. Many of the people I follow are creative types. Most of them can nearly remember a world before The Road Warrior and probably saw it at an age were it would of lodged in there forming mind.

There is a element of child like fascination in the imagination which has gone into the overall look of the film. Often the film feels like drawings animated. Not surprising given the involvement of McCarthy who like other 2000 AD artists (Kevin O'Neil, Brett Ewins,) brings a certain frantic senseability. These artists were adapt at creating a detailed world full of energy, something you wanted to examine and recreate.

Still how does this relate to Fury Road? Well there is the appeal of the visual, the stories that can be spun from the forms of the vehicles and characters that inhabit the stark and dusty land of Fury Road.

Again this may be stateing the obvious given that with the Mad Max series George Milliar uses to a choreography of stunts and editing to tell the story in purely visual terms. Giving a direct link to the early days of cinema. Its a pretty simple story of "Run Away!"

Well that's the bare bones of it, the skeleton that can be fleshed out. Does a simple story allow the viewer to read multiple meanings into that story? Is the villian of the piece, Immortan Joe, a representation of the 1% the super rich male in control living high above the plebs.

Are his 'War Boys' a critic on the nature of fanaticism, after all they are presented as a group of youths looking for a father figure, hopped up on the promise of Valhalla and a glance from Joe himself.

The 'War Boys' reminded me of a Armies need to recruit under 21's who are the most reckless and fearless. This then lead me to think about the images of soilders captured by Tim Herthetington.

Of course an element which has generated much attention is the character of Furiosa. The feminist heart of the film who assists The Wives to free themselves of the objectivity and captivity of Joe. The idea that the presence of Furiosa emasculates Max is nonsense, as it is plain that they enable Max. They help him change from feral survivor to human being. In fact it is the other men who emasculates Max, as they're the ones who want him only for his body.

Note also that this is the first Mad Max film were Max isn't left a broken shell.

Anyway this is Furiosa's story which is the universal story of the hero leaving the village gaining experience then SPOILER ALERT! returning to the village to impart that experience. This could be the reason why Fury Road has lodged in peoples imaginations, storytelling.

This is the generation of myths or mythopoeia, the creation of a world that parallels our own. A good story will organically allow the listener, viewer to become part of the story. To want to pass on that story in any form.

This is why Fury Road has gotten into many a persons head, as they want retell the story. It's a modern version of a ancient human activity.