Mad Max is The Road Warrior! It is rare to find that a sequel supersedes it’s predecessor, and that is what Mad Max 2 manages to achieve. It’s my favourite instalment, and coincidentally, it is Mel Gibson’s too. Will Mad Max: Fury Road set the bar higher?
After the success of Mad Max, George Miller was well and truly on the scene, and had numerous offers of work in Hollywood, but his heart lay with the beast he had created, and it was his keenest desire to make a sequel. With a much much larger budget he would be able to create and achieve larger and greater things. He used the budget wisely and was able to create an action masterpiece.
Broken Hill, South Australia would prove to be the desolate waste depicted in the film. The location only chosen because it hadn’t rained there for four years, but as celestial mercy would have it, it rained during the production, nevertheless, climate did not stop George from completing his madness. It’s interesting to note that for the upcoming film, the same location was sought, but again, it rained and the desolate land, wasn’t desolate anymore, it was lush and green, so Namibia was chosen as a more dry and appropriate place. Some of you may be aware that there is a museum dedicated to Mad Max in the outskirts of Broken Hill. A truly dedicated fan has set up shop, and apparently 100’s of thousand visit annually. From what I’ve heard he has a replica Interceptor, which he drives himself, and he has a dog, named Dog, just like Max!
I think that this film is so impactful and intense, that it’s difficult to find people that do not know about it, or at least, heard about it. When films become so iconic and influential, it is our responsibility as FilmMunchers to look back and glean from these films, and try to identify the hallmark of cinema in them.
For me the hallmark would have to be the realism of the sets and ‘equipment’ created. At a time when computers were infantile, and not used for the generation of a computer generated image, things had to be built, physically. When we look at the ‘devices’ created by George Miller and his creative team, it is truly amazing to observe. It is metallic and brass beauty, junk turned into art. The desert compound in the film boasted to be the most expensive set ever constructed in Australia, and ironically the explosion that destroys it, boasted to be the largest explosion ever too! Creation and Destruction married equally, wow!
Another hallmark is the stunt work. To illustrate how wild these stunts were, in one scene, a particularly dangerous stunt was going to be performed. In order to prepare for the possibility of it going wrong, the stunt driver was instructed to fast for 12 hours, so that if he had to be rushed to hospital, he could be operated on, immediately! In other stunts, people were injured, and in some instances bones were broken. One of the stunts that went ‘wrong’ was keep in the final cut. Does art have a price?
Sound is another hallmark of this film, not only is the score amazing, and apt, it was the very first film in Australia to be recorded in the then, state of the art, Dolby. Innovation! The new! The Bold! Did I say, the score is just amazing!?
What do you think FilmMunchers, will Mad Max: Fury Road live up to its predecessor?
TRIVIA COOKIE: James Cameron has mentioned that Mad Max 2 was one of the films that influenced and helped give birth to The Terminator. Interestingly, George Miller has stated that Akira Kurosawa’s films influenced him. The interwoven network of film, and the internationality of it, presents it’s beautiful face, once more!