Science Fiction Film & Television

‘Who killed the world?’ Religious paradox in Mad Max: Fury Road

Science Fiction Film & Television (2017), 10, (3), 371–390.

Abstract

George Miller’s Mad Max film series examines dystopian concerns vis-à-vis geographic instability and the fragility of human societal relationships, ultimately connecting human population crisis with the scarcity of natural resources and overall destruction of the planet. In his latest film, Fury Road, Miller makes use of religious ideology and practice to highlight ecological concerns and abuse of women. He contrasts patriarchal and matriarchal religious power structures in order to interrogate the causes of the Earth’s destruction. From these ideological contrasts, Miller introduces an ecological paradox that forms the film’s conflict. Oppressive patriarchal practices enslave people through false promises of eternity, but can offer no means to avoid a death brought about by earthly suffering. Conversely, matriarchal religious practices ensure equality but offer no sustainable model of maintaining the Earth’s resources. Ultimately, I argue that Miller employs this religious paradox to illustrate the problems of earthly salvation in relation to religious ideology. Miller suggests that devout worship, no matter how mindful or restorative, cannot rescue us from the ravaged Earth, nor can it absolve us from the guilt of ruining the environment.

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McLean, Bonnie

McLean, Bonnie