A Film-Illiterate Person Reviews A Movie About Crones on Wheels
by Carolynn Calabrese and Rachel Weiss
June 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm
As you can see from the review below and the picture above, POME crones CC and Rachel really, really love Mad Max: Fury Road and especially the Vuvalini. Please note that this review may spoil a thing or two about Mad Max: Fury Road, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Continue reading at your own peril.
“The movie’s happening, and it’s happening to me.” Those are words Roger Ebert used to describe Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in his 1977 review. Once or twice in a generation, a film is so revolutionary and affecting that both the world outside of the theater and the people within it are changed forever through the power of the silver screen: Citizen Kane. Toy Story. Jurassic Park. Gone With The Wind. Birdemic. As of this summer, there’s a new entry to that prestigious cannon: Mad Max: Fury Road.
As a cultureless trash crone who only really watches TV and avoids movies because sitting still for long periods of time makes me anxious, I can say with absolute authority that Fury Road is the greatest movie ever made. Like Jupiter Ascending, Fury Road lasted for two hours without getting boring or tedious. However, Jupiter Ascending was fascinating because it was a terrible, bajillion dollar fanfic about all of the shows on the Syfy channel combined. Fury Road is a combination of that new Taylor Swift video with all the explosions, a thousand hugs from your grandma, and your mentor nodding approvingly at you during your greatest personal or professional success.
Fury Road is a rich narrative about the complexity of something something, end of the world, something something something. It reveals the tether that binds us all to an unfair, patriarchal society in the same way that Max was tethered to that car during that one part. A rich study in cinematography (probably), this masterwork of cinema uses special effects, different kinds of cameras (probably), and some really cool old ladies on motorcycles to make this movie cinematic. Those are all the movie words I know, so let’s move on.
Charlize Theron stars as Imperator Furiosa, a fearless and terrifying trucker from hell with a heart full of tenacity and a cab full of guns. Theron is normally so beautiful that gazing directly at her will melt your face completely off of your skull, like that dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, in Fury Road, Theron is so majestic and perfect that you will need to wear sunglasses inside of the theater and spend the entire movie weeping so that your tears can form a screen to shield you from her radiance. Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, the main guy from Warm Bodies, and Bane also feature prominently in this film.
Fury Road starts with the capture of supporting character Max as he undergoes a gruesome but effective makeover from Grizzly Man to Dystopian Heartthrob. Furiosa helps transport the five wives of the gross, jello-y Main Bad Guy towards freedom in “The Green Place,” a magical land where badass old women are supposedly living it up. Many explosions later, Max joins Furiosa and helps her defeat a whole bunch of pasty randos and get the fuck out of dodge.
The film truly starts, however, an hour and twenty minutes in, when the previously mentioned badass old women ride their motorcycles both into the movie and into our hearts. As it turns out, Furiosa is a member of a matriarchal society called The Vuvalini, the Many Mothers, and these broads of steel are the last remaining members. The Green Place became an infertile marsh full of nasty trash birds, so the Vuvalini have been wandering the wastelands ever since. Furiosa, the wives, the Vuvalini, and Max decide to go through the entire movie in reverse. They form an intergenerational bond of women supporting women (plus Max), and they also literally and figuratively explode the patriarchy.
The Vuvalini are hardened, leathery, sharp-shooting biker grandmas. They alone elevate this movie from a high-energy thriller to an exemplary moment in both cinema and art. Did you know they did their own stunts? They did their own stunts. They would improve any film or TV show and this reviewer hopes that they will be integrated into all existing television and movie universes. Here are some suggestions of recent moments in media that could have been improved with the Vuvalini:
- Sansa Stark stands before Ramsay Bolton at their wedding. She stares into his eyes with a mixture of fear and resignation. Suddenly, a half-dozen motorcycle witches vault over the gates of Winterfell, flipping and doing wheelies until they land. The eldest and most weathered in the group scoops Sansa up and they ride into the distance as Winterfell explodes and the Boltons become a charred memory.
- Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis leaves her doctor’s office, contemplating the bomb that has just been dropped on her. Suddenly, a half-dozen crones on wheels pull up beside her car as she is driving home. “Come with us if you want to live,” they say. She pulls over. Betty gets on a motorcycle and they hit the open road together. Betty lives a thousand years and never dies and finally gets to use that shotgun on something more satisfying than a pigeon.
- Drax the Destroyer calls Gamora a whore for no real reason, alienating the thousands of women who went to see Guardians of the Galaxy because they love superhero movies and also Chris Pratt. All of the Vuvalini show up and smack Drax upside the head before riding into the stars until we need them most.
The most confusing part of Fury Road, however, is not that I needed to look up the characters’ names even after viewing the film a couple of times (though I don’t remember hearing any of the wives’ names except Angharad’s and I was listening pretty closely). It isn’t even that one of the wives was named Cheedo the Fragile. What I am the most puzzled by is the lack of merchandizing. Ideally, I want Tiger Beat-style posters of the Vuvalini that I can use to adorn my home and office, but failing that, a Furiosa action figure would be nice. Even though Fury Road is 100% a movie for adults, it’s also a nerd movie and nerds love toys and collectibles. I eagerly await this development.
In conclusion, Mad Max: Fury Road supersedes 2014’s Maleficent as the number one must-see Fake Misandry summer blockbuster. I have spent at least $50 watching this movie in theaters and I will probably spend another $50 in the next month. I recommend that you pile all of the women you know into your car to get into the spirit of things and see this movie immediately.
© 2014 - 2017 Carolynn Calabrese and Rachel Weiss and POMEgranate Magazine