Mad Max: Visions of the Ecopocalypse


An analysis of Mad Max: Fury Road’s visualization of the Ecopocalypse.

Transcript Provided by YouTube:

00:05
Mad Max fury road is a lot of things
00:08
it’s fast it’s chaotic it’s lawless
00:10
Glenny distilled the action movie to its
00:13
essence but for me the element that
00:15
draws me in this environmentally ravaged
00:18
world in eco apocalyptic universe
00:20
founded on drought stricken landscapes
00:22
blood and a thirst for oil guns and
00:24
costs throughout it’s almost two hour
00:26
run time the film places a lot on screen
00:29
between its wonderfully kinetic editing
00:31
and aggressive camera movements it’s
00:32
hard to keep up but today I want to move
00:35
away from the form of the movie and
00:37
instead approach Mad Max is content by
00:39
analysing the film’s environmentally
00:42
charged subjects my Max’s environmental
00:45
commentary seems to be constructed
00:47
around a dichotomy between a nostalgia
00:49
for a green past and the reality of an
00:51
apocalyptic future these two visions run
00:54
in constant tension throughout movies
00:56
with our protagonists yearning for green
00:58
contrasting with the need for engines
01:00
oil and gun through this conflict the
01:03
movie seems to reflect current cultural
01:05
fears of global climate change while
01:07
also implicating our reliance on
01:09
industrial progress at the cost this
01:11
longing for green past dominates
01:13
furiosa’s narrative motivation
01:15
furiosa and the five lives find their
01:18
urge to continue in their a vocation of
01:20
the green place that furiosa once knew
01:22
when she was young the movie then
01:24
solidifies this nostalgia for a lush
01:26
landscape by laying out the narrative as
01:28
a chase from a world completely
01:30
destroyed by machines and men to a
01:32
memory of an oasis of green in this way
01:35
furiosa’s longing latches on to a
01:37
cultural desire the natural landscapes
01:40
that have disappeared in the name of
01:41
progress but the film muddies this
01:44
apparently righteous quest by
01:46
simultaneously associating furiosa with
01:49
the very same tools of destruction that
01:51
decimated the landscape this is best
01:53
exemplified in the protagonists
01:55
relationship with vehicles through cars
01:58
and trucks the littoral vessels by which
02:00
characters enact violence in the film my
02:02
max fury road implicates both heroes and
02:05
villains of seekers of destructive
02:06
progress
02:07
but take a look at a team halfway
02:09
through the movie where the protagonist
02:11
war rig is stuck in the mud
02:43
the symbolism here is pretty overt as
02:45
the truck moves forward the tree fall
02:48
emphasizing the destruction of nature at
02:50
the hands of machines and in the name of
02:52
advancement the dead tree in this case
02:55
represents the verdant environment that
02:57
was lost
02:57
indeed we discover later in the film
02:59
that this money place is actually the
03:01
Vario ASIS that furiosa was searching
03:03
for so by using the protagonists vehicle
03:06
to tear down one of the last
03:08
manifestations of a green world my max
03:11
fury road denounces the elements of
03:13
industrial progress the vehicles the
03:16
Warlord’s the violence and even the
03:18
protagonist as harbingers of
03:20
environmental destruction in this way
03:22
the movie carries a multi-faceted
03:24
understanding of an eco apocalyptic
03:26
future characterizing the heroes as both
03:28
righteous in their quest for green and
03:30
complicit in the global destruction of
03:32
their environment despite this
03:34
underlying environmental commentary Mad
03:36
Max is production contradicts with its
03:39
message in order to make Mad Max the
03:41
filmmakers needed to obscure the reality
03:43
of a changing climate and use a desert
03:45
landscape that is actually home to an
03:47
intricate ecosystem the film was
03:49
supposed to be shot in Australia but due
03:51
to unprecedented rainfall that caused
03:53
the deserts of New South Wales to
03:55
blossom with a sea of wildflowers they
03:57
moved production to Namibia home to the
04:00
50 to 80 million year old Namib Desert
04:02
which contains a fragile ecosystem of
04:05
lizards cacti and lichen reliance on
04:07
coastal fog in doing so imax perpetuates
04:10
certain untrue images of what
04:12
environmental destruction looks like
04:14
opting for the drama of a desert in lieu
04:17
of the reality of a field of wildflowers
04:20
IMAX is definitely effective in
04:22
visualizing the extreme consequences of
04:25
rampant consumption and disregard for
04:27
our surroundings it does a solid job of
04:29
placing an environmental conscience into
04:32
a high budget action however it’s still
04:34
just an action movie it uses the
04:36
hyperbole of deserts to heighten the
04:39
drama of the chase not necessarily
04:41
reveal an accurate depiction of a
04:43
changed climate
04:44
so when you watch this movie and
04:46
critically and recognize that
04:48
environmental change is not necessarily
04:50
mean treeless deserts or frozen Tundras
04:53
instead it could simply appear in the
04:55
blooming of wild flowers on a desert
04:58
landscape
04:59
[Music]


This post was previously published on YouTube.

Back to Top