When Mad Max: Fury Road was released last May, everyone lost their shit. Critics raved about it, fans dubbed it the greatest action movie ever made, and all those other cliches about great movies. It's all anyone on the Internet talked about.
I didn't see it.
The world calmed down about it for a while. Then, January 14, 2016, rolls around, and the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards are announced. And Mad Max: Fury Road, a summer blockbuster reboot of an '80s cult classic, received an astounding 10 nominations - including Best Picture.
The Internet lost its shit again. Anyone who saw it praised the Academy's unlikely acknowledgement of the film, flooding the web with essays detailing why not only the nomination was justified but why Fury Road deserved the win.
Again, I had not seen it, so I was in the "why the fuck was this nominated" camp. Because, let's be honest, anyone who was even remotely familiar with the originals without having seen the reboot would be understandably confused.
But I had made it a goal this Oscar year to see at least all the Best Picture nominations to keep up with my movie-loving girlfriend. We rented Fury Road and were both still confused as to how it got the nomination.
Don't get me wrong, it's a great action movie. But a Best Picture nominee? It had too many flaws: the characters, while great conceptually, were underdeveloped; the CGI, although sparse, was laughably terrible; the choice to open the floodgates at the end was a great way to waste water in a desert wasteland.
But, okay, all the other Best Picture nominees had some flaws, too. Fair point.
You know what none of the other nominated movies had, though? A main character that should have died half an hour into the movie (okay, maybe Leo should have died).
Yes, Max should not have survived the first half hour of Fury Road. His role as "blood bag" to Nux is unsustainable. Like, really unsustainable. People need blood to live. It's why, when we cut ourselves, we put a bandage on it. We don't just shrug. "Eh, I could stand to lose a few pints, then go take on an evil dictator in an epic car chase through a desert."
That's not how humans work. We have a finite amount of blood. To be exact, the average human has about 8 pints of blood. I'm going to do some math, so let's call that 10 pints just to make it easier. A higher estimate only proves my point further, as it's just more blood to lose and therefore more time to live with blood being pumped out of you.
So, 10 pints of blood. When donating blood, it takes about 8-10 minutes to fill a pint bag. Again, for ease of math and because a longer time only strengthens my arguments, we'll go with the 10 minute time. So that means that, when a human's heart is pumping blood out through a needle stuck into a vein, that human loses 10 percent of their blood every 10 minutes, or 1 percent every minute.
We see Max hooked up to Nux as his blood bag in about 15 minutes of real-time action. Most of this is during the first chase scene, with a little being in the Citadel before the chase. That's 15 percent of Max's blood definitely gone.
There are three additional segments in which Max is losing blood yet we do not see: 1) in the Citadel, before Nux and the other War Boys are notified of the impending chase, 2) in the Citadel, while preparations are being made for the chase, and 3) after the chase, while the dust storm is settling.
There is no way of knowing how long Max is hooked up to Nux before the chase, so I'll go with the lowest estimate of 0 minutes, i.e., the chase occurs immediately after the transfusion begins. It's also difficult to estimate how long the preparations would take, but it seems that war is one thing this faction does well. I'll also say that the preparations take no time other than the few minutes we do see.
I can't be so kind to Max when it comes to the dust storm. It's unrealistic to assume that a dust storm of that magnitude settled instantaneously after Max and Nux crash, and that Max is seen emerging from the sand within a minute or so of the crash.
But before I try and estimate how long Max must have been buried, some important medical information: blood loss, or hemorrhaging, is divided into 4 classes. Class 1, covering up to about 10 percent blood loss (a blood donation), is usually symptom-less. A class 2 hemorrhage is 15-30 percent blood loss and causes increased heart rate, weakness, and a pale complexion. Further blood loss generally requires a transfusion and will result in organ failure if untreated.
Back to Max: continuing to lose 1 percent of his original 10 pints of blood per minute, and assuming that he's only lost the 15 percent we see him lose, he has 15 minutes between the crash and removing the needle before he is, well, completely fucked. It would take a least a few minutes for the dust in a storm of that magnitude to completely settle.
Even in the most ideal of situations where the chase occurs immediately after the transfusion begins and the crash occurs conveniently right as the dust storm subsides, Max has probably lost about 20 percent of his blood. If this is all he loses, he'll still be suffering symptoms and be noticeably weak and dizzy.
Another quick medical interjection: the red blood cells, which are the important part of your blood that contain oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, can take over a month to replenish. This is well beyond the timeline of the film. Maybe Furiosa could manage to save him, but he'd certainly be no help in the upcoming battles.
And remember, that's the most ideal of cases. Considering all the estimations I made - over-estimating the total blood, over-estimating the time to pump 1 pint, under-estimating the total time Max is pumping out blood - he's likely pushing the 30 percent point. You know, that one where he'll need a transfusion that he'll never get, and could go into shock should he lose any more blood. That is, Max is fucked.
By the way, using the more accurate assumptions of 8 pints of blood to start and pumping 1 pint in 8 minutes (being in such great physical shape, Max's heart would likely pump blood faster than average), he'd have about 26 minutes before hitting the 40 percent marker of organ failure.
Here's the math:
1 pint out of 8 = 12.5 percent
12.5 percent in 8 minutes = 1.5625 percent per minute
40 percent divided by 1.5625 percent per minute = 25.6 minutes
In just the 15 minutes we see of him pumping blood, Max would have lost about 23 percent at that rate. Which, considering the health care system of this particular post-apocalyptic world, makes him already pretty fucked. 5 minutes buried in the sand would leave him all but dead. Within 10 minutes, he'd be gone.
So there you have it. Max, the main (or at least title) character of Fury Road, should have been anywhere from dead weight to just plain dead within the first half hour of the movie.
So everyone that's still complaining about it not winning best picture, just remember that the Spotlight team didn't defy medical science to survive impossible conditions and invalidate the rest of the movie. Just be happy it won all the technical awards it did - you know, the awards it actually deserved.
*prepares for inevitable mob that will hunt me down*