I’m a fan of Mad Max movies. Big time. Their wildly imagined post-apocalyptic world, plus the action, the chases, and of course Max himself — the knight-errant/lone-hero-wandering-the-wasteland — add up to an iconic film series. My novel China Lake features an argument that references The Road Warrior. It’s Evan Delaney’s favorite movie (surpassing even Armageddon). So yeah, I lined up to see the newest film, Mad Max: Fury Road, the day it opened.
And I loved it. It’s tense and thrilling. Director George Miller’s frenetic aesthetic — violent, adrenaline-pumping, literally high octane — is on glorious display. Tom Hardy is excellent as Max. And Charlize Theron is a fantastic surprise as Furiosa, a scarred, resilient new hero. She risks everything to free a group of women from sex slavery, and ends up enlisting Max as her ally. Yes: the face of Dior kicks ass.
After the credits, the Husband and I stumbled from the theater, dazed. He said it was as intense as Whiplash. I said that to calm down we needed to watch a video of puppies sleeping.
I told everybody how much I loved it. I tweeted my enthusiasm. I texted my son, words like ungodly intense and unbelievably good. I stopped texting when I realized I was going to end up on Youtube, being shown falling into a fountain. I babbled to the Husband about the script and the midpoint turn in the plot, about archetype and myth and symbols of life fighting free of a twisted culture of death.
The movie rang my bell.
Then a friend who’s a parent asked if teens could handle it.
I said it would be fine for a 16-year-old. The violence is so over the top that it’s cartoonish. It might not be okay for a 14-year-old — while there aren’t any sex scenes, there’s some disturbing imagery.
The Husband said: some disturbing imagery? Yeah. Chastity belts, sex slaves, women hooked to milking machines… our friend might end up explaining the birds, bees and S & M. However, the scene with parched skimpily clad ladies sucking on water hoses has a wet T shirt vibe… a 16-year-old boy would love it.
The Husband agreed: the story is gripping. But the movie’s a hard R, nowhere close to PG-13.
Then he noted that I saw a different movie than he did. He saw sex slavery; I saw the 1 hour plot turn. He saw wet T shirts; I saw character development.
Reminding me: sometimes writers get so immersed in the story, we don’t see the audience.
And Mad Max: Fury Road is Evan Delaney’s new favorite movie. Count on it.