A Dystopian Reality Check

Of the many subjects Mad Max Fury Road provides commentary on, an often overlooked one is the environmental message in the film. It shows the effects extreme environmental damage can have which in turn affects humans. The opening scene of the movie shows Max standing in a parched desert before the camera turns to focus on a two-headed lizard. This initially seems odd (both the lizard and the fact that the camera stays on it for a few seconds) until we later learn that the land and lizard are both results of radiation damage from a nuclear holocaust. The movie serves as a kind of cautionary tale of where our world could be heading if we continue to neglect the environment. When asked about the environmental message of his movie, director George Miller stated “there is an environmental story, but it’s in the subtext. The sad thing is that it doesn’t really require much exposition for the audience to buy a degraded world, because we already see evidence of it happening all around us.” It is especially chilling when you realize he is right because we are witnessing it happen first hand in places like Brazil, the Philippines and many other countries.

Even if the environmental damage does not affect us directly, it will indirectly as exemplified by the rule of Immortan Joe. Because of the lack of natural resources in the Citadel such as gasoline and water, Joe is able to manipulate and take advantage of his subjects for his own benefit/power. He controls the main water source and mockingly warns the people to not “become addicted to water. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence.” Clearly, water is needed to survive yet he’s managed to use it as a political tool to maintain his power. It’s not so far-fetched to imagine this happening in real life if we deplete all our natural resource by continuing to neglect the environment because this has precedent. The Green Place could be seen as symbolic of this entire process of how harmful environmental damage can be; what was once a green thriving oasis has now become a wasteland. While the landscape and events in the movie are clearly exaggerated, it ultimately makes us ask ourselves is a world like this is that implausible in the future?

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