I’ve got an unconscious guy on my back that I’m chained to, a metal muzzle, I’m carrying a car door and I’ve got a shot-gun. Typical Tuesday.

Due to the fact that I was out of town this weekend and last week was pretty busy at work, I was pretty low on the old inspirational juices. However, I did go see Mad Max: Fury Road over the weekend and that’s pretty much all I’ve been thinking about since. So guess what? This article is going to be about that. In fact, it’s going to be twice as long as a regular article!

This is not really going to be a review, if you came here for a review here it is: Fury Road is fucking awesome and if you like action movies you should see it on the biggest/loudest screen you have access to.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the subtle (there’s not a lot subtle about Mad Max, but there is some) world-building that George Miller does and how he effectively tells you a lot about his world without a) much exposition b) spelling things out too much or c) slowing down what is arguably a movie that is basically a non-stop action sequence. Instead of spelling everything out with dialogue and holding the viewer’s hand through everything that lead to the events of the movie, Miller instead uses bits of dialogue, various visuals and other clues to tell the story of how things got this way. The main plot of the movie is fairly straightforward and linear, but the background of the world seems complex and intricate. Most interesting, nearly none of that background is ever explicitly revealed.

I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic as a setting. Something about our technologically advanced society collapsing and seeing what is left over has always struck a chord with me. In fact, 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was probably my first exposure to not only post-apocalyptic movies, but was likely the first genre movie I had ever seen. My dad was always into car movies so he was a Mad Max fan, even though Thunderdome is a little light on the cars compared to previous entries, I can only imagine that it was his love of the movies that had me seeing it at a very young age. I had nightmares about Master Blaster.

What made these movies immensely watchable to me was not always the stories, but more the little clues in how the world works. What people do in these worlds, how they speak, what’s important to them, etc. I liked Waterworld because even though it was terrible, I liked the Smokers, I liked the guy who apparently lived in oil tank, I liked Kevin Costner peeing into a water purifier. I even have fond memories of Firebird 2015 AD, which is probably one of the worst movies ever made (also shown to me by my dad) because of the idea that in a post-apocalyptic world with sanctions on gasoline, some dudes just wanted to drive around real fast in the desert.

So here’s some of my favorite little bits of the world that George Miller shows us in Fury Road. I’m also going to try to talk about how he shows us those things and how he sort of forces you to think about his world in a much bigger way than he actually spells out on camera. I’m not going to talk very much about actual plot points here but just about everything in here could be considered a spoiler. So, you’ve been warned. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…