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Sunday, June 28th, 2015






Okay so in the neverending list of things that made me go ‘Oh oh oh oh!!!!’ from our favourite movie…

…the Doof Wagon.

It’s cool. That’s a given. It has the audience go ‘WTF what am I watching’. 

But the thing I really like about it is that it brings the soundtrack right into the story like no sick musical ever has. Every action sequence has to have really rad music that gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline rushing, but if you wanna think about it, the characters don’t get that score in the background as they’re running for their lives. Right?

Except here they do :P

Clearly Immortan knows how to put on a show.

But really it’s so frickin’ cool for the audience as well, because if the music is getting louder, that means Joe’s war parties are getting closer. It makes you anxious. And when the music revs up it’s not just the score, it’s what’s happening on screen. I love that!

I once wrote a homework about Fritz Lang’s M and I discovered how he, in his freaking first sound movie ever, used music and sound to create suspense and to involve the audience in the scene. Not only the leitmotiv of the murderer, but also stuff like noise that carries from one scene to the other. Go and watch it, it’s a great movie.

Anyway, ever since I have mad respect for any filmmaker who knows how to do this and who knows how to put his soundtrack and incidental music to good use. Miller does this so well in Fury Road. And the sound of the Doof Wagon getting closer is an adrenaline rush for me, like it is for Furiosa, Max and the Wives.

The other cool thing is that the Doof Wagon isn’t just there to be cool or to pump the War Boys up – it does that, but like so much else in the movie it has a clear purpose that viewers are left to piece together for themselves.

To elaborate: Max’s world does not appear to have radio. I don’t remember if we see Furiosa use and intercom in the War Rig, but every time we see long-range communication in the film, it’s using pre-radio methods: Morse Code flashes, coloured signals, etc. Those are great for long-range communication when there’s not a need for absolute split-second understanding, but in battle when two war parties collide they’re almost useless – you can’t have crews looking for signals when they should be concentrating on fighting. 

So, without widespread radio use, how does a commander communicate to the rest of his war party? The same way commanders have done since the rise of professional armies – with music signals. The Doof Wagon is the post-apocalyptic version of a drummer boy in a line regiment – he calls out formations and commands in a way that can carry over the cacophony of battle. Psyching up the warboys is an added bonus to this.

Whooaoaooooaaaaa did not even THINK of that.

Can we also talk about the Doof Wagon being a psychological weapon? It’s intimidating. It’s loud. It’s scary. And it lets you know that something big and awful is coming.

Sure, it pumps up the warboys (as one can see; they are literally bouncing around on their vehicles like the hooligans they are), but think about this too:
Joe’s got a reputation as a badass who is ready, willing, even anxious to fuck up anyone and anything that he feels like fucking up. He sticks the word “war” in front of things like Batman sticks the word “bat” in front of things, okay? That reputation precedes him.  

Literally, it precedes him: all that Doof-y wildness goes echoing out like a road in the wilderness.

The characters he pursues (the war-rig roadtrippers, as we all know) hear him coming up fast–they hear the engines and the Doof Wagon. To quote The Dag: “Angharad, is that the wind or is that a Furious Vexation?” He’s coming. He’s coming. He’s like a storm: you hear the thunder coming on.

And it reminds me of the old folktale that the Scottish Highlanders used bagpipes in the same way: they’d play these loud, raucous, squalling instruments that just howled and wailed and sounded like the tormented souls of the damned. Just an awful sound, which was supposed to terrify their enemies–all that coupled with a reputation for fucking all your shit up.

It just sounds scary as hell, and that’s a pretty effective tactic if you’re trying for intimidation and spectacle (two things it seems Joe’s big on).

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