The Mad Max Primer

coilingup

 

When it comes to Science fiction story-telling, it is hard to remember a world that wasn’t created in a CGI environment. Colour, light and texture-mapping often fades out strong stories and good character development. The bigger the budget, the bigger the wow and the smaller the personal involvement in the story. So I was excited to see that director George Miller (The Witches of Eastwick, Happy Feet) was returning to an old project of his that is an icon of Australian Cinema – Mad Max.

 

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“Kevin, I think that’s Mel. He’s coming to get his plot back”.

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*For its very limited release in the USA, this film was re-named ‘The cars that eat people’.

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Max 'intercepting' the Night-Rider.

Max ‘intercepting’ the Night-Rider. There’s a lot of ‘burnouts’ and car-porn in this movie.

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Max comes to enjoy running everybody off the road.

Max comes to enjoy running everybody off the road.

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I often wonder if there’s a single XC Falcon Coupe left in Australia that hasn’t been converted to an ‘Interceptor’.

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Why so much silly beefcake muscle in this poster?

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Max hunts out food and fuel from a wrecked truck, while the 'interceptor' is visible in the background.

Max hunts out food and fuel from a wrecked truck, while the ‘interceptor’ is visible in the background.

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Looks like an interesting way to get about in the desert.

Looks like an interesting way to get about in the desert.

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Open Sesame?

Open Sesame?

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Oh, this dude can't be good.

Oh, this dude can’t be good.

Hello? Do you have a cup of sugar to loan us? Why do you run, little truck!

Hello? Do you have a cup of sugar to loan us? Why do you run, little truck!

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I'll be back for another sequel. Don't you worry about that.

I’ll be back for another sequel. Don’t you worry about that.

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Bartertown – With the ‘Thunderdome’ Arena visible.

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The master of the Thunderdome is an evil little bastard.

The master of the Thunderdome is an evil little bastard.

Shall we play a game?

Shall we play a game?

"Thanks kids for letting me wash my hair" "No problem Max"

“Thanks kids for letting me wash my hair”
“No problem Max”

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15 thoughts on “The Mad Max Primer

  1. Nice work. I recall these films being big in Japan. They understood the character of Max. It’s a shame that we don’t do many action films here in Australia these days. In fact, I think that the Mad Max films were more of a detour in our filmmaking history rather than pert of a genre. While these movies were being made, we were still making more films like “Careful, He Might Hear You”, “Breaker Morant” and “Manganinnie”, which were all very fine films, but it often felt like the subjects of our films were stuck in a time warp.
    It’ll be interesting to see what this new version of Max is like. I’m off to check out the trailer.

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    • That’s a very astute observation Teeritz. George Miller claims to have taken a lot of inspiration from the films of Akira Kurosawa, so to that end I can understand why they liked it so much.
      I also agree. Australian cinema has been sadly devoid of risk-taking, and too often has thrown money at ventures that they expected to pay off as ‘classics’. I’d consider Mad Max to be a classic over Breaker Morant, just personally, even though it was never meant to be anything but a pop-corn movie at first.

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      • I think the Japanese mindset loves a story of a lone warrior who comes along and dispenses justice according to his own moral code. How can you NOT love a story like that. Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo” is loosely based on Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 novel, “Red Harvest”, which has been filmed most recently as “Last Man Standing” (1996) starring Bruce Willis.
        In Australia, it would seem that you stand a greater chance of getting a film funded if you want to make a movie based on a Banjo Patterson poem, a moment in Australia’s history (preferably between 1840 and 1890), a May Gibbs children’s book, or the latest novel by Peter Carey.
        I would LOVE to see a gritty police movie (or better yet, a spy story) set in this country, that was well-written, well-acted, and well-directed, because “Blue Murder” was back in 1995, AND it was made for TV.
        There’s a reason why I don’t watch many Australian films. Too much drama, not enough action. This country’s film industry had it’s last Golden Age back in the 1970s. Of course nowadays, all the money is being thrown at Big Brother, The Block, and MasterChef.
        And people wonder why I watch boxed sets of “24”, “Fringe” and “Mad Men”.

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  2. I’ve only seen the second Mad Max movie on TV and I quite enjoyed it, but not enough to want to watch the other two. I’m surprised these weren’t more popular in America and ‘Mad Max’ is surely a better title than ‘Road Warrior’! I do like that typecast typeface very much. Were the Headings done on a different typewriter, Scott, or did you scan them at a different res? Nice job either way!

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  3. Classics! I’m surprised that the Mad Max films are thought of as little known in the US, since they were huge when was in high school, due to video rentals. Beyond Thunderdome even made it to theatres here on release, as that’s where I first saw it.

    But then, I was pretty heavily into punk culture, which tended to latch onto post-apocalyptica. I seem to remember the local Channel 5 TV station playing the first Mad Max in heavily edited format on Saturdays 2-3 times a year in the “sci-fi” programming slot during the late 80’s, maybe because apocalyptic desert car worship appeals to us here in AZ as well. 😀
    (more probably because the station could get the broadcast rights cheaply)

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    • Well, it didn’t have a very wide cinema release, but it reportedly has been a huge hit over the years with the video rental crowd over there. I do wonder what sort of response the next film will get! Probably forgotten about in a far quicker time, I suspect.

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