Odysseus, Caine, Jules, Ricky Williams, and now Mad Max. It’s called Walking the Earth, and I think it’s one of my favorite tropes in literature and pop culture: the lone hero, seeking enlightenment or just to do good works. I watched a lot of movies and such like this when I was a kid, and it’s conditioned me to look for this in my favorite heroes. So I was pretty excited when Canelli sent me this link after we saw Mad Max Saturday night.
Early in the film, Max is trapped in a storm and wrecks (much like Odysseus) in the middle of nowhere. He has no supplies, he is chained to dead weight, and shortly after regaining consciousness, hears the sound of water. He scrounges a gun and approaches the noise to find a gathering of scantily clad young women bathing in water from a truck.
This should sound familiar.
If I’d read this before I’d seen the movie, I might’ve taken what I saw more for granted. Instead, I was just blown away with how democratically the heroism was spread around. In fact, I might argue on a forth-coming podcast that Mad Max wasn’t even the real Odysseus here. What if it’s Furiosa? And the ending, spoiler alert!, where she slaughters the “suitors” and rightfully takes her place at the top of craggy Ithaca–I mean, the Citadel, how could you not argue for her as the true Odysseus?
So what does that make Mad Max? Perhaps…Athena? Yeah, I’m going to go with Athena.