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The film Mad Max: Fury Road captures a vision of human society, a future where the tyrannical ruling of a warlord sees the depravation and suffering of human life. This future taking place in a desolate wasteland where scarcity of resources makes survival near impossible.
Though it may seems highly fictionalized, Mad Max: Fury Road depicts a future based on the current context of our world. As expressed by Fry in his writings ‘Methods of Change 2 – Designing in Time’, “Writing such a scenario requires a critical imagination in which creativity cohabits with a special view of sensational predictions and simplistic technocentric solutions to complex problems”. Mad Max: Fury Road draws upon the current imbalances of power that exist in today’s society, as those with greater wealth have greater influence. For example, those in powerful positions such as the government have control of resources, including export and import. This scenario is a plausible future as the factors that contributed to the creation of this world are commonly seen in society at present.
The social context of the movie highlights the great division between ‘wealthy’ and ‘poor’. The wives of tyrant Immortan Joe are of high status as they are used to breed his heir, however they are ultimately property used for the purposes of bearing children as they are kept locked in chastity belts. Gasoline and cars represent status and it is the warboys who have access to these commodities, though they are controlled by Immortan Joe. The common people are scavengers, pictured in a decrepit state, whose survival is dictated by the generosity of Immortan Joe who provides them with only just enough water to survive.
In this future scenario technology is worshipped. The warboys each have their own steering wheel which they are seen in the film raising in the air in a cult like manner stating “By the gods, I worship him, V8!” There is a great importance placed on automotive machinery, particularly that of reinvented vehicles. The ‘cars’ are war machines that are each unique in design and function. The features of these war machines create imposing and intimidating structures that possess personalities linked to the war boys that drive them.
The environmental landscape depicted in this future is a dry and stark desert. The warm yellow and orange tones highly contrast the bright blue skies which highlights the absence of greenery. In this post-apocalyptic setting, nuclear war has destructed natural environments, untimely obliterating life. However, female lead, Furiosa refers to “green place of many mothers” throughout the film as it is her homeland that she believes will provide her with a sanctuary to survive this wasteland.
The economic and political context depicts an unequitable division of resources due to the effects of war and nuclear destruction, resource scarcity heightened by the imbalances and abuses of power. The scavenging society crave the basic human necessity, water, only given to them in small bursts as means of being controlled by tyrant Immortan Joe. Gasoline is also a prised resource, reserved for the ‘war boys’ who serve the plights of Immortan Joe as soldiers would serve a government.
Fry, T. 2009 ‘Methods of Change 2 – Designing in Time’ in Design Futuring, UNSW Press, Sydney