Fury Road on a Sunday night

I had seen the commercials and the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road. Long ago, I saw the original movie with Mel Gibson and this newest version had some strange appeal to me. I wanted to see it. I needed to see it.

So I saw it on a Sunday night with Michael, fresh off his freshman year at Mizzou and Catherine, who was not overly loaded down with homework and had absolutely no idea what she was about to see.

I knew it would be full of senseless violence. I knew better than to question the plot line or try and analyze things like the water source that poured like a keg, drenching the water-starved masses below the base of a rock mountain.

I was going for the special effects because I heard they were just about as crazy and over-the-top as any movie that’s ever been made.

And they were. Especially by viewing the movie in 3D.

If this is the future, I’ll be glad to be exiting soon.

George Miller’s post climate-ravaged future, where water has become as rare as gasoline from the earlier Mad Max movies, is the setting for what is essentially a two-hour chase scene in about a two hour and twenty minute movie. Yes, there is dialogue but this film won’t be up for any Oscars for screenwriting.

Set design? Oscar. Special effects? Oscar. Best picture? That’s hard to say.

In the end, the story wasn’t much of a story. Then again, who needs a story when you are continually dazzled from one scene to the next by the pure over-the-topness of what unfolds before you at a breakneck pace. It’s intense. The visuals come at you in eye-popping waves and it’s hard to take it all in.

My favorite character had to be the Doof Warrior, a masked man in a red spandex something or other who flies off the front of a truck on a bungee cable harness that reels him back in like a yo-yo. The truck isĀ  maxed out with a giant stack of amplifiers and speakers, playing a rip-roaring riff at full blast from the Doof Warrior’s double-necked, electric guitar that also shoots flames while in the back of the truck a motley crew of mutants pounds away on over-sized Japanese taiko drums.

A little road music to keep the troops fired up as they pursue a group of women who have escaped the confines of the diabolical Immortan Joe and seek to recapture Max who has been wronged more times than anyone can imagine.

I normally don’t do movie reviews and I’m not about to start now.

All I can say is this.

George Miller, the man who concocted this bleak world with this bizarre cast of characters is a genius.

And it was the most visually stunning Sunday night I can remember in a long, long time.

Some movies you wait until they come out on video.

Don’t do it with this one.

See it on a big screen. And wear your 3D glasses.



Ameren’s plan to thwart terrorism in Des Peres

Instead of admitting that they’re tired of being in the tree trimming business, Ameren has instead cited stopping terrorist attacks on one of their transmission towers as a reason for tearing down any and all trees that happen to fall within their easement in Des Peres, Missouri.

We have a bit of a personal interest in this matter because many of the trees they want to completely remove are right in front of our house. The ones shown in the above picture are in our neighbor’s yard. The tower has been around for more than 50 years. The trees have peacefully co-existed with the tower for more than 30 years and on occasion, Ameren has trimmed them back. Now they want them gone. That includes any trees over 10-feet tall that happen to be under the power lines, too, even though their anti-terrorist stance makes zero sense in that regard.

Here’s a shot of some of the other trees that Ameren will soon be chopping down.

Ameren calls this ‘vegetation management’. Sorry, but complete tree removal isn’t exactly management. It’s ‘vegetation eradication’.

The City of Des Peres volunteered to take over the tree trimming for Ameren. All Ameren would have to do would be make a simple phone call asking for branches that potentially might some day infringe on the power line space to be trimmed back. That might happen every five years or so. But no. Ameren wants all the trees gone from around the tower and underneath the power lines.

The trees must go and there will be no compromise. The mighty utility giant has spoken and the Ameren tree removal will soon be underway in Des Peres.

In an April 4, 2014 article written by Linda Jarrett in the Webster-Kirkwood Times, UE spokesman Jeffrey Hackman, Ameren senior director of transmission operations, said that Congress and Homeland Security has become cognizant of sabotage and terrorism around the towers.

“The best practice is to see your tower so you’ll know if someone is taking the bolts off,” he said. “There was a case in Arkansas about six months ago where a homegrown terrorist removed several of the bolts strategically so the tower would stay upright until the wind blew and then create a cascading event. If you can’t see the towers because the trees are in the way, you can’t see the bolt integrity.”

Sorry, Jeffrey, but I’ve never seen anyone hiding behind the trees – maybe Twiggy could manage to hide behind one but the average human being isn’t going to be obscured by a tree trunk. Besides, I have never seen anyone from Ameren standing guard, watching over this particular tower (or any tower for that matter) to assure that some lunatic wasn’t undoing the bolts. Nor have I ever seen anyone from Ameren out checking on the bolt integrity of their tower. Maybe in place of the trees they can erect a guard station to assure the tower’s safety.

This reminds me of the story of the little old lady who lived in the house who refused to move when the big developers came in. So they built their building around her house and that was the happy ending.

This story does not have a happy ending.

Soon, the trees will be cut to the ground, leaving the utility tower standing by itself in all its glory, surrounded by stumps. What was once the tree-lined front of our house on our tree-lined street will now be home to five large stumps.

We are grateful for our electricity and know that Ameren works hard to keep the power running.

But please, Ameren, admit to the fact that the real enemy in this story isn’t potential terrorists.

The enemy is trees and you want them eliminated.