Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 138: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

Episode 138

What a lovely podcast… It’s Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 138. A show that will go down in history. Your usual hosts — Jason, Andy and Karl — welcome special guests Willis Wheeler and William Rowan Jr. for an EPIC, knock-down, drag out, all practical effects, no CGI Feature Review of the controversial Mad Max: Fury Road. Jason also brings you a Feature Review of Pitch Perfect 2. And, of course, we also bring you our famous Mini Reviews and recommendation segments. Please vote on our poll question below:

If you’re new to our show… Movie Podcast Weekly typically features three hosts — Jason, Andy and Karl — along with frequent guests. We give you our verdicts on at least one new movie release from the current year that’s currently playing in theaters, as well as several mini reviews of whatever we’ve been watching lately. And we usually provide specialized genre recommendations. New episodes release every single Wednesday.


SHOW NOTES:

I. Introduction
— Is Karl moonlighting as a dentist?
— Jason encounters a Willis Wheeler fan in Phoenix, AZ


[ 0:07:04 ] II. Mini Reviews
William Rowan Jr: Winnebago Man
Story: Andy almost gets in another fight at the movie theater
Karl: Car review of the 2015 Chevy Suburban
Jason: Get Shorty, Recount
Willis Wheeler: V/H/S: Viral, The Babadook, New trailer for Jem and the Holograms, Agents of Shield Season Finale (no spoilers)
Andy: Patriot Games, The Pink Panther 2, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia


III. What’s New in Theaters This Past Weekend
Mad Max: Fury Road
Pitch Perfect 2
I’ll See You in My Dreams [ Limited ]
Good Kill [ Limited ]
The Connection [ Limited ]
Set Fire to the Stars [ Limited ]
Where Hope Grows [ Limited ]
The Film Critic [ Limited ]

FEATURE REVIEWS HAVE TIME STAMPS:

[ 0:53:14 ] IV. Feature Review: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)
Jason = 5.5 ( Theater / Rental )
Andy = 7.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Karl = 7.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Willis Wheeler = 10 ( Theater / Buy it! )
William Rowan Jr. = 7.5 ( Stream it )


[ 1:37:44 ] V. Feature Review: PITCH PERFECT 2 (2015)
Jason = 4 ( Avoid )


VI. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending


COMING UP ON MPW NEXT WEEK:
Episode 138 when we’ll be reviewing “Poltergeist” and “Tomorrowland.”


LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

William Rowan Jr’s show: The SciFi Podcast (A must-listen!)

Willis Wheeler’s links:
Two-Drink Commentaries
NFW Commentaries Podcast
The Wild Man’s YouTube Channel
Willis Wheeler on TV’s Toy Hunter
Terror Troop horror podcast
Cinema Beef Podcast
Willis on Twitter: @NastyWillDC
Willis on Facebook

Provo Film Society on Facebook
Provo Film Society on Twitter

Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

Contact MPW:
E-mail us: MoviePodcastWeekly@gmail.com.
Leave us a voicemail: (801) 382-8789.
Follow MPW on Twitter: @MovieCastWeekly
Leave a comment in the show notes for this episode.

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Right-click to download the MPW 100 Rap

Keep up with Josh:
Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming movies on: Movie Stream Cast

If you’re a Horror fan, listen to Jason and Josh on HORROR MOVIE PODCAST

We’d like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave himself for the use of his music for our theme song. Buy Dave’s Eaton’s music: BandCamp.com


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Thanks for listening, and join us again next Wednesday for Movie Podcast Weekly.


43 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 138: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015)

  1. I haven’t even seen “Fury Road” but I feel like I’m going to have to open a beer to deal with this episode.

  2. Hey guys!

    On movie theater wtf experiences. Andy, I know how you feel! I always seem to have the best luck with rude people when I go to the movies. Besides the backseat driver seating behind me during Life of Pi, literally reacting out loud to everything that was happening—”There’s a tiger in the boat!”—or the teenagers (I’m assuming) that proceeded to take selfies throughout an entire movie :/ by far my favorite wtf moment at a theater was during Michael Jackson’s This Is It. During the movie, this one guy a few rows in front of me picked up a phone call as if he was in his own home. He had an entire conversation out loud, until the group sitting behind him asked him to be quiet. It escalated so quickly. All of a sudden, both groups were standing up yelling at each other. They were so close to getting physically violent, it was so tense. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson is on the giant IMAX screen talking about how “all we need is to love and respect one another.” I laughed and cried a little haha :/

    • Haha this story always gets me. Oddly enough, I can’t remember who I went with to see this movie. Couldn’t have been you because I didn’t witness the fight. Hmmm…

      Not gonna lie, it’s kind of weird talking to you on here haha. I guess in the future I could just send you a message, but this story is so good and it’s getting no love that I just had to intervene :/

      Hey guys, this is my boy Berto. Say hi to him. He’s cool.

    • Holy smokes, there’s a tiger in the boat?!

      That’s great.

      It’s possible they were narrating to a seeing-impaired companion, but more likely they were playing the part of Captain Obvious.

      p.s. Whatup, Berto.

  3. Hello Guys,

    Another great podcast I can really hear the gloves coming off during this show. The entire show could have been about Willis defending “Fury Road” good job by the way Willis (it is not a Reboot!)

    As for Andy I am with him 100% with people look at their phone during a movie it is very annoying and when I usher in the movie theater I always tell people politely to turn them off. Maybe next time Andy can tell an usher and that way he can avoid a fight.

    I do agree with you J Andy does see alot of movies but people say that about me to. I watch alot of Netflix and I go to the movies all the time. I love my DVR and find that the best way to catch up on shows im interested in. I tend to watch 5 episodes at a time for one show and that helps me get thru all the commercials quickly. I rarely watch on the day or night it comes out so I have to avoid any spoilers for a show. I think the only show I do watch right when it comes out is “Walking Dead” and only do that because so many people are talking about it the next day.

    Now I do have a bone to pick with Mr Willis, he is totally wrong about the BABADOOK! It is a great thought provoking movie that me and my girlfriend discussed well into the night. Tell Willis not all horror movies need you to see the monster. Sometimes are imagination is the best thing to scare us.

    Now for Fury Road I am going to somewhat agree with Willis, it is a good movie I give it an 8 and to see it in the theater. However J I also see your point that it could have used some more background on the characters. It is an action packed movie from beginning to end with stunning stunts and awesome chases. In my opinion Road Warrior is the better movie (Sorry Shannon) because it does have the characters develop and when they do get killed you feel something like you are rooting for them to make it unlike Fury Road you don’t feel bad when they die because you didnt get to know the characters except for one… Won’t spoil that!

    For Pitch Perfect 2, I give it a 9 I loved it. Yeah I know but im a sucker for musicals. J are you telling me you did not have any feelings during the final show? Come on that was a great ending and very emotional.

    Thanks for putting together a great podcast and would still like to hear Andy’s review and rating on “Coldwater” .

    Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and enjoy the movies!

    Mario (LOON)

    • So many podcasts hype it up so much , and it really let me down . That ending pissed me off big time . That little boy was to smart mouth for his own good . And I hated that mom big time . . It was just a big letdown big time .

      • Yes Willis,

        At the beginning of the movie I to thought the little boy is annoying but the more you watch it you understand why he is the way he is… The movie has so many aspects of forgiveness, regret, animosity, and blame. Without going into spoilers me and my girlfriend debated was the BABADOOK even real was it all in her head? Hmmm. I know you wont watch it again but I think it wasn’t about the monster but the mom putting the past behind her.

        • Willis, you keep saying that all the people you talk to say they feel the same about The Babadook than you do, but what about all the people from all of the podcasts “hyping it up” and all of the people from this comment board that are big fans of it? They count too, don’t you think? That it’s not your cup of tea, I can understand, but to just dismiss it and call it a disappointment is wrong. It seems to me that you set yourself up by expecting the monster to be something in your mind that ended up being something entirely different in the movie. That’s not the movie’s fault, that’s your fault bro.

          Anyway, love you Willis!

  4. I’ve never been so excited to listen to a podcast before…almost as much I was excited to see the movie the podcast was about…First off…Willis you did me proud…Everything you said was exactly what I’ve been thinking…Second…I was shocked by Andy’s 7.5…way better than I was expecting…So Andy’s, Karl’s and William’s matching scores I can live with…Now I have to find redemtion in myself with Immortan Jay’s “Ah, mediocre! ” review…All I gotta say is “This is Thunderdome, and death is listening, and will take the first man that screams!!! :)

    • You dropped a puzzled-sounding “what?!” early on that sounded like Josh’s soundbite from The Sci-Fi Podcast. That’s all.

      Then again, it’s not like Josh has a copyright on “what?!”

  5. To anyone,

    Was the zombie-ish kid that Max Keep seeing in his minds-eye, his dead child?
    And if so, I think it’s so detrimental to this franchise that they never bring it up in any of the movies except the first one. It’s Max’s entire motivation and backstory to who he I s, what he’s doing, and what he’s going to do.
    That’s why the last act of the first movie is so good. You want Max to run down those road punks. And yes, Max loses the little bit of humanity he had left in him, but at this point we think it’s worth it, it’s a price that needs to be paid, and that vengeance and revenge is justified at this point.
    I just think that every Mad Max movie should be about that in someway. Especially if Max is in it.

  6. I sense an eerie quiet. … Like before a storm. I’m weirded out by how (relatively) reserved and withdrawn everyone has been about “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

    Hasn’t everyone seen it yet?

    I know people generally think my opinions are nuts, but Karl and Andy had some of the same complaints. So, I guess I thought we’d hear from some vehement Mad Max lovers out there.

    Confession: I am genuinely astounded at how “in the minority” of opinion I am about this movie. I can’t believe how many people were “over the moon” about the film!

    The /Filmcast guys gushed and gushed all over it. RT still has a high score. I feel like I’m in a bizarro world where I’m Armond White, a disagreeable naysayer who hates joy and happiness… ha ha.

    I must also confess, I have wanted to watch Fury Road (in the theater) again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Honestly, as impression as all that action is, I just found it a little mind-numbing…

    I’m not looking for allies out there, but honestly, wasn’t there anyone else out there who felt “Fury Road” was seriously deficient in its story and character development? How come that didn’t seem to bother anyone else?

    Josh texted me last night and said The Sci-Fi Podcast will be reviewing “Fury Road,” and he said they all love it. Even Josh! ha ha. If there was anybody else who I thought would gripe about a two-hour action setpiece masquerading as a movie I thought it would be Josh.

    Maybe I need to put up a poll question… But the RT score seems to be indicative of what those results would be…

    Well, that’s all I have to say, I guess. I’m interested in hearing more from all of you. Tell me why you loved it so much. I’d love to know. : )

    J

    • Jay, as usual I haven’t seen the movie yet but if I were to play a game of Andy’s advocate and express a strong opinion on the issue without having viewed “Fury Road” I’m afraid to say I’d come down on the side of Willis.

      To me it sounded like the complaints were running contrary to what this franchise always has been: a fun, adrenaline fuelled group of post apocalyptic action-exploitation films. In my mind Max has never been much more than a vessel on which the audience is permitted to sail this violent and desolated landscape. Sure he was given a back-story in the first film but in the following instalments he might as well have been a totally different character. He’s the the embodiment of the mysterious, mostly silent drifter and I’ve never wanted him to be more than that. I’ve also never wanted more than fun, over-the-top violence and awesomely tarnished visuals from these films. There’s a place for convoluted story structure but this franchise ain’t the place for it. The world presented to us has no structure, life there would indeed feel like one big chase sequence. There’s no respite and little hope.

      I do empathise with your plea for more elements of narrative but I don’t know that I’d go into an actionsploitation movie expecting much more than the barest of bones. In fact, as much as I normally bemoan a lack of character development and story structure, this is one of those instances where I feel that stuff might have a negatively dilutive effect. I think part of the problem I have with a bunch of modern action films is how convoluted they’ve become. If a story is thrust in inorganically then I’d honestly rather it just not be there at all. Give us real explosions, evil bad guys and outnumbered good guys. That’s all this kind of film needs if it’s executed well enough. Not all paintings need heavily defined outlines. Sometimes an abstract blur of colour and texture can be just as beautiful.

      • HelloJ,

        I really think your over thinking the story sometimes we just need to be entertained and I agree it was an all out action movie. It did have a story but just like Karl said it was poorly told and could have used more back story in between all of the action. I still stand by my rating of an 8 and enjoyed it for what it was. If you do watch it again maybe drink some RED BULL to get your adrenaline pumping before the movie LOL!

        Hey you like the Village which I think is a horrible movie give it a 2 and to avoid! Everyone has different taste but it is good to know that this a great forum where we can discuss are likes and dislikes freely on here!

        Also I want to commend you on your podcast as I have been listening to other podcasts that I can not stand as they use profanity in them. It seems like every other sentence is an obscenity and I can not understand why people have to talk like that to make a point. I enjoy your show with the intelligent conversation without the profanity. I wont say who the other podcast’s are but i’m sure they know. I am not a prude but I don’t think it is needed in a podcast to express how you feel.

        Well have a good weekend at the movies and look forward to listening to your next podcast.

        Mario (LOON)

      • I told my mom I was doing a review of the new mad max , i told jay wanted more story . And she said the funniest thing , ” have he ever seen a mad max movie before none of them never really had a story that why people love the movies . And to add to that point when they have a story u get tunderdome .

      • David; Well done, and I agree with you. As a person who sees mostly character and plot driven movies, I’ve got to say… I didn’t expect nor require it from this movie. Loved your review!

        • Fury Road was an ultra-creative blast.

          George Miller was not only in the zone, but that man’s imagination is impressive. He’s 70 and he imbued the film with so much energy!

          I cried three times.

    • I have some comments I’ve been wanting to get down, but just haven’t had the time to do so yet. I wouldn’t call it a storm, but rather a well-mannered defense in favor of the movie.

      Don’t worry, J, I’ll have something for you later…

    • To David, Mario and Willis:
      Guys, I’m not asking for a “Poorly Told Story” or a “Shoe-Horned Story” or a “Convoluted Story” or a “Dumb, Thunderdome Story,” I’m asking for a “Great Story” to accompany — and *facilitate* — the Great Action!

      I was astounded that there is this hint or suggestion that a story must inherently be terrible and detract from a movie. Willis, you’ve been worshiping at the Michael Bay / Transformers altar for far too long… (Exhibits A and B: Your utter dismissal of “The Babadook” or your refusal to even try to watch anything where people don’t wear spandex tights and colorful capes… To quote Roger Ebert, if stuff’s not “blowing up real good,” then Willis won’t watch it.)

      And to Willis’s sweet mom’s point (and David’s) about the story elements of the original movies… I would argue that there was story — at least, more than we got with “Fury Road.” (See William Rowan Jr.’s excellent point above about the zombie kid, as he calls her.) How do we know all that information about where Max is coming from, if it had no story.

      But for the sake of discussion, let’s just assume that the original movies had just as little story as “Fury Road”… Why can’t we desire to get this new installment that has both great action and a great story? Come on, let’s want / expect more out of the most versatile and dynamic medium that we call the cinema! It’s the greatest storytelling artistic medium in existence! (It can deliver so much more than a blurry painting, David!)

      Guys, don’t you remember what it feels like to watch “Die Hard” (1988)? It’s an action masterpiece. Why? Because the effects are good? Partly. But the real reason that film is such a blast is because the premise or circumstances are so thrilling! Bruce Willis is a cop who’s at his wife’s company’s Christmas party when the building is overtaken by some serious bad guys! And only Officer McClane, this lone cop, remains free to roam the building, trying to save the day.

      When action beats are spawned by story beats (or a genuine need in the writing to execute a story element through action), then it enhances the action 100 percent!

      Finally, last example (and homework for Willis): Story can be so compelling and so powerful that it can still be thrilling and engaging without any physical action at all. No, I don’t want that for my Mad Max movie, but I’m just explaining, that a great story can thrill you as much as great action.

      Case in point: I feel like we all need to revisit what great story is and what it means (and Willis needs to learn what it is in the first place). Here’s a film (that’s a must-see) that’s dripping with story — bursting at the seams with story!

      “House of Sand and Fog” (2003) — It’s a Drama. It stars Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley. Here’s the premise from IMDb: An abandoned wife is evicted from her house and starts a tragic conflict with her home’s new owners.

      The mere story itself is thrilling and compelling. Imagine what a movie like “Fury Road” could be if it were infused with narrative weight!

      Willis, that’s your homework! “House of Sand and Fog.” If “Transformers” or “Thunderdome” are what you think constitutes “a story,” then you need to expand your film studies and watch something other than B Movies.

      Thanks for answering my question, everybody. I guess I still don’t understand why we’re assuming that a story must detract and why we can have both — great action and great story. My whole argument is that we can — and should.
      J

      • First off the transformers do have a story , it the autobots vs the evil forces of the decetipcons . I do like other the action movies . Like dramas but I like to see them with black peoples in them because I can relate to them more . Plus fury road did have a story but it was not about max , that what most of the mad max films are about anyway . Just like George miller said max is like his version of the man with no name . I got a story about of this movie was it the best story no , but is was a story I can get behind , and it was great to see a strong woman in an action movie .

      • Watch “House of Sand and Fog” if you are interested in a drama. Great storytelling, beautiful movie. And after you will be depressed. Watch “Fury Road” if you are interested in a great-fun summer pleasure trip and afterwards you will still be in a relatively good mood. No fair comparison, Jay.

      • Hello J,

        Great response and I hope that Willis does his homework as the movie “house of Sand and fog” is such a great movie 9.5 and has a wonderful story that gets so intense it will make you angry and sad all at the same time. Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley at their best.

        Also looking forward to your review on Poltergeist on Horror movie podcast I hope you tear it apart I give a it a 4 and to totally avoid it !

        Have a wonderful day.

        Mario (LOON)

      • Simplicity of story doesn’t mean deficiency of story. Fury Road is streamlined and focuses on the action and does so clearly, and does so with a strong beating heart in Furiosa.

        Could there have been more dialogue? Sure. But that wasn’t the movie I got, and in this case, it wasn’t the movie I wanted.

    • i watched the movie twice and this is the only movie in 2015 so far i watched twice. Listening through the podcast, i decided not to respond. :)

  7. If I said it once (which I tried to on this episode), I’ll say it twice (which I am now):

    You can be entertained without much of a story or with poor character arcs. You might not feel anything that rich or deep, but still entertained. In many ways, I think that’s were many blockbuster spectacle movies are going.

    You can also have a great story and complex character arcs. And at the same time not feel entertained, be a little bored, and or confused.

    And of course, you can have both.

    I simply just enjoyed the Mad Max: Fury Road ride. It’s true, I was exhausted by the end, because the movie barely lets up, but I was glad I went on the ride. And at the same time I wish I was encouraged and given something to feel more about. I love having both entertainment and a great story, with great characters to invoke deep passionate feelings inside me, but we don’t always get what we want, do we.

    I hope the next two Mad Max movies (if they end up making them) will do a better job at giving us both.

  8. This MAD MAX talk is getting me so… mad. Alas, I’m in California for the next 10 days, so I probably won’t be able to get involved until it’s too late. For now, I’ll just say this: Willis, stop saying this movie wasn’t meant to have much story. I know you’re using it as a defense of the movie, but I really think you’re doing the film a disservice by saying that. There’s plenty of story there.

    p.s. Mario, I’m currently eating In N Out by the fountain in front of the AMC.

    • Hello Dino,

      In and out is so good great choice. Let me know sooner I was not working until later that night! I hope you enjoyed what ever movie you were watching.

      Mario (LOON)

      • @Mario – In N Out is our (my wife and I) default “first meal” whenever we land in California. It’s quick, easy, and good, which is exactly what we want after a long day of traveling.

        We didn’t actually go to a movie. That spot – the fountain/courtyard in front of the AMC at The District – just happens to be one of our favorite chill places in Orange County to sit and relax.

    • Dino, I concur. I like some of the comments that Willis said during his review, but for the most part I think I disagree with him. And if you take into account the way he defends this movie agains the arguments that he’s made for why he hates other movies (i.e. The Babadook), you’ll see that he contradicts himself a lot. Just saying.

  9. Can I just say that I think the strong female characters in the second half of this movie made it complete for me. The first half was fun, but I do have to admit and agree that I was starting to want something a little more. Then Furiosa really came into her own. She was running the show. The “breeders” stepped up and took charge of their destinies, and the “old ladies” (as someone on the podcast called them) were, without much dialogue at all, fully fleshed out and distinguishable characters. They had great parts and I was so glad to see them all. I especially loved the scene where the pregnant “wife” used her body as a shield for the rest of the people in the moving machine. I thought she was fierce and totally owned that shot!!! I usually demand good plot in a movie and I actually thought this one delivered. I’ll go out on a limb and say that in a movie with not much subtlety, there were some great and subtle themes and ideas, that while not exactly plot, gave me a lot to chew on and think about. 8 out of 10.

  10. I haven’t seen “Fury Road” and may not get to it before the DVD/Blu-ray release, so I can’t comment on the substance of the opinions in this episode. I loved the discussion, though, and I sympathize with the uncomfortable dread of being an outlier. Anyone who reviews movies over a significant period of time has been there. Glad to see that you’re sticking to your guns, Jason.

    Also, the person who laughs at all of Jay’s little wordplay zingers, is not his mom, it’s me. I mean, maybe she does too, but she’s his mom, so it doesn’t really count. It’s her job to at least pretend to chortle. As an impartial observer, I’m a tougher nut to crack, or crack up, as the case may be. And crack up I do, every time. Never change, brother.

  11. I’ve been wanting to get some comments down on MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, but have been unable to because I was on vacation (and then extremely busy the first few days back). So, I was going to let it pass because the podcast and movie release were a few weeks ago.

    But, then I came across one too many “no plot” comments, both in the show and on the comments boards, so I had to chime in with a defense other than “it doesn’t have a plot because it’s not supposed to.”

    On the surface, it looks like I’m picking on Clayton, but that’s certainly not the case (sorry, Clayton). His post (and Jay’s reply) was just the final straw that broke the camel’s back, and provided a vehicle for me to put pen to paper (so to speak) and get some thoughts down.

    You can read that full response here >> https://moviepodcastweekly.com/movie-podcast-weekly-ep-139-tomorrowland-2015-and-poltergeist-2015-and-time-lapse-2015/#comment-18226

    I also wanted to pull some thoughts from my comments to post here, so they could live on the proper comments thread for the Mad Max episode.

    * * * * *

    The plot and character development in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is full and rich. There is plenty of story and social commentary in the film, it’s just delivered primarily through action rather than dialogue. That’s a paradigm shift that will work for some and won’t for others, but to say the movie is just a cacophony of mindless action sequences is missing the point. Each action sequence in the movie served a purpose: to further the plot, develop a character, build the world, or something else altogether. George Miller doesn’t hold the audience’s hand, but he does provide all of the necessary context and clues to paint a fully developed world and story.

    What was discussed [in my response to Clayton’s questions: see link above] is only scratching the surface of what is in this movie. The War Boys, for example, with their fanatical religion and devotion to all things mechanical, which is evidenced by their ultimate desire to die gloriously in battle so they can ride with Immortan Joe in Valhalla and their practice of chroming their mouths just before their sacrifice (the chrome spray paint representing all things metal/mechanical and surrendering their human flesh to become metal/mechanical themselves, while the noxious chemicals from the spray gives them a high to make their sacrifice easier).

    That is why it drives me absolutely crazy whenever Willis “defends” the film by saying it’s not supposed to have a plot because that’s not what a Mad Max movie is. That’s pure BS – the complete Mad Max franchise is rife with plot and social commentary, and a fully-developed world and characters – and FURY ROAD is no exception. Saying FURY ROAD doesn’t have a plot because it’s not supposed to is just flat out wrong, and does the film an even greater disservice than when detractors claim there was no plot and clamor for more dialogue.

    MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is a singular cinematic experience – a 10/10 and a true masterpiece.

    • Despite the fact I’ve still yet to see “Fury Road” I thought I’d copy over some comments I made over on the HMP comments regarding this whole “it has no story” thing:

      I think a huge part of what makes all of the Mad Max movies special (although I’ve still yet to see Fury Road) is how almost every character and vehicle, battered and filthy as they are, tell their own very visual tale. “The Road Warrior” is pretty minimalist compared to most movies of its type when it comes to exposition, plot and dialogue but just the visual details tell us so much about the world in which it’s set. Similar to the Cantina scene in Star Wars, your imagination can run wild just getting a look at any background character. Story is something that movies are free to wield in their own unique way. Some films are suited to lengthy exposition and dialogue scenes, complex structures and narrative devices. Others are at their best when such things are minimised in favour of storytelling that is more abstract and visual, the story is there and can be just as strong, but it isn’t highlighted or signposted in a way that makes it as obvious or evident. Look at the six word short story often attributed to Hemingway: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Just six words can communicate just as much tragedy as the lengthiest of novels. Not all “stories” need excessive “narrative” to be effective.

      • David, I can’t believe I missed that comment over on the HMP boards, but it’s right on and speaks directly to what I’m saying here. FURY ROAD does not hold the viewer’s hand, but it does give us all of the context needed to interpret the story. It’s easy to get mesmerized into a daze by the phenomenal action, but to fully appreciate the film requires active participation from the viewer.

        Btw, that six-word short story… wow. Heartbreaking.

    • One MPW criticism of FURY ROAD I haven’t addressed yet is the “Mad Maxine” argument, i.e. Mad Max is hardly in the movie. First, I’ll admit that Max seems to play a slightly less important role in FURY ROAD than in any of the other Mad Max movies before it. But, I don’t necessarily see this as a negative because the Furiosa/Citadel storyline is so good. The focus is on that storyline and Mad Max just happened to get caught up in Furiosa’s escape/smuggling/rescue attempt.

      In a way, this is somewhat congruous with the other Mad Max movies. The post-apocalyptic world of “Mad Max” is really the main character of the films, and each movie is just another story of Max’s run-in with another group of people living in this world. Sort of like campfire tales – people of this world tell stories of this mythical person named Max Rockatansky. FURY ROAD certainly supports this idea, as nobody even knew Max’s real name until very late in the film and the movie ends with Max walking away from The Citadel.

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