Mad Maxwell

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Another day, another apocalypse. I can see why Buffy eventually grew blasé. And then she grew tired of the whole thing, closed the hell mouth and left the future to other people. There’s a concept — leaving the future to other people.

Spoiler Alert!

I saw the new Mad Max movie the other day. I can see why people liked it. Great scenery, endless action (to the point it became a curious kind of inaction — people were moving but nobody was going anywhere). There were strong women characters with real agency; more importantly, there were a variety of women characters. And, without much dialogue, people could bring their own interpretation to the film without fear of contradiction.

To me, it seemed like a typical bureaucracy — an idiot abuser at the top and everyone else — men and women together — doing their best to effect change while keeping their mouths shut.

But really, what more do apocalypse movies or books have to tell us? We’ve done a lousy job running the planet? I can read the newspaper for that. That people do cruel, violent and senseless things? Again newspaper or 24-hour TV News.

Here are a few spoilers: You do not fix the world by blowing more things up or by giving the people what they want when they want it. That’s kind of how we got in a mess in the first place. And just so I can get it off of my chest: Mad Max was insanely illogical. Distribution of water via waterfall is just plain stupid. Especially in a desert. Most of it would be lost to evaporation and runoff over parched earth. But it looks cool.

Also when you drive a motorcycle all day for 160 days in a straight line — you would go around the world. Twice. Maybe three times if you put in long days.

And where does the food come from other than the occasional spider? Never mind. It’s not really my point to trash Mad Max. It was better than the average action movie. And it was spectacular if you like deserts. I prefer the lush living land of The Lord of the Rings myself but, hey, different strokes.

But just because there were strong women doesn’t mean this was a purely feminist film. Equal opportunity killing is not feminism. And then there is the mansplaining. When the women have made their decision to ride off, Max, who spent the first half of the film grunting and who has just abandoned them for the second time, rides up and says, your plan won’t work, trust me, I know there is no point in going that way. No evidence is provided for this assertion and instead they just ride back to where they came from.

What I want are stories about real futures — they don’t have to be bright and shiny, but they have to be a future. I’m tired of the world ending. Zombies bore me. Exploding cars are just an extension of demolition derbies. Fights over water and oil will happen but I’m more interested in solutions than conflicts.

And less interested in which general — male or female — gets to rule a diminished world than what we can collectively do to make a better one. Now that would be a feminist film.

But that’s ten minutes. And if you wondering about the title, Maxwell is my middle name.

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