Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

May 22, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Filed under: Film — louisproyect @ 5:40 pm

I went to see “Mad Max: Fury Road” in 3D with no other intention except to kick back and enjoy some mindless entertainment. Mindless it was—entertaining, not so much.

Fifteen minutes into the film, it began to dawn on me that nearly the entire film would consist of Mad Max behind the wheel of a truck fending off the bad guys to the accompaniment of a film score with the same percussive phrases being repeated over and over again like a needle stuck in a record groove. The combination of the roar of the automobiles, the gunfire and the bursting bombs, and the insistent music that was meant to remind you of how exciting the whole thing was made it impossible to hear the dialog—such as it was. In an interview with the NY Times, director George Miller was asked about the near absence of dialog. His reply:

I was very influenced by a book written by the critic Kevin Brownlow called “The Parade’s Gone By.” He said the main part of the parade has gone by the advent of sound in cinema. This new language that we called cinema had mostly evolved in the silent era. What differentiated it from theater were the action pieces, the chase pieces. And I really got interested in that. Hitchcock had this wonderful saying: “I try to make films where they don’t have to read the subtitles in Japan.” And that was what I tried to do in “Mad Max 1,” and I’m still trying to do that three decades later with “Fury Road.”

With all due respect to George Miller, I don’t think that Alfred Hitchcock should be taken too seriously on this. While nobody can gainsay the visceral pleasure of watching Cary Grant fighting with James Mason in Abe Lincoln’s nostril, that scene from “North by Northwest” hardly stands on its own. It was the dialog between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint that gave the film its panache:

Eve Kendall: How do I know you aren’t a murderer?

Roger Thornhill: You don’t.

Eve Kendall: Maybe you’re planning to murder me right here, tonight.

Roger Thornhill: Shall I?

Eve Kendall: Please do.

Violent clashes such as those that take place in this film and others of this ilk made by J.J. Abrams, Michael Bay and just about any other based on Marvel comic books are exciting but only in small doses, functioning in a way like sex scenes. But who would want to have watched Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider fucking for 90 percent of “Last Tango in Paris”? That’s the problem with “Mad Max: Fury Road”; there’s too much of a good thing.

George Miller’s first installment in the Mad Max series was made in 1979. Despite his reputation for making post-apocalyptic films with some kind of message about gas and now water disappearing, his main motivation for using a future world as a backdrop was his worries that an audience would find all the road kill unbelievable. As it turns out, Miller—who was a doctor in an emergency ward in Sydney at the time tending to exactly the kinds of accidents depicted in the film—decided to set it in a dystopian future in order to make the story more plausible. Like the most recent film, the first one was pretty much unrelieved highway mayhem with very little character development (none actually) and dialog.

It was with the 1981 “Road Warrior” that Miller began to hit his stride. Mad Max becomes a kind of mercenary fighting on behalf of the good people defending a small-scale oil refinery against marauders after the fashion of “Seven Samurai” that his talents as a screenwriter and director begin to emerge. What I remember most about the film was Mel Gibson’s interaction with the feral youth and his deadly boomerang. Watching his joyous reaction to the music box that Mad Max gives him was worth the price of admission.

The masterpiece, of course, was “Beyond Thunderdome”, which once again had Mad Max interacting with children and was justifiably celebrated for the casting of Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the chief of the bad guys.

In doing some research on Miller, who is just about my age, I was startled to discover that he is not limited to the Mad Max series. He directed “The Witches of Eastwick”, a witty tale based on a John Updike novel about the devil—played to a tee by Jack Nicholson—seducing three women. He was also screenwriter and director for “Happy Feet”, one of the finest children’s movies I have ever seen.

Just a final word on the politics of the film. The Internet has been abuzz over a controversy about the film’s “man hatred”. Apparently some idiots from the “men’s rights” movement are upset with the supposed feminist message of the film. Since Eve Ensler, the author of “The Vagina Monologues”, served as a consultant on the film, we are led to believe that it was a statement about gender equality. Since Charlize Therzon’s character fights side by side with Mad Max with about as much effectiveness and has antagonized the bad guys’ chief by attempting to rescue a group of women forced to bear his children after the fashion of ISIS, we are led to conclude that this is a film with a message.

I do think that Miller is capable of making a film with a message. “Happy Feet” was sort of a penguin’s version of “Billy Elliot”, making the case that there’s nothing wrong with a boy wanting to dance. The only message I got out of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is that a fool and his money are soon parted.

113 Comments »

  1. I think you mean a precipitous decline from Road Warrior. Beyond Thunderdome is toothless, dated, and just flat out laughably bad.

    Comment by You Can't Be Serious... — May 22, 2015 @ 6:11 pm

  2. “Fifteen minutes into the film, it began to dawn on me that nearly the entire film would consist of Mad Max behind the wheel of a truck fending off the bad guys to the accompaniment of a film score that consisted of the same percussive phrases being repeated over and over again. “…..and I stopped reading there because…well..yeah…that’s Mad Max “franchise” is all about. [shrug]

    Comment by El Chicano — May 22, 2015 @ 6:29 pm

  3. “Critics” like yourself ,who try to gain some attention for themselves by giving an universally acclaimed film a negative review, disgust me.

    Comment by Grim — May 22, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

  4. I think you mean a precipitous decline from Road Warrior. Beyond Thunderdome is toothless, dated, and flat out laughably bad. Then again, maybe you’re just the kind of person who thinks Temple of Doom is the best Indiana movie as well…

    Comment by You Can't Be Serious... — May 22, 2015 @ 7:09 pm

  5. Well done for writing a review that barely references anything about the thing reviewed. I can only assume this is troll clickbait material.

    Comment by Max — May 22, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

  6. This is a pretty poor movie review, and not just because the author seems to have completely missed the genius of near-masterpiece of its genre.

    Comment by Allusive — May 22, 2015 @ 8:49 pm

  7. #4: i think the best Indiana movie is “Breaking Away”.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 22, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

  8. You don’t think that George Miller is capable of making a film with a message, and then reference Happy Feet? There’s a pretty noticeable environmental subtext in Happy Feet.

    Comment by Robert — May 23, 2015 @ 1:16 am

  9. you sir, have awful taste in movies, I don’t require a long description of why. Anyone with common sense reading this article would disagree with you.

    Comment by Tony Mejias — May 23, 2015 @ 3:35 am

  10. My reaction to this review: heh…heh heh… haha, HA HA HAAAH.

    Comment by Dean Hollingsworth — May 23, 2015 @ 4:13 am

  11. Wow. Just…. wow. The amount of effort you put into this review was – definitely ballsy. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this was a last minute submission, because otherwise you should consider a line of work that doesn’t involve writing. Oh, you’re 70 already? Ouch.

    Look man, why don’t you actually talk about the f#cking movie? You talk about everything BUT the movie. You talk about the other Mad Max movies, about quotes from the director, about internet controversy, and off topic references (to make yourself look hip I presume?). I almost think you didn’t see the movie, because you try so hard to avoid talking about it.

    Seriously, to Louis and anyone who read his review. Let’s break it down shall we?
    – Louis talks about the fact he doesn’t like the movie for …. 4 sentences. I REPEAT, 4. In a 950 word review, Louis spend 128 of them on actual critique. 13% of his submission. Seriously man, how the f#ck are you a critic, or employed as a writer in any form? If you think the movie sucks, just say it sucks and don’t shoot fluff out your a##, and copy paste quotes to meet your editor’s quota. Gives us reasons why. Oh you did? Fair enough, let’s look into it.

    Here are the only words Louis uses to actually review the film:
    1. “Mindless it was—entertaining, not so much.”
    — Okay, a simple tagline. A little trite – but forgivable.

    2. “Fifteen minutes into the film, it began to dawn on me that nearly the entire film would consist of Mad Max behind the wheel of a truck fending off the bad guys to the accompaniment of a film score with the same percussive phrases being repeated over and over again like a needle stuck in a record groove.”
    — Making presumptions about the entire movie after 15 minutes? Wow. You now have ZERO credibility. You also mentioned that… lemme see here…. where is that quote… OH! Here it is: “I went to see “Mad Max: Fury Road” in 3D with no other intention except to kick back and enjoy some mindless entertainment.” – Okay cool. Wait. Wait a minute. You went to go see a mindless action movie, and yet… you were disappointed when you realized that it was a mindless action movie? (15 min too, LOL) Louis, you may want to get checked for Alzheimer’s.

    3. “The combination of the roar of the automobiles, the gunfire and the bursting bombs, and the insistent music that was meant to remind you of how exciting the whole thing was made it impossible to hear the dialog—such as it was.”
    — Okay okay, I think I see the message lost in your garbage heap of words – [the movie needed more dialog]. Am I right? Yup. By your logic I bet you thought the film ‘The Artist’ was a piece of garbage. Red Balloon? Trash.

    4. “The only message I got out of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is that a fool and his money are soon parted.”
    — At least you mirrored your first sentence. Short and trite. Also, you pulled a quote instead of forming your own words.

    To sum it up (these are Louis Proyect actual notes): Start with a short trite tagline. Insult the film, but in doing so – do it ironically by contradicting yourself and also, look like a fool by making early assumptions. Then, add fluff. More fluff. MORE FLUFF!!! Some quotes from director that have no bearing on the film. Some off hand reference to make me look hip and smart. Fluff again. F#ck it, FLUFF – because you can’t have enough (and my editor has been chewing me out to get this review). Make a point to remind everyone that more dialog = better movies. It’s math people – don’t argue with it. Okay so… hmmm… fluff? FLUFF. Finish with a short trite outro putting up a well-worn universal quote.

    Bravo. Take a nap Louis, you deserve it.

    Comment by nate — May 23, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  12. I got a vibe of astroturf from the universally positive reviews of this film on social media. Haven’t seen it but this review makes me wonder about all of the talk of the movie as a “feminist masterpiece.” Who exactly were the “mens rights idiots” anyway. They sound like a marketers best friend.

    Comment by srogouski — May 23, 2015 @ 10:00 am

  13. Dude! your endless and idiotic digressions resulted in you becoming completely lost in your disorganized excrement pile of a brain!

    ….you cant just combine 2 movies and call it “beyond thunderdome”

    “Watching his joyous reaction to the music box that Mad Max gives him was worth the price of admission.
    The masterpiece, of course, was “Beyond Thunderdome”, which once again had Mad Max interacting with children and was justifiably celebrated for the casting of Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, the chief of the bad guys.”

    And rambling about a bunch of other movies, then about a book the director read, then have the nerve to tell the director “don’t take hitchcock seriously” and then YOU reference some Hitchcock?!?!!?!?

    Pull the heroin iv out pal because this is maybe the worst review I have ever tried to read

    Comment by DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL — May 23, 2015 @ 10:55 am

  14. #11: By your logic I bet you thought the film ‘The Artist’ was a piece of garbage.

    Yes, it was. Jacques Tati did this sort of thing with a lot more intelligence and wit.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 23, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  15. The title to this review should be “No, really…I SWEAR I’ve seen the other Mad Max movies!”

    Comment by bob — May 23, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  16. I think you should seriously consider watching Beyond Thunderdome again, post-apocalyptic mayhem combined with children and Tina Turner is way too far from entertainment. Unless you liked the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, then it kind of makes sense why you would like children in a serious movie.

    Comment by Bogoni — May 23, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

  17. You work for a rival movie studio don’t you? How much do they pay you?
    I give your review 1/5 for effort. Don’t quit your day job.

    Comment by Jason — May 23, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

  18. Looks like someone didn’t get enough attention as a child. In case you have been under a rock somewhere, this movie has been met with universal acclaim. MM: Beyond Thunderdome was tedious, bland and lacked real conviction. I don’t see how anyone could say that Thunderdome is better than Fury Road. Fury Road has a strong narrative, dynamic characters, and leaves me wanting to go back for more. You might want to consider another line of work based on this “profound” review.

    Comment by MadMaxHardyfan — May 23, 2015 @ 4:53 pm

  19. I cannot get over the fact that you can’t think George Miller can’t leave a message in his film. There is an awesome message here: Do whatever it takes to survive. The scene where Max has one shot left and hands it to Furiosa is one of my favorite. He doesn’t care that she’s a woman. He hands her the gun so they can survive. They work along side each other to make it out of a bad situation. In this whole review you barley made any good points to why this is a bad film (you gave it a “rotten” score). It seems like you didn’t even watch the move! Some people just cant’ stop whining and complaining. Enjoy the move. It’s a movie where max is behind the wheel killing bad guys for 2 hours and that’s awesome! Get over yourself

    Comment by bob — May 23, 2015 @ 10:00 pm

  20. Beyond Thunderdome was Hollywood-ised rubbish. They cranked up the camp to 11, and added Tina Turner for no obvious reason, except, perhaps, to make it appeal more to US audiences. Unfortunately, there still aren’t many high profile indigenous Australian actresses, and even fewer back in the 80s, so that is one argument in her favour. About the only one I can think of.

    And no, there isn’t much about Fury Road in your review.

    Comment by Alan B — May 23, 2015 @ 11:52 pm

  21. Very accurate review. You could have been way harder on this very mediocre spectacle, but you kept to the point. I must say it takes courage to point out the obvious in spite of all this probably orchestrated hype, and these personal attacks by over-the-net bullies proves it. I must also say that they probably haven’t watched the movie, but rather been handed down a list of points to debate, otherwise they wouldn’t be surprised that there really isn’t that much to be said about it. There are movies where one can fill up pages debating their quality – or lack thereof. This simply is not one of them. It is not about dialogue – as some simpletons have argued. In fact if it had half the action scenes, a third of the characters and a forth of the dialogue, it might pass up as something quite worthwhile. Instead we’re left with a Transformers lookalike, thinking itself profound and original. Theron was unforgettable though, she carried this movie well beyond any expectations and warranted some mention, to be absolutely fair.

    Comment by Jon — May 24, 2015 @ 12:46 am

  22. “and these personal attacks by over-the-net bullies proves it. I must also say that they probably haven’t watched the movie, but rather been handed down a list of points to debate…”

    ROFL.

    Comment by Alan B — May 24, 2015 @ 1:31 am

  23. What were you expecting? Lawrence of Arabia? Its a frigging Mad Max movie and you were upset it had too much action? Do us all a favour and stop doing action film reviews because I dont think you quite understand the genre.

    Comment by Jason D — May 24, 2015 @ 2:38 am

  24. Your critic sucks man.

    Comment by gabrielillo — May 24, 2015 @ 5:25 am

  25. Here’s a challenging question: who is more persuasive in demonstrating that Mad Max: Fury Road is terrible, Louis or the people who crashed the site in its defense?

    Please don’t take offense, but I’m leaning towards the crashers.

    Comment by Richard Estes — May 24, 2015 @ 6:38 am

  26. To the morons who defend this Hollywood Rip Off, this pathetic excuse of a film, well here’s a fact: I’ve got more taste in my penis.

    Just like the stupid DIE HARD franchise milks mindless idiots out of their money (what could be shittier than a film where the whole plot is summed up in the 2 words of the title?) this Mad Max film could have been titled DIE HARD 6 as it was nothing but 2 hours of Max dodging bullets. Obviously he’ll be dodging them all to the end or they’rd be no movie. What a miserable attempt at suspense!

    This movie was rotten to its core. I want 2 hours of my life back!

    To the sad motherfuckers who actually like this kind of schlock, who eat this rancid feces up with a spoon, you’re the type of consumers who get excited over any little shiny object, like A.D.D. monkeys who pull the lever for more cocaine instead of food and worse: You’re the people that provide the sustenance for the black hole that is our culture.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 24, 2015 @ 3:21 pm

  27. Clickbait. If the author even watched the movie, which is doubtful…

    Comment by Leevenstein — May 24, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

  28. This movie is boring. I fell asleep a couple of times before it was over. No plot, no character development. Mad Max doesn’t even talk and is reduced to some kind of an idiot who is good behind the wheel. The bad guys are a bunch of clay pigeons whose only purpose is to die in a variety of incredible and gruesome ways. The problem is that as a viewer I don’t really hate the bad guys, nor do I care about the good guys because there is no character development, so I end up being bored by all the action because I’ve seen it all in so many other movies. I honestly don’t understand how this mediocre B quality movie received so much critical acclaim. I feel cheated out of my $30.

    Comment by zile — May 24, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

  29. Of course he watched it. The proof is he concluded it’s worthless tripe, not worth the money, with little entertainment value. I’d have fell asleep from boredom too but the soundtrack was too loud.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 24, 2015 @ 9:36 pm

  30. You want proof that I watched it? How else would I know that there was a combination lock to start the truck’s ignition? How else would I know that the albino goon who came after them would fall in love with one of the women Theron was spiriting away and she would return his love? Speaking of which, that was the most ludicrous part of the entire film. How in fuck’s name do you fall in love with a man who a half hour ago was trying to either return you to a horrible pig whose sex slave you were or kill you in the process? Have film audiences lost their mind? If I submitted a script with such an implausible plot development, I would have been laughed out the door. Or, more likely I’m afraid, be given a $10 million contract.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 24, 2015 @ 10:11 pm

  31. Can we stop counting bloggers as movie critics? Especially people nobody has ever heard of.

    Comment by Harate — May 24, 2015 @ 11:24 pm

  32. Oh Louis, you went and saw it did you? By the way, since you’re only focusing on single “flaw” of the movie as your proof, pick something better. Nux and the Red-Heads have minimal screen time, and the fact they don’t engage physically just mean they have an interest. “Fall in love” is a strong phrase to use. No kissing, no nothing. I don’t know what your love life may entail, but I assume it ends with us weeping. In fact, it almost just wants to play off the audience believing it may lean into a love story, but it doesn’t. All the girls also take pity on Nux and don’t treat him bad. You seriously suck as a critic.

    Comment by nate — May 24, 2015 @ 11:43 pm

  33. Nate, I have no idea what you are trying to say. In the first half of the movie, Nux is like a Terminator trying to intercept the truck and kill Mad Max and Furiosa while he is at it. In the second half he is ready to sacrifice his life for them, largely motivated by his new romance–even if they haven’t gone behind a rock to fuck each other’s brains out. This is laughable but I don’t think Miller intended to be funny. Actually, he is capable of a comic turn as was the case in his previous two movies and especially in his adroit direction of “Witches of Eastwick”, one of my favorites. But there’s nothing intentionally funny about this mess of a film.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 24, 2015 @ 11:53 pm

  34. Harate. Were you dropped on your head as a kid? Or just treated like a punching bag at the schoolyard?

    If not bloggers as critics then who?

    The TV & Commercial Press critics are all brownnosers with heads so far up the studio’s asses that they’ll claim the moon is made of bleu cheese, writing blurbs like “Truly Epic” as if it were the cover of a Danielle Steele novel sold at Walgreen’s.

    The only critics worth a damned in print are from places like the Tucson Weekly with critics like James DiGiovanna and Bob Grimm which are similar to those urban free Weekly’s like at the Chicago Reader back in the day, or the Independent NY City papers Proyect used to describe which have gone the way of Pacifica Radio, but even the last of those those have been bought up by blood sucking corporations so that the only accurate film reviews are precisely by independent bloggers like Proyect who definitely has a grasp on the pulse of good films these days, which willy nilly turn out to be mostly documentaries, but that’s not his fault.

    Fact is some of the best film reviews ever written in the history of film have been generated on this blog. That’s precisely why you stumble bungled onto this site.in the first place, hoping for some scurvy ass kissers who would suck the dick of this director along with all the Hollywood generated commercial hype.

    Just because you’ve never heard of the blogger critics that swim against the stream of effluent that passes for viable film these days only illustrates the fact that you don’t know shit from fat meat.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 25, 2015 @ 12:53 am

  35. I have to say this, this is the funniest comment thread I’ve read in a very long time. Thanks everyone and keep up the good work.

    Comment by kim — May 25, 2015 @ 12:56 am

  36. You should stop reviewing movies. This is one of the best action movies I’ve seen in a long time.

    Comment by vince — May 25, 2015 @ 4:46 am

  37. Goodness gracious. I saw the movie three times in a week. I came to this review to see what a negative review looked like. Yes it appears that most of the review is spent on Tina Turner and Mel Gibson however how dare any these little shit heads insult Louis with such venom. It’s a great movie! Louis didn’t like it! Big fucking deal. If you liked the movie so much then this review would roll off your back like water off of a duck. Motherfuckers sounding like ISIS

    Comment by Rob William — May 25, 2015 @ 7:34 am

  38. Well you got what you wanted, some views. Other than that this review is awful.

    Comment by johnnyzenith — May 25, 2015 @ 10:58 am

  39. I will Never trust another review by you.. It’s clear that you only did this to make yourself stand out

    Comment by Steve — May 25, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

  40. “Can we stop counting bloggers as movie critics?”

    Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I consistently find bloggers who provide much better film reviews than movie critics employed by by the corporate media. Louis among them. But he’s far from the only one.

    Comment by Richard Estes — May 25, 2015 @ 6:59 pm

  41. The funny thing about this movie critic is that he epitomizes the classic “cliché movie critic” . You know, the movie critic that takes quotes from famous movies, spends lots of time beating around the bush without saying what he means and uses buzz words like; juxtaposition, mise-en-scene and dystopian. You know the movie critic I’m talking about? The one who sports a goatee and turtleneck and wears a fez. He drinks vintage Cabernat and eats at nothing but 5-star restaurants and talks down to people because he is so much smarter than everyone else. He’s the cliche movie critic who thought “Shakespeare In Love ” was better than ‘Saving Private Ryan” or “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” is a better movie than “Mad Max: Fury Road” He’s the critic who has to be “different” and go against the status quo. He’s the guy who “thinks outside the box” and for every person who claims the “Godfather” is the greatest movie ever made he counters with some French movie that no one has ever heard of. In short, he’s the critic who is basically an IDIOT!

    Comment by Laslo Bigsby — May 25, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

  42. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2015/05/20/mad-max-fury-road-and-the-pleasure-of-smart-contrarians/

    ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and the pleasure of smart contrarians

    I will admit to being a bit puzzled by the aggressive, near-unanimous praise for director George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Not because I didn’t like it, mind you; I thought it was quite fun in a crazy sort of way. But I’m inclined to like this sort of thing. If you don’t believe me, ask me about “Sucker Punch” some time.*

    Still, this is a remarkably odd movie — it has been accurately described as a $150 million art-house flick — to have received the kind of praise it has. A movie this stylized and idiosyncratic should be more divisive. “Fury Road” clocks in at 98 percent fresh amongst all critics at Rotten Tomatoes and has pulled down a 91 rating from Metacritic, making it the best-rated wide-release film of the year, and by a fairly wide margin.

    The reviews tended to follow a formula: a nod to the flick’s nominal feminism followed by praise for its relative paucity of computer-generated stunts and a clucking about the state of modern action filmmaking.

    However, it’s not simply the near-unanimity of the praise that shocks; it’s the boisterous vociferousness of its boosters. Scanning “Fury Road’s” “top critics” page on Rotten Tomatoes, one is told “this movie will melt your face off” (Christy Lemire) and that it’s “a double-barrelled shotgun enema straight to the senses” (Geoff Pevere). If we’re judging by pure excessive assertion, though, the winner has to be Deadspin’s Twitter feed, which, while linking to Will Leitch’s effusive review, suggested that watching “Mad Max: Fury Road” will prompt a rather awkward evacuation.

    The ostentatiously competitive nature of these reviews was fascinating. Everyone seemed to want to demonstrate that his or her love for the film was most vigorous, a reaction that called to mind Chris Richards’s recent essay on poptimism.

    Richards was discussing the tendency of pop critics to go gaga for Gaga. “When a pop star reaches a certain strata of fame—and we’re talking Beyoncé, Drake, Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire levels here—something magical happens,” Richards writes. “They no longer seem to get bad reviews. Stars become superstars, critics become cheerleaders and the discussion froths into a consensus of uncritical excitement.”

    George Miller is no Beyoncé, and I wouldn’t suggest that the plague of poptimism has hit the film industry yet; if it had, Marvel would be an unstoppable critical force in addition to being a juggernaut at the box office. But the critical herd does sometimes have the annoying tendency to settle on a piece of art as beyond criticism, to the bemusement of audiences. (Witness the B+ Cinemascore given to “Fury Road” by audiences this weekend and the shrug that “Boyhood” — one of two films to receive a 100 from Metacritic — received at the box office.)

    The world needs smart writers willing to go against the grain. And here I will praise Armond White. (I’ll wait while the critics reading this utter their groans. Go on. Done? Thanks.) Say what you will about White — he has been dismissed as a “troll” by none other than the late, great Roger Ebert — but I never fail to find his work interesting. Is he a contrarian? Sure. But he’s a smart one who has forgotten more about film than most of us ever knew. I think White is largely wrong about “Fury Road,” but I also think that the concluding paragraph of his review is a useful check on the overheated praise it has received:

    By overinflating the biker-movie concept (featuring whips and chains, leather and studs, and a body-pierced, dreadlocked, skinhead chorus line), Miller allows his outré flamboyance to rob subcult menace of its edge. This distracts from the cultural collapse that’s really taking place on screen. His degraded audience mistakes the sentimental ending for narrative satisfaction. That’s what happens when movie culture has moved to a state of entropy. Fury Road is essentially an expanded movie trailer, full of inflated highlights — exactly what everyone expects and has already seen.

    Poptimism “establishes a hasty and formidable wave of acclaim, and to speak out against it at a later date is to out yourself as a hater, a contrarian, a click-baiter or a troll,” Richards wrote. And, sure enough, White has been mocked for his hot take, slammed for his #SlatePitch.

    What’s the point of film criticism if it boils down to finding the most aggressively gross bodily function to describe excitement? Even (perhaps especially) with popular, acclaimed films a conversation is preferable to a praise chorus. I love flipping through old collections of film criticism, many of which can be obtained from Amazon or AbeBooks for a dollar or two, to find points of disagreement published before consensus takes hold. It’s fun reading John Simon take a shiv to “The Godfather” or Stanley Kauffman** explaining why he doesn’t care for Stanley Kramer’s “On the Beach” or “Judgment at Nuremberg” — not because they’re right, necessarily, but because critical consensus is boring. There are only so many ways to say something is great. And we often learn more from those we disagree with than those we consider comrades in arms.

    * Virtually every criticism of “Sucker Punch” could be leveled at “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Not that I’m bitter that one’s reviled while the other’s beloved.

    ** In his review of “Judgment at Nuremberg,” Kauffmann writes he “was castigated for [his] review of On the Beach, with the implication that anyone who found faults in the film was antipeace.” I suppose it’s better to be labeled a troll than a warmonger. Progress!

    Comment by louisproyect — May 25, 2015 @ 7:05 pm

  43. You kind of lost credibility when you said that Beyond Thunderdome was better than the Road Warrior, and once you called it “the masterpiece” I basically laughed at you. Thunderdome was an attempt to bring a real budget into the Mad Max story but it lost the grit that made it a lovable film. Dialogue often does make for a great film, but it’s by no means the only judge. This movie didn’t focus on dialogue because it wasn’t needed, we were able to tell what was going on from what we saw on the screen and if anything it was refreshing to have a movie not rely on exposition to fill a story, made everything seem more real as opposed to movies that throw in dialogue that doesn’t fit the scene to hand feed the story to the audience. And while there was an excessive amount of action in this movie I actually didn’t mind it because much of it relied on practical effects with cgi mixed in (opposed to the other way around) and the unique vehicles/villains and the different types of dangers they presented kept it fresh. The characters were established for who they were as much as we needed them to be, their motives were clear and consistent (you could criticize Nux’s sudden 180 but I thought it worked) and they behaved as you would expect them to in the situation they were in. That is what makes good story telling, whether they’re trading witty thoughtful dialogue or blasting through a desert on octane and adrenaline what matters is do the characters work and do they give you a reason to care. I thought they accomplished both while delivering some extremely entertaining visuals. And it’s really only mindless if you rely on movies to do your thinking for you, it actually presents you with plenty to think about independently. Example: the soundstage car with the flamethrower guitar. My first reaction to that was “cool, but ridiculous and impractical” but I actually put some thought into it while watching the movie and it actually makes sense. This is an army who lives and breathes for their vehicles and the rush of a chase and violence. Fueling adrenaline would be a natural part of this and they would have nothing but time to work on their cars. Since they’re all trying to impress each other and their leader they would naturally try to outdo each other to call attention to themselves, building a vehicle designed to get everyone’s adrenaline up and put eyes on them while giving him something to display his level of danger (the flamethrower) would be perfect for this. None of that had to be stated in the movie but it’s presented for you and can be fuel for thought or dismissed as bravado as you see fit.

    Comment by Sam — May 25, 2015 @ 7:44 pm

  44. You don’t understand. I love summer blockbusters just as much as the next person. I loved movies like Alien, Terminator and Predator. It is just that two hours worth of car chases gets boring. If that is what you are looking for in a movie, be my guest. It is a free country after all.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 25, 2015 @ 9:38 pm

  45. I appreciate that there are dissenting opinions on the movie, though in this case some criticisms of your critique that do stand, despite the added vitriol.

    You did not talk about this movie enough and chose to focus on establishing your movie cred.

    This was my biggest problem, because I did not get an understanding of your ire toward the movie other than “I was done after 15 minutes.” That’s OK, but I would like something more substantial.

    Then you posted a recent comment (42) which is actually a better critique of the movie than the original post…

    However, I’d still rather hear how the movie failed to garner any resonance from you on the movies terms, not based on it’s failure to be like other movies.

    Here is why I liked it, and I am fervently a fan:

    Despite your claim against any subtlety, I was able to read quite a lot from the movie in ways that hints toward social commentary and gender roles when the current establishment has been obliterated (in a similar way to Lord of the Flies).

    None of this was explicitly discussed, it was our job to digest what we saw and make our own conclusions (as I feel any show-don’t tell movie is supposed to do, I.E subtlety). That is what I read from Alfred Hitchcock’s quote and what I believe George Miller was trying to believe. I found it successful in that, but it’s fine if you didn’t.

    Now of course that is just part of the movie (incidentally much of that comes around the 15 minute point, though I realize you were using hyperbole.

    One last thing is on the character Nux. Superficially there are issues with this behavior and turn towards the last half of the movie, but that goes back to the subtlety of Immortan Joe’s indoctrination. Nux, like the wives, is very much a victim of objectification (to paraphrase: hes just war fodder).

    To me, these points are short yet profound because it puts us in the backdrop of the feminist argument that you claim is lacking, which is this: Objectification hurts not just women but also men, and both are better served by removing it. And if you think I’m grasping for straws here, at one point (15 minutes in again) this was plainly stated AND written, just in case we didn’t get it (“You cannot own a human” “We are not things”).

    Stepping out of the superficial reading of Nux, his transformation from zealot to hero comes from his failure and realization that he has been cut off from his purpose, a purpose given to him on a false ideology. It took one of the wives who had already known this to help him take the final step out. Compare when he says “witness me” to Max in the early part, and when he says it towards capable at the end and you will see some emotional complexity.

    Comment by Joe — May 26, 2015 @ 11:28 am

  46. It started brilliantly, I mean that storm sequence was out of this world but then it started to drag and then ultimately it really went no-where. It just got too repetitive. Spectacular but repetitive.

    Also, Tom Hardy was pretty awful, laughable even. I found him surprisingly charisma free in this, he just didn’t have enough presence.

    The only great Mad Max was the 2nd. It was much more than one long car chase.

    Comment by Mike — May 26, 2015 @ 2:36 pm

  47. Stepping out of the superficial reading of Nux, his transformation from zealot to hero comes from his failure and realization that he has been cut off from his purpose, a purpose given to him on a false ideology.

    Well, the problem is that you are projecting your own reading into the character rather than allowing the dialog to create such a premise. That is the problem with this film. It becomes an ink blot that invites interpretations that are not supported by the story-telling. If I had been the scriptwriter, I would have had Dux apprehended by the bad guys and tortured close to the point of death but rescued at the last minute by Mad Max. On the way back to the truck, Max would have talked to him about his own story and helped Dux understand the need to oppose Immortan Joe. That might have taken 15 minutes away from the godawful monotony of the road chase and made for a more intelligent film but George Miller forgot Screenwriting 101 unfortunately.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 26, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

  48. This is ridiculous. If anyone disagrees with the consensus, hundreds of mindless movie nuts harass the critic. The movie sucked. The plot was lame and it oozed with third wave feminism. The adolescent male movie audience is apparently too stupid to catch onto this fact. The main character of the movie series was rendered a sidekick who stumbled into the film, unable to even deliver any memorable movie lines. I know that most of you just hit puberty and you are satisfied with two hours of bad road chases with scantily dressed models and no meaningful dialogue, but even a truck solely dedicated to heavy metal couldn’t make this movie mildly interesting.

    Comment by YourConscience — May 26, 2015 @ 6:42 pm

  49. Nux didn’t need Max. Nobody did. Immortan Joe saw Nux’s “bloodbag” behind the wheel of the getaway car. That is where he lost “Valhalla”. He had no home and nowhere to turn. He was sulking and thinking about his situation when the nice girl came along. That’s when he decided to help. Pretty intelligent writing in my opinion.

    Comment by Crtlew — May 26, 2015 @ 7:12 pm

  50. The nice girl came along? You mean the one he was just trying to deliver to Immortan Joe as his sex slave? Gosh, those girlies can really be fickle.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 26, 2015 @ 7:15 pm

  51. Yep. That girl. Not a lot to choose from at the end of the world. I respect your view of the movie by the way. Not cool to have so many nasty responses on here. I don’t agree with your take, but it’s still your take. Free country.

    Comment by Crtlew — May 26, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

  52. First – every line of dialogue was precious, ready to become an instant catchphrase. “Feels like hope” or “Don’t get addicted to aqua cola – it will take a hold of you and you will resent its absence” or “Then who killed the world?” can only be compared to similarly iconic phrases from Lawrence of Arabia (“Am I ordinary? I’m extraordinary!”, “Nothing is written!”, etc).
    Second – it seems that for some people the language of symbols and allegories is completely lost. And old idea that life is motion – you stop when you die, you die when you stop – has been more than obviously hinted at in the movie. Anti-consumerism -cheeburgers and cola awaiting in Valhalla, where you go “all shiny and chrome”- was also more than obvious. Themes of economic oppression were also pretty clear: people become cows, bloodbags, breeders – commodities, in other words. It’s a pretty direct and simple allegory of what’s going on in the world right now and I can’t believe anyone missed it…
    I actually was glad to have seen a movie that delivers its multiple messages and ideas in symbols, hints, analogies and allegories, instead of insulting my intelligence by endlessly explaining obvious things over and over again in lengthy sheets of badly-written dialogues and monologues…

    Comment by Unknown — May 26, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

  53. Themes of economic oppression were also pretty clear

    Every post-apocalyptic film has such elements from “Waterworld” to George Romero’s “Land of the Dead”. As a Marxist, I would naturally be inclined to look benignly at such works. However, I hate being bored more than I hate being exposed to rightwing garbage like “Zero Dark Thirty”. That is why I gave Miller’s film a “rotten”. If you enjoyed it, that’s okay. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. I write my reviews mostly for my readers here and not for Rotten Tomatoes fan boys. I doubt that a single one of my readers has an XBox. Or listens to heavy metal. You get the picture.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 26, 2015 @ 8:49 pm

  54. I think Fury Road is great as an anti-intellectual guide to the problems of our times. I was amazed at the subtlety and rapidity with which the director shot jokes and satires at the viewer, and also amazed at how duh-yawn lefty reviewers missed all the fun happening in the movie.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 26, 2015 @ 9:24 pm

  55. For people’s information, Jurriaan is not noted for his sense of humor but for his finely honed venomous outbursts.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 26, 2015 @ 9:26 pm

  56. Hey Louis, mostly agree about the film, think the comment thread here is amazing. I’ve been a devotee of these films for a long time. The first one is pretty limited but interesting for setting up the premise. The second is fully realized, as I think most people agree. The third also good, especially w/Tina Turner. This one is largely a knock-off of the second, except almost all chase and no story as you note.

    Comment by MaxSpeak — May 26, 2015 @ 9:29 pm

  57. Sure, many movies carry such messages. The question is to me, which one expresses it in a more creative, poignant, bright way. Elisium, for instance, is extremely bland, simple movie despite having a valuable message. I would’ve been bored to death if not for Sharlto Copley. Fury Road had much fresher ideas, which were also better executed.
    I was still entertained by the first Matrix despite the fact that idea-wise it was perhaps one of the most unoriginal films ever – yet it told an old story in a creative way.
    Fury Road, I thought, was by far more imaginative and creative in details than Matrix, so I was entertained even more.

    Comment by Unknown — May 26, 2015 @ 9:45 pm

  58. Louis, you might want to stick to reviewing art house movies

    Comment by Gregory A. Butler (@GREGORYABUTLER) — May 27, 2015 @ 12:12 am

  59. I don’t mind being in a minority. I’ve been a Marxist since 1967 after all.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 27, 2015 @ 12:44 am

  60. It’s hardly a minority really. If you read the reviews from those that wisely reject the hype they are the most insightful & accurate when it comes to how history will ultimately judge this boring, mediocre spin off of the DIE HARD genre film.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 27, 2015 @ 1:01 am

  61. Actually, I’ve only been able to find 4 other negative reviews. One of them accused Miller of using too much CGI (he used almost none) and the other repeatedly referred to Fury Road as a “reboot” of the Mad Max franchise. (It isn’t.) So no, I’d characterize the naysayers as anything but accurate. They’re either dishonest or just plain ignorant.

    Comment by Grady Elliott — May 27, 2015 @ 1:33 am

  62. Also, most of them don’t have the courage to allow comments. So props to Mr. Proyect for that!

    Comment by Grady Elliott — May 27, 2015 @ 1:34 am

  63. I suppose there is no point in pointing out that Mad Max preceded Die Hard by close to a decade.

    Comment by Alan B — May 27, 2015 @ 2:00 am

  64. “Well, the problem is that you are projecting your own reading into the character rather than allowing the dialog to create such a premise. That is the problem with this film. It becomes an ink blot that invites interpretations that are not supported by the story-telling. If I had been the scriptwriter, I would have had Dux apprehended by the bad guys and tortured close to the point of death but rescued at the last minute by Mad Max. On the way back to the truck, Max would have talked to him about his own story and helped Dux understand the need to oppose Immortan Joe. That might have taken 15 minutes away from the godawful monotony of the road chase and made for a more intelligent film but George Miller forgot Screenwriting 101 unfortunately.”

    I fail to see how that is a problem.

    I know that literature is a different medium, but that is precisely what makes great books is that we can read our own stories into the characters and make them meaningful in ways that perhaps the author didn’t intend.

    I disagree wholly that screenwriters have to hand-hold the viewers and affect a specific experience onto them. Certainly there are fantastic examples of this working great (I.E. Kubrick) but I hold the opposite to also be valid.

    That said, yes there are “incorrect” ways to read into a text of view a screenplay, but my interpretation was not at all out of line with the story.

    Just because the direct didn’t intend it (and I think in this case he did) in no ways removes any metaphorical resonance the film may have. Give the viewer more credit.

    Comment by Joe — May 27, 2015 @ 2:10 am

  65. I know that literature is a different medium, but that is precisely what makes great books is that we can read our own stories into the characters and make them meaningful in ways that perhaps the author didn’t intend.

    That sounds plausible when you are talking about something like “The Merchant of Venice” or a Joseph Conrad novel but applying it to “Mad Max: Fury Road” makes about as much sense as applying it to a Roadrunner cartoon.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 27, 2015 @ 2:25 am

  66. A film whose main characters spend most of their time in a truck but with more drama than any of the Mad Max’s..

    Comment by louisproyect — May 27, 2015 @ 3:42 am

  67. “That sounds plausible when you are talking about something like “The Merchant of Venice” or a Joseph Conrad novel but applying it to “Mad Max: Fury Road” makes about as much sense as applying it to a Roadrunner cartoon.”

    Exactly, This is Mad Max, which has always been about presenting a world through various means.

    I get it, it had no appeal to you, that’s fine. I’m a fan of good dialogue as well.

    Your use of scripting, however, feels more like a crutch. Your earlier suggestion was not at all in line with the movie. This version of Max isn’t exactly one for words is he? Certainly not for giving his life’s history to someone.

    This is what partly perplexes me about your review, you deride the movie for a lack of dialogue but then praise it’s predecessor for exactly the same thing. What worked for you then that didn’t work for you now? That would have been a more interesting point.

    Again, your comment in 42 was a far more interesting critique and fairly stated. Most positive reviews are fairly garbage, seemingly a testosterone fueled competition and race to give a trending movie praise. I also like that you used a similar movie to draw us in to your point, to paraphrase “I liked Sucker Punch but not Mad Max”, fair enough.

    What sets you apart, from what I can tell, is that the movie didn’t take enough time to pause and reflect on the story through dialogue? There has been too much of this in movies recently, so I felt that this was a nice fresh change pace.

    It’s fine that it didn’t work for you but your review places yourself in such an obscure position that it’s hard to relate to but which is not the problem in your later comment.

    Comment by Joe — May 27, 2015 @ 4:12 am

  68. Just realized that was a posted article, so much for careful reading.

    That’s what I liked about that article compared to your review, there were fair critiques in it about poptimism, and why the movie didn’t work for that author, that I just didn’t see from your review.

    Comment by Joe — May 27, 2015 @ 4:19 am

  69. I wasn’t talking about venom, Louis, I was talking about fun. But OK, it’s your blog, you can “project” what you want.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 27, 2015 @ 1:15 pm

  70. Your mentioning of Wages of Fear was like saying that Rosemary’s Child is a better horror film than Cannibal Holocaust just because it has more suspense. Well, Cannibal Holocaust was not concerned with suspense at all, to begin with. That was never the intended point of that movie, it had other things to explore.
    Psychological character study of different men under the conditions of extreme stress -which to me was one of the main themes of Wages of Fear- was not the focus of Mad Max at all. It was never meant to have 15 Minutes of Heaven’s level of interpersonal tension. Frankly, characters of similar depth would’ve looked plain silly in a movie like Mad Max.
    Mad Max is there to express its themes and ideas through grotesque flamboyancy, disturbing details and non-stop freak-show. Naturally, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. But it succeeds greatly in what it tries to achieve. It’s doesn’t make it dumb of bad. I wonder if you disliked Lord of the Rings as well for its flat, mono-dimensional characters? Or For a Fistful of Dollars because Man With No Name almost never speaks?

    Comment by Unknown — May 27, 2015 @ 3:59 pm

  71. There is nothing one-dimensional about Frodo Baggins. His tortured attempts to both exploit the ring and to render it unreachable by everybody, including himself, was key to Tolkien’s drama. Also, my problem is not one-dimensionality in characters. I loved the Mad Max films that preceded Fury Road. It is rather the latest film’s repetitiveness. I was into the film, as I said, until after about 15 minutes when it dawned on me that it would be nothing but Mad Max and Theron trying to keep the truck going. The problem is more one of pacing rather than character development. Just by coincidence, I watched the first 15 minutes or so of Road Warrior last night and remembered why I was a fan of previous Miller films. The interaction between Max, Max’s dog, and the aviator in long johns was pure magic. It had great humor with the aviator competing with the dog over the remainder of the corned beef hash in a can (or whatever it was) that Max had eaten. It was this kind of humor that was missing in the latest film.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 27, 2015 @ 5:27 pm

  72. I’m not sure what’s wrong with some degree of predictability in this case. It’s not a detective/mystery, after all. What entertained me was that every segment of the grand chase brought something new: 1st had spiked cars from The Cars That Ate Paris and explosive javelins, 2nd one introduced raiders’ flying motorbikes and an army of Immortan Joe’s freakmobiles, 3d – Bullet Farm’s flamethrowers, 4th – Gas Town’s polecats. Each of them introduced some visually new kind of action to the main sequence. This is far from repetitive.
    Landscapes: Citadel, desert, sandstorm, swamp, salt flats – were all majestic and constantly changing as well.
    Quirky details – like Joe’s “milk farm”, concept of “blood bags”, “breeders”, stork-men in the swamp, etc. kept stimulating my imagination: what’s the story behind each of them? What ideas do they represent? What next is going to be thrown into my face?
    Besides, I grew kind of attached to the war rig. I kept thinking of it as some magnificent beast, a thing of legend in a way. Kind of the same way I think of Max’s original Pursuit Special, actually.
    Max’s “thawing” from a PTS sufferer having a constant panic attack to just a PTS sufferer was also interesting, albeit nothing complex or subtle. Still, made for a nice crude character arc. (Second time I saw the film and actually watched more acting rather than action, I thought his PTSD was almost disturbingly realistically acted).
    I do agree that overall Fury Road lacks the humour of the Road Warrior and Thunderdome. It has some of it, but not much, and both Hardy and Theron seem a wee bit too serious. But it didn’t spoil the general experience for me one bit…

    Comment by Unknown — May 27, 2015 @ 8:13 pm

  73. 1st had spiked cars from The Cars That Ate Paris and explosive javelins, 2nd one introduced raiders’ flying motorbikes and an army of Immortan Joe’s freakmobiles, 3d – Bullet Farm’s flamethrowers, 4th – Gas Town’s polecats. Each of them introduced some visually new kind of action to the main sequence.

    I think your bar is set a lot lower than mine but that’s okay. It’s a free country.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 27, 2015 @ 10:30 pm

  74. This was truly an appalling movie …Miller should’ve stopped at Mad Max 2

    Comment by Gaz — May 28, 2015 @ 8:46 am

  75. I wasn’t talking about venom, but about fun, Louis. Since of course this is your blog, you can project what you like and vent all sorts of smears. I won’t comment again.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 28, 2015 @ 10:45 am

  76. I think it’s not so much about setting the bar high. It just seems to me that you lost the ability to appreciate and enjoy inanimate objects in movies. You seem to tie your enjoyment solely to the interaction between characters. I may be incorrect in this assumption, but such is perception.
    To me, however, setting and objects are as important as the characters. Take the splendid desert out of Lawrence of Arabia – and it won’t be even half the movie it is, no matter how interesting the characters or dialogue are. I can’t imagine watching Lawrence of Arabia just for the sake of getting into Lawrence’s head – I had more than enough of that in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. But seeing Lawrence portrayed in his “natural habitat” was what attracted me.

    Comment by Unknown — May 28, 2015 @ 4:40 pm

  77. A constant barrage of your readers insulting you and you insulting them back. In doing so you reference how you have higher standards and expectations in films….how presumptuous. It is almost as if you get a charge out of defending your garbage of a review. The constant criticism has caused you to expound on what you initially wrote by it doesn’t change the fact that your initial vague, attention grabbing review was just a tool to create arguments in which you can posture and “feed”.

    Comment by Nick — May 28, 2015 @ 9:16 pm

  78. It is almost as if you get a charge out of defending your garbage of a review.

    Now, now. Don’t be such a meanie.

    Comment by louisproyect — May 28, 2015 @ 9:23 pm

  79. Anyone who can rewatch this film has masochistic tendencies to dull their brain and overload their eyes and ears of blaring, hot steel & gas

    Comment by Stephen — May 28, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

  80. STEPHEN above has likely sewn up the best one line review of this awfully boring one dimensionally juvenile film.

    When you weigh all the above comments a healthy critique emerges for the socially conscious film buff whose skeptical of the Hollywood Rip Off genre — this film is a dud at virtually every important criteria, sustainable entertainment being first & foremost.

    PS: I don’t imagine that a planet with 70% Brown people on it will be too enthralled with this film either since there’s so few Brown people depicted in this dystopic future.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 29, 2015 @ 1:29 am

  81. The cartoon “The Critic” with Jon Lovitz was way better than any of your critiques.

    Comment by david — May 29, 2015 @ 4:12 am

  82. I wasn’t talking about venom, I was talking about fun, Louis. Of course, it’s you blog and you can project what you want. But it was you who numerous times recommended “the ruthless criticism of everything existing”.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 29, 2015 @ 5:11 am

  83. His review isn’t garbage but just about every glowing review I’ve read has been. The plot was shallow with little characterization, so you never really felt for anyone. Nux was the only interesting one.

    The movie is yet another attempt by a failing, unimaginative industry to create a reboot from the past, exploiting peoples memories and fondness for the first films. It’s just the chase scene from Max 2 on steroids. Epileptic-fit inducing editing may be enough for the gamer generation but not me. I’m not joking actually – some poor guy near me in the cinema had one right at the start when the chase started.

    It was just dumb – “Let’s try and save our precious breeders by doing everything possible we can to make sure we probably kill them!”

    Comment by Lucian — May 29, 2015 @ 5:14 am

  84. Jurriaan: “the ruthless criticism of everything existing”.sounds flashy today to renegade youth but Marx meant that in the context of very old stogie German Aristocrats so don’t take it too literally, albeit fun to do from time time, especially in the context of the rotten Western culture that’s so infused into this terribly boring rip off of a template movie that quickly puts smart people to sleep.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 29, 2015 @ 6:23 am

  85. I thought Fury road was a hilarious send-up of contemporary ideology. I would rather go and see that movie that read hundreds of books by or about Zizek, Badiou, negri, Chantal Mouffe etc.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 29, 2015 @ 8:41 am

  86. This is an interesting contrarian reading of the film

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/mad-max-fury-road-review/

    Comment by srogouski — May 29, 2015 @ 9:58 am

  87. I saw it as closer to the original Conan film than the original Mad Max.

    (with Furiosa/Max as Conan and Joe as Thulsa Doom)

    https://stanleyrogouski.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/mad-max-fury-road-2015/

    Comment by srogouski — May 29, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  88. The jacobin review is quite good, but it still has its feet in the stinky ooze of sermonizing moralism typical of the American left (with its roots in christianism), and therefore fails to recognize the subtlety of the movie’s message.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 29, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  89. Louis,

    I hate opera

    If I were to go to Lincoln Center and see a production of Carmen, I’d write “it was three hours of people in flamboyant clothes yodeling in French – the only good part was the busty singer in a low cut corset”

    That review would be unfair – because I don’t like that genre of entertainment and any review of any opera written by me would read exactly like that (except I might change it to “yodeling in Italian” or “yodeling in German” depending on the language of the opera)

    That’s what your review reads like

    You are not a fan of modern summer blockbuster action adventure movies

    Based on your past reviews, you like slow, sedate foreign art house movies with subtitles – a bunch of boring people sitting around a drawing room in Stockholm blubbering about “God is dead! The ennui is unbearable!” in Swedish

    Why don’t you write reviews about movies like that, instead of reviewing movies that you KNOW you are going to hate before you even go in the theater (much as I hate opera or boring European art house flicks) why don’t you stay in your lane and review movies you actually like?

    Comment by Gregory A. Butler (@GREGORYABUTLER) — May 29, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

  90. But this is not true, Greg. I am capable of seeing an action film as “fresh” (Captain America) even though in the same review I view another as “rotten” (Godzilla). It is true that unlike other members of NYFCO, I don’t cover that type of film as much as I cover documentaries, foreign films, etc. but I know how to appreciate them:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/23/filming-the-fear-index/

    Comment by louisproyect — May 29, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

  91. While Winter Soldier was a pretty decent film, I’m not sure how a simple story of an old school lad struggling to adjust to the modern world without compromising his principles is anyhow more complex or subtle than any character arc in Fury Road.
    If it’s specifically witty, playful banter that you enjoyed, then In Bruges takes the cake, since it’s based specifically on it, it’s designed so that banter is its main weapon of entertainment.
    But I wouldn’t go see The Fistful of Dollars expecting too much banter. The same goes for Fury Road. The most fun in those is guessing the untold details, digging into visual hints. That stimulates imagination more, than having everything explained, no matter how witty and funny the explanations are.
    Actually, after the second viewing I found Fury Road pretty heavy on banter and jokes – only they all are purely visual. The freakmobiles and their drivers were trading non-verbal “trash talk” every minute of the chase. And the chase itself, dare I say, was at par with the one from French Connection…

    Comment by Unknown — May 29, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

  92. I gotta say, I completely agree with the critic. I am baffled by how this movie got 98% on rotten tomatoes and also by all of the support you all are giving it by bashing this critic’s review. I went with a couple of friends that are diehard Mad Max/Road Warrior fans (Thunderdome was craaap) and we agreed that it was -without hesitation- the worst movie any of us had ever seen. I loved the vehicles.

    Comment by d — May 29, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

  93. A review that is brave enough to go against the grain. absolutely the movie was a total waste of time. My wife and I ranked it up there with Tank and The Gauntlet as one of the worst movies of 50+ years of moving going.

    Comment by jbs — May 29, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

  94. BTW I don’t intend to knock religious faith as such, but I am mocking something that looks like a substantive spiritual faith, but really isn’t. Mr GW Bush claiming that “God told him” to invade Iraq, pestering the Iraqis with truckloads of imported bibles and attempts to convert them, and then watching by as a majority of the 1 million Christians over there are persecuted and forced to flee from the country – now that is christianism.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — May 29, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

  95. I’m going to have to disagree with your previous comments on not being able to “project” or interpret the characters in this film, as opposed t teh characters and dialogue of other films. As a Marxist since 1969, I would assume you are familiar with both the Situationists and Michel de Certeau, both of whom would argue that these types of literary interpretations are at the core of reading and are able to be done of anything by anybody. De Certeau wrote in his “Reading as Poaching” that “readers “[invent] in texts something different from what they ‘intended,” based upon context (169). While your review of this film does pain me, as I would think that any Marxist worth their salt would find the ways that the characters in the film are interpellated by the various societies and groups that they find themselves a part of interesting, I can respect your opinion on this, and did find the film at times repetitive. It is your casual dismissal of the textual interpretations that are at the core of how we read (and I, as well as many literary and critical theorists, would argue that watching a movie is reading) that I cannot abide by. Even if you disagree with those interpretations, I would hope that one as experienced and insightful as you would respect and acknowledge that.

    Comment by Bryan Potts — May 31, 2015 @ 4:36 am

  96. This guy just doesn’t “get it” or understand character development. Max develops in the first film, buddy. And there is plenty of character development to chew on in this new film. I don’t know how you can miss that. And I really have no idea how you think that this film doesn’t have a message or a point of view. Mad Max: Fury Road is laced with superb writing. Miller is efficient with the words he decides to use. This movie is one of the most progressive films of our time. Max is not even the main character in a movie titled after him! Everything about Furiosa is why this movie is dynamite. Miller is a genius. This is a free country, but somehow you are a “top critic” holding this movie back from a unanimous score on RT, which it rightfully deserves. You talk a lot of about being fine with being a contrarian. You know who else is fine with that? George Miller, who made the über contrarian blockbuster we have all needed. This is the sort of movie Marvel yearns to make. An awesome action movie that has something to say. Mad Max: Fury Road stands out because all of those movies fall short of this epic masterpiece.

    Comment by golddigger1216 — May 31, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

  97. I can’t believe you even thought thunder dome was close to watchable. Morons casting Tina Turner because she was big at the time. Here is similar mistake Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, because he was hot at the time.
    Go back to theater and really watch Fury Road.

    Comment by Dave Herrmann — June 3, 2015 @ 3:32 am

  98. I get it, if you have not seen the original movies over and over, this film will please you on a basic level. Basing your opinion without taking in the fact that yes, this film was made three times over previously is ridiculous. I was hoping for what it really was, a reboot. It failed horribly. Hoping for Max to be the badass, he was forgotten in the first scene. Car destroyed, caputered for a quarter of the film and with very little dialogue muttered throughout the film. Grandious in its ambition with stellar effects, the story was lacking. How hard is it to retell the same story. Tough for this film that tried and failed. Why bother.

    Comment by Havok — June 5, 2015 @ 8:15 am

  99. You just wanted to stand out on RT as one of the handful that don’t like this movie. I am not a fanboy, and frankly, if you hold ‘Thunderdome’ above sea level, then all your knowledge and credentials are wasted.

    Comment by ilikepainandpleasure — June 5, 2015 @ 11:08 pm

  100. Looks like someone wants attention!

    And of course it works when you are one of the 2% on RT who gave this film a bad review. Anyone who holds ‘Thunderdome’ above sea-level shouldn’t be recognised as a reviewer that RT uses.

    You just wrote this for the attention. Making you a click-bait hack. This facade of a review is more like a book report done on the history of George Miller the person, not ‘Fury Road’.

    Google Academy graduate ye be.
    Douche

    Comment by ilikepainandpleasure — June 5, 2015 @ 11:17 pm

  101. Comment 99: “You just wanted to stand out on RT as one of the handful that don’t like this movie.”

    Comment 100: “You just wrote this for attention.”

    At least he didn’t write the same review twice.

    Comment by kim — June 8, 2015 @ 6:09 am

  102. […] out George Miller’s epic post-apocalyptic comeback. Ok, so there are a few contrarians and bloggers servicing the minority of viewers that hated the movie, but as a whole , your ears are probably […]

    Pingback by Why Mad Max Made Me Furiousa | The Reverse Angle — June 8, 2015 @ 8:02 pm

  103. Finally a film critic whose actually seen the movie..the latest .Mad Max was sadly a piece of forgettable rubbish

    Comment by Gaz — June 14, 2015 @ 5:53 am

  104. ZOMG. I saw the movie because of an interesting review – not this one unfortunately – and I am shocked at what a lousy movie it was. If Louis didn’t review the movie, it’s because there wasn’t much movie to review. 120 minutes, 95% of which was a monster truck show. The politics were laughable. I don’t agree that the lack of dialogue was the problem – it was the lack of ideas. A complete fraud, and indicative of how corrupted the critics are. It has scored 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Comment by gothamette — June 21, 2015 @ 1:22 am

  105. Hard to believe that all these vitriolic comments are about a ridiculous movie!
    I personally didn’t like it because nothing makes sense in it, from the stupid truck that would run out of gas in the first hundred miles if the guys chasing it wouldn’t simply blow up its tires or the gas pod after the first contact, to the old ladies that miraculously survived in an absolute desert, waiting for someone (who??) to be lured into a ridiculous trap. Bits and pieces of political correctness caca throughout the movie didn’t help me like it more either.
    I guess I will side with the minority on this one… 2% is not bad!
    Auguri…

    Comment by Nick — July 3, 2015 @ 11:07 am

  106. Best action movie of the year and possibly a long time. Best of all the mad max filmography. Thunderdome was absolute crap in comparison. This review is hate for the sake of hating and only adds to the dwindling credibility of movie reviewers

    Comment by Zap — August 27, 2015 @ 1:14 am

  107. “I went to see “Mad Max: Fury Road” in 3D with no other intention except to kick back and enjoy some mindless entertainment. ”

    There’s your problem.

    Comment by Seki Nom — September 23, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

  108. I’m not opposed to films containing little dialogue, and my reasons for not liking this film do not stand or fall on that alone, however, I would say that the use of visual cues and social nuance does not, and should not, equate to brilliance.

    Every film to date has consisted of visual cues to varying degrees, and while it was clearly Millers intention to narrate the film in this way, the plot is still a very simple one and I honestly did not find the characters engaging, especially max. Tom Hardy is a solid actor, but he had no presence in this film. Not interesting in the least. Sorry. Charleze, as she tends to do, overshadowed everyone else. Let me add that I have nothing against female leads or simple plots, so avoid the caricature of me you may be painting in your head.

    Nux’s character development wasn’t believable either. While his character displayed an interesting mix of thoughts and emotion, I didn’t find his change of heart convincing. We can talk all day about how love conquers all, or how it can change a person & his/her idealogy, but for this to happen so quickly to a person who truly believes he’s going to Valhalla, stretches belief. 180’s of this type don’t
    happen overnight. The action was creative, I’ll give you that, but even so, it didn’t have me gripping my seat.

    I found it very hard to suspend my disbelief at the harem wives. Apart from the surface level dirt, these women looked like they’d just stepped out of a salon. Given the dystopian environment, their skin, hair, teeth, were alot healthier than they should’ve been. You need more than clean water to look this way. Yes, I understand the intended contrast, & one could interpret this as a metaphor for “beauty” in an “ugly” world, and how important/prized these women were to Joe, but this is completely inconsistent with a dystopian setting (allegory aside). I know this is intentional, but brilliant as others have reported? Not even close.

    If you like allegory, metaphor, & visual storytelling, that’s fine. Others may not, but deriding them because of their personal preference in how stories should be told, is unprofessional, immature, and arrogant. I see these types of films as social experiments more than anything else, in that they tend to reveal alot more about the audience & the director, than they do about their characters.

    Comment by Chris — September 25, 2015 @ 6:18 am

  109. I generally agree with your review other than there is an evident anti masculine bias…but who cares about that…not me. I feel so alone because even folks I like and respect love this film….and I HATED IT! I have no problem with a lack of exposition….big Miyazaki fan here….but I am bored by endless action sections (better as punctuation than text) and I hate when the ending is so predictable. This is only my opinion but I think it is even MORE overrated than Avatar….I wonder if it’s something they put in the water….I hate water…..

    Comment by bbushh — September 29, 2015 @ 3:43 am

  110. You’re basic premise that the movie is repetitive is wrong. It’s a “road” movie just like the previous Mad Max movies which you seemed to like. The idea that the characters were on a long road trip in search of something does not make the movie repetitive. That aside there were more than a few sections of the film that were not the road chase (which by the way was completely absorbing both in it’s varied and original action sequences and visuals such as the incredible storm and blue sky environment) including a chunk at the very beginning, the fight between Max and Furiosa and the stop in the hoped for but unrealized promised green place. And there are other segments like this outside the road chase. As for Nux. You are projecting your own feelings on his behavior. Young men, especially considering the post apocalyptic extreme world Nux is dealing with here, are prone to be fickle. Especially when it comes to the attention of women. It’s not unrealistic for Nux to eat up any attention he can get from one of the females, and beautiful females at that, in spite of the fact that he was previously trying to hunt them down. He has been, after all, alienated from his leader and the hoped for final destination of Valhalla. I know more than a few male friends and acquaintances in real life who were much more 180 in their behavior and feelings when it came to women. I get you may not like the film, but much of your criticism (what little you provided that is to back up your claim) is just wrong.

    Comment by jboscarino — October 13, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

  111. This is the amazing blog comment thread that amazingly never ends.

    Comment by MaxSpeak — October 13, 2015 @ 7:56 pm

  112. It was a boring movie. I couldnt make it past the first hour.

    Comment by Bobfrog — December 29, 2015 @ 12:12 am

  113. Fascinating review and comment thread. I was really excited to see this based on the near-universal acclaim, but became bored, and then exasperated, after the first hour. And my DVD collection will show a person that likes mindless action movies quite a lot.

    It seemed to me, in reading several of the glowing reviews, that critics were desperate to add Charlize Theron to that duo of universally-revered female action performances (Linda Hamilton in T2 and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens). But even if it were the best performance in the history of acting, what good could it be without the rock-solid motivations given to those two, in far superior screenplays, in far more interesting worlds? Did anyone doubt for a second Sarah Connor’s love for her son, or Ripley’s for her surrogate daughter Newt? Contrast that with Theron’s love for…the praise of 2015 America’s shifting moral sensibilities. I guess.

    There ought to be a RT-correction in the mind of any discerning moviegoer–if a well-received movie is applauded for feminism across a dozen publications, you can deduct about 10-15%. Likewise, if the directors are accused of “crypto-conservatism”, such as with AV Club’s review of Hail Caesar!, you can add about the same.

    Comment by SecretaryNS — February 8, 2016 @ 4:46 pm


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