George Miller's original thoughts about 'Mad Max: Fury Road' prove Max isn't really the star of the show

Furiosa – better, and one-handed. Picture: RatPac-Dune/Village Roadshow Pictures

The sleeper hit of 2015, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, is about a week away from getting another boost when the DVD release hits stores.

George Miller’s action epic took a troubled 14 years to make, but recouped its $150 million budget, reaping in nearly $400 million after winning top spot in box offices in 40 countries.

More importantly, it proved real action in movies and stellar cinematography was not yet completely buried by CGI-laden superhero franchises.

With ‘Fury Road’, Miller gave audiences back their capacity to be surprised. The plot was criticised by some for its simplicity – it’s essentially about a lone wolf – Max Rockatansky – who is imprisoned in a desert wasteland by a water-hoarding warload, and his efforts to help a female soldier – Imperator Furiosa – escape with five girls held captive for their ability to breed.

As you’ll see in the “Honest Trailer” below, most of the movie focuses on the group’s escape across the desert in a huge, weaponised truck. They then turn around and come back to take down the warlord’s fortress and free everyone, and the water.

Basic, yes, but Miller stated from the outset he was making a road movie that could be shown to and understood by a Japanese audiences, without subtitles.

Hence we got the classic Mad Max apocalyptic visuals – crazy, homemade weapons, even more over-the-top cars and stunts, world-eating dust storms and the most rock’n’roll flamethrowing guitarist ever caught on film.

Now, amongst all the extras coming in the DVD release, is a snippet from an “Art Of” book written by Abbie Bernstein. Apparently, these background thoughts were scrawled by Miller himself:

Apart from the amazing white-on-red handwriting, there’s an important point to note here. Max doesn’t seem to be the star of the show.

By far the biggest talking point online about Fury Road was its female stars and their role in the film. A laughable campaign was launched on blog ‘Return of Kings’ to boycott the film after writer Aaron Clarey noted the growing role of Charlize Theron’s hero Furiosa in each of the trailers. You can read it here – it’s called “Why You Should Not Go See ‘Mad Max: Feminist Road'”.

The campaign was picked up by Redditors and after the film was released, and the misogynist horde realised all the redeeming qualities of post-Apolocalyptic folk lay mainly with the women, the outcry grew louder – and coverage of it only added to the popularity of the film.

Miller’s note focuses mainly on Furiosa, and gives a little more detail about her past than what came through in the film. She’s a “Warrior Woman” originally from a “haven of love and freedom” named Gynotopia.

What we miss in the film is how – and how long – she spent rising through the ranks of Immorten Joe’s army (of men) to become his “most feared and respected soldier, his most favoured comrade”.

The point is, she’s clearly the key to the entire movie. Max is all but a footnote – it’s just a happy coincidence he’s there to help out at the time Furiosa makes her move to return the “Princesses” to Gynotopia (renamed “the Green Place” in the film).

It’s a small detail, but already being picked up on as the image gets shared online. And it will certainly be interesting to see where Miller takes his “anti-misogynist” theme in the sequels he’s got planned. The title has reportedly changed from “Mad Max: Furiosa” (Miller, 2010), to “Mad Max: The Wasteland” (May, 2015).

Although when Miller is asked about the sequel, he may be having a little sport with the whole non-debate with replies like:

“Being asked that questions feels to me like being a woman who’s just given birth to a really big baby”

And:

“That’s the answer I can give this moment, now: I’ve just come out of labour.”

Maybe we should all stop taking such a wild, indulgent ride so seriously. Starting with this freshly-minted “Honest Trailer” which we’ve all been waiting for:

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