Recently I’ve seen two films with very different views on the future. Tomorrowland and Mad Max: Fury Road. They couldn’t be more different in how they portray the future of humanity, but on some level they both have the same thing in common. Hope.
Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird, is a fun film but it’s heavy handed in its approaches subject matter. It wants to force you into being hopeful. It hits you over the head with the idea that we all need to be dreamers and hopeful and start being optimistic. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying it slaps you in the face trying to tell you we’re in a shopping cart shooting down a hill into a pit of lava. It wants you to pick yourself, dust yourself off, and work toward something better. That’s great. Just don’t be so blunt. Or insulting. It says that we crave our own destruction and only the elite can save us, but that we CAN be saved. . . by someone else.
Fury Road is a very different future. The world is destroyed. You’ve seen it in the other Mad Max films and by this point things are even worse. The few societies we see in the film are based on depraved cults of personality and the people follow blindly. But they can change. Max’s name may be in the title but the film is about Nux and Furiosa in their own ways. Nux begins to see a better world. Furiosa wants to create that better world. Max, as always, is an unwilling agent of change. He doesn’t want to be involved but once he is he does everything he can to help. They aren’t the elite. They’re damaged people with horrible pasts and they change the status quo. And they could be anybody.
In its own dirty, flaming way Fury Road is just as much about saving the future as Tomorrowland. It just doesn’t try to convince you it’s right. It just gets on with the business of being a great movie and hopes to God you can keep up.