This past Memorial weekend was a cinematic roller-coaster for me: first, I stumbled out of Mad Max: Fury Road stunned and bleary-eyed, then I floated rather happily out of Disney’s Tomorrowland with a mildly saccharine taste in my mouth (as opposed to blood), with visions of jet packs dancing in my head. Yet despite the wildly different approaches to storytelling the two movies take to the apocalypse, I was surprised to find that their message really isn’t all that different. (Spoilers abound.)
Like many other film-goers who begrudgingly agreed to see Mad Max at their friends’ insistence, I had no idea what I was getting into when I sat down to pick up where Mel Gibson left off thirty years ago. Little did I know this Mad Max “re-imagining” was a decade in the making, pregnant with visuals so kaleidoscopically violent that I suspect the whole action-movie formula will need to be “re-imagined” as well, after its release. On the other hand, I didn’t have any illusions about what I was getting into when I sat down for Tomorrowland: after all, it’s not like the film is hiding the fact that it was conceived in a theme park. In fact, Tomorrowland‘s retro-futurist moralizing is a refreshing two-by-four to the forehead in a cinema climate where doom and gloom hug the emaciated hips of every blockbuster like a little black dress.