“Sustainability is living our lives in a way that allows the future generations to successfully live theirs.

Mad Max: Fury Road (Hereafter: MMFR) shows an undeniable truth; the reality of a world that has refused to heed calls for more eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels. Not only does our continued energy habit pollute the earth, but it can lead us to a time where a shortage of oil supply with no contingent sustainable alternatives,this would leave nations with no choice for sustenance but to go to war over Oil. Already, in our time, several conflicts (mini-wars) are rumored to have allegedly been started over oil.

What happens to countries overly dependent on oil when global oil resources become minimal? They die, or act out of desperation in order to get oil and keep from dying. Such countries would aggressively seek out oil – which would cost more as supply is lower – and risk breaking treaties or trespassing into the borders of other countries for the sake of survival. People have killed for less. Countries have gone to war for less. These are the circumstances that led to the reality we witness in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

The movie directed by George Miller is set in the post-oil War era. The Oil Wars, supported by the effect of climate change has taken its toll on the earth. Humanity is broken. Society as we know it – a functioning, evolving system of order has broken down. Humanity is left in a world that no longer accommodates its presence: reducing every man, woman and child to one basic instinct and desire: Survival.
Survival in a world where lunatics thrive.

 “When order breaks down, Insanity reigns supreme and lunacy rules with an Iron fist” – (Anonymous)

This sets the stage for MM: FR.

It follows the unfolding of events in one of the regions of this new chaotic world.

A region overrun by Warlords each holding their own territory; enforcing their own draconian system of Government, ruling over the living, however they see fit.

Immortan Joe, a warlord with a cult-like following has made a life for himself in this new world. He is lord of the Citadel, king of the Outback, and leader of the fanatical War Boys. In a time of scarce water resources, former military officer, Colonel Joe Moore seized control of the Citadel: A fortress built into a series of stone pillars atop a large aquifer. His control of this stronghold has given him god-like status. Immortan Joe’s success is ensured by his control of such an abundant water resource, for with it, he has dominion over the people and possesses a great trade commodity.

He trades with neighboring warlords for oil, guns, ammunition, vehicles, people and anything of general value.

His War Boys are trained from infancy to be his soldiers for the sake of securing and expanding his empire. They roam his region kidnapping grown men for their blood (to serve as blood-banks), girls and women for breeding more soldiers, and male children (he calls them war-cubs) for his army.

This army is surprisingly led by a woman by the name: Imperator Furiosa.

Furiosa is a highly skilled, highly decorated and highly respected mercenary in Immortan Joe’s army. Stolen at a young age from a group of Eco-feminists known as the Many Mothers – who were able to niche out a healthy environment in this new world by aggressively planting flora and fauna in their colony – Furiosa has exceeded immeasurably odds working her way to the top of the Immortan Joe’s ranks dominated by men, even losing an arm in the process, with the sole hope of one day returning to the place of her birth: A land arduously kept free from the decay of this new world. A land of peace; rife with green vegetation and healthy soils. An escape from all the madness.

Immortan Joe’s War Boys have seized Max Rockatavsky who roamed into their region. He is taken for his blood. Max was a police officer but life in this new world has pushed him to insanity. He roams the barren lands, surviving day-to-day, haunted by the memories of all the people he couldn’t protect in this new world and hunted by the cronies of the numerous regional warlords birthed by this new world.

What should be a routine trade mission led by Imperator Furiosa to bullet and gas farms turns sour when she’s discovered to have absconded with Immortan Joe’s prized breeders and is headed off course into enemy territory. “TREASON!” the war-boys scream. Furiosa is making her way back to the place of her birth, the “green place”, she calls it. With her, hidden aboard her vehicle, are five women specially cared for by Immortan Joe, for the sole-purposing of giving him healthy warlord off-springs to continue in his name. One of them, his favorite, Angharad is a few weeks from delivery.

Immortan Joe is livid, and rallies all his soldiers to the pursuit of Furiosa.

Max, who is being drained of his blood for the recovery of an ailing war-boy, is dragged along to the chase. He is nothing but a blood-bag now, and his benefactor, convinced of his impending demise, is prepared make a big exit; impressing Immortan Joe by recovering his prized breeders, and killing Furiosa at the expense of his and Max’s life . “Nothing ensures a more glorious after-life than death in service of Immortan”, he’s been told. He finds strength and inspiration in the deceitful stories of Valhalla (the eternal afterlife) all War boys are fed by Immortan Joe from infancy. “I live, I die, I live again”, he affirms as he has Max strapped to his front of his vehicle and joins in the chase along Fury Road.

The Chase ensues…

Overcoming unbelievable obstacles while under hot pursuit by Immortan Joe, Furiosa and company get to the Many Mothers to find the land she remembers as a child – the fruitful land with crops and vegetation has been destroyed. The soil had become contaminated over the years and was abandoned. Saving seeds, the scant surviving women of the Many Mothers comb the Wastelands looking for healthy soil to hopefully rebuild their home. Dejected by this revelation, Furiosa decides to continue fleeing into the endless desert to escape Immortan Joe’s wrath. Alternatively, Max suggests they return to the Citadel, as it’s the only place with clean water where they can start life anew, and, as Immortan Joe and all his War boys are out in search of them, the Citadel is unprotected. They could return, blocking the path behind them and leaving Immortan Joe and all his boys stuck in the wilderness, allowing them to take control of the Citadel.

The plan works even better as Immortan Joe is killed in the process. They return to the Citadel with the corpse of Immortan Joe, and all his War boys stranded in the wilderness.

 

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Jennifer:

Hey, thanks Onosa for completely analyzing the movie and leaving me little or nothing to talk about!

Anyway, Mad Max: Fury Road got me emotional; It showed a glimpse of what climate change could do to “WHITE PEOPLE”[1]… I do not want to imagine an African Mad Max, it wouldn’t even be censored!

As I like to say and will keep saying: Climate Change is real, so real, and for us in Africa, it is to hit us bad, not just because we are ill-prepared for it but because no one can really be prepared for the catastrophe that is Climate Change!!! Now, back to the movie: Mad Max: Fury Road

 I’ll just share some highlights and my favourite quotes/lines from the movie.

A lot of major light was shed on issues concerning women and the general world view of women of the time.  Matters touching on eco-feminism, pregnancy, breastfeeding mothers, diversity, rape, slavery, bravery, solidarity, sacrifice and freedom fighting, MM: FR showed various women in a gracious light.
From a world turned to wastelands by human greed, we saw women sacrificing their lives – working actively for freedom, hope and redemption. We saw eco-feminists working hand in hand (with men!) to achieve one goal – Find some green and happiness.

“The Green place of the many mothers” – Angharad : Only women can drive sustainability causes effectively, go figure.

“Antiseeds: you plant one and watch something die’’ – Angharad : A very susty way to define bullets!

“Back then everyone had their fill, back then, there was no need to snap anybody’’ – Keeper of the Seeds: Again, I will not imagine this movie playing out in Africa, oh, the gruesomeness!

“Do not become addicted to water my friends, it will take hold of you and you will resent its absence” – Immortan Joe

Well, well, did I hear you say “what a time not to be alive’’?! The joke is on you, my friend because if we do not act fast, our children and their children would thirst for water so much that they would be advised not to get addicted to it.

 “Where we must go…we who wander this wasteland in search of our better selves’’ – The first history man: No one can successfully thrive in a suffering environment

Onosa: Nicely selected quotes, Jenn. Not only are they central to the theme of this article but they aptly color the gruesome pictures of the reality they contended with.

MM: FR shows the future of world that has refused to heed the call to sustainable cleaner sources of energy. The effects of climate change and an over-dependence on oil is undeniable : A future with no clean sources of water, barren lands, volatile and dangerous weather conditions, a total breakdown of society; slavery, people harvested for their flesh and blood; women harvest for breeding; deranged individuals involved in all sorts of illegal trade to further their nefarious agendas; Chaos.

This is the tale of Mad Max: Fury Road: How a group of women’s determination and desire for a better life led to the unseating and untimely demise of a tyrannical warlord. A toppling of his decadent government. A chance to start anew.

Yes, men helped out too, but with dissimilar motives. Nux, already dying from two deadly tumors that he affectionately calls “Larry & Barry”, had a Valhalla sponsored death wish, and Max, really could not be bothered about making the world a better place anymore. He really just wanted to survive, and have his car back. What a guy!

The victory in Fury Road is just one battle won. The war is already lost.

Humanity is broken and can only try in futility to repair itself. Hope is dim. Our way of life destroyed, long gone, spoken of as bedtime stories – moonlight tales of how people used to have the internet, mobile phones and TV shows. A frightening yet very possible reality. One of aimlessly floating satellites in the sky and nothing but despair, and a barren emptiness below.

In the words of Max Rockatavsky: “Hope is a mistake. If you can’t fix what’s broken, you’ll go insane”

This reality could be ours. Our livelihood is at stake. Now that we can still speak of hope without dejection, we must take steps to reach at a different, safer future. A sustainable future, so that we may never arrive at Fury Road.

 

 

[1] The reference to white people is not derogatory and simply underpins the idea that Africans are generally more hot-headed than other people.