Looking at Mad Max: Fury Road

Posted 3 Jan 2016.

Let’s take a look at what we are given in Mad Max: Fury Road and see what the inferences and implications are. We’ll assume the originals all happened but perhaps not before this movie, and we’ll allow for different actors possibly being the same character.

We start with Max and his interceptor car. So this movie either happens before Road Warrior or he managed to find a second car. If we assume that all police had interceptors, then finding another one probably isn’t that big a deal. More importantly, he has gas for his car. He either bought or stole that gas from somewhere (within a tank of gas away from where he was) and finds himself in hostile territory. If he bought/acquired it in Gastown, it seems he’d know that where he was is filled with war boys. Indeed, he seems all too aware of them as he throws all his stuff into his car and takes off seemingly already knowing what he was up against. Given the nature of the world, I suspect he was working for somebody else or otherwise had some goal in mind besides just wandering aimlessly into enemy territory. Even later, we see him meticulously creating a map of what he was learned about the area. Anyway, he is captured and taken to the Citadel.

In the Citadel, we see a population center based around several plateaus where food is grown, water is piped out, populated by the rulers and their war boys and surrounded by huddled masses of people who seem to be mostly deformed cripples. First question, is why do they keep all these people alive in a world in so desperate need of food and water? Even Bartertown had people that were more capable and full of industry and trade, as these are seemingly just beggars and all industry seems to be happening in the plateaus by the war boys. They don’t seem like good breeder stock. Can’t be used to create fertilizer as it would be more efficient just to compost the food needed to feed them. There are other possible reasons. We later find out there is a Bulletfarm and human waste can be used to make gunpowder and explosives (as well as tan leather). It’s a nasty, smelly process, but conceivable that they keep such people around just to create the raw materials to give to bullet farm to help make bullets and explosives, probably making Bulletfarm come and pick up and carry back all the human waste.

There is indeed a Bulletfarm and a Gastown that produce both ammo and gas and exchanges it to the Citadel for food and water. There is at least a small economy going on between these settlements. Given that the scavengers in the hills also have bullets, motorcycles, and guzzeline, there is probably other trade going on also. The world isn’t quite dead or desperately dying, but seemingly has settled into a somewhat stable state. Given the armed caravan nature of Furiousa’s trip to the other towns which are within sight of each other, it is certainly not a safe world. The Citadel and probably the other towns are slavers as they raided Furiosa and her mother from their settlement. Any trade with the outside world is probably also consisting of heavily armed caravans, probably from raiders like the scavengers or even the people they are trading with. Still, even the Vuvalini seemed to exist solely upon preying on travelers with their naked girl trap. This would seem to indicate that there was enough travellers capable of them dealing with for them to prey upon as a living for quite some time.

So the world seems to be settled into its new form and not currently in a state of upheaval, but how long has passed? Long enough for a new religion to have taken hold and have totally indoctrinated the war boys. Furiousa was apparently taken by raiders from the Citadel around twenty years earlier having grown from a child to a woman. The actor that plays Max and Furiousa are in their late 30’s, we can assume that they are around the same age. Put Max in his early 40’s and being in his early 20’s as a cop in the first movie, and Furiousa in late 20’s or early 30’s  having been raided during the collapse in her pre/early-teens. This puts all the warboys as being in their 20’s or younger and a generation that has grown up after the collapse and totally indoctrinated in the world that was set up by Immortan Joe and his boys during the collapse. The Vuvalini also seem to have their own little weird religion complete with initiations, but I can accept the existence of a pre-collapse group of hippie women living off by themselves in rural Australia with their own rituals more than a group of neo-Norse (although I suppose they could be skinheads).

Still, one theory I have heard has another solution. That this Max isn’t actually the Gibson Max, but the Feral Child from Road Warrior. That would explain how the world has changed so much if it was at least forty years after collapse, as well as the even more than usual reluctance to talk on the part of Max.

Still, what happens in the end? Can a group of women returning to the Citadel, take control and hold it? The leaders of the three towns are gone. Most of the warriors are also gone. At the end of the movie they seem to have the support of the war pups and probably the other Immortan Joe offspring who seem to not be capable to defending themselves. If there is enough of a sacred mother aspect in their religion, perhaps. They’ll control the CItadel, the food, the water, and play their cards right to keep control. Not that it will matter. They all seem to be coming down with something that is killing them. Even some of immortan Joe’s “prize breeders” show signs of this disease that can only be stalled by blood transfusions. The Vuvalini seem to be lacking these deformities, so I’m left to guess that is local. Something in the water perhaps that is killing everybody?