When you go back far enough to the beginning of many franchises, things that made them unique fall away. As the examination of 1980 continues, this week’s episode delves down under. George Miller’s original incarnation, that launched the Australian cinema explosion, Mad Max. There is a lot budding writer/directors can learn from the film, not only giving us one of the biggest pop culture characters ever conceived.
Mad Max was the first installment of the franchise, which lead to The Road Warrior, Beyond Thunderdome, and eventually the fantastic Fury Road. For much of its initial success, there were many people that Mad Max was even part of the franchise. The Road Warrior was such a huge hit that many people failed to realize that Mad Max started it all. However, compared to its sequel, the original manages to set itself apart from the world it created.
Having viewed this for the first time, it’s worth noting that the film doesn’t seem much like a post-apocalyptic. There are no burnt-out husks of cities. Vehicles made up of pieces from various other types of vehicles. A rush for water or fuel. In fact, everything seems normal. To me, it seems to be an Australian film about the country in the eighties on any given Wednesday.
However, Patrick sees the styling only having been introduced to it via an anime that based itself off the film. So, he reverse engineered the correlation between the film and its dystopian landscape. Obviously, in its subsequent sequels, that world was well established.
Much like many of those franchises, the sequels deviate from the original film to become a shadow of their former selves. Like we discussed in the episode for Halloween, the sequels ramp up the action and the gimmicks that make it a Mad Max movie. Even if it wasn’t there to begin with. Mad Max manages to give us a background into the character but takes its time before the revenge kicks in.
If you read the synopsis of the film, Max gets revenge on a gang that murders his wife and child. However, it takes nearly the beginning of act three for that act to happen and Max to become the guy we were waiting for. Budgeted for a little north of $300,000, the movie manages to give a interesting character story before it gives you what you expect.
Get in your car and race out on the lonely highway. Turn up the volume and chase those bikers. Enjoy this week’s episode of The Extended Play Movie Podcast #73: Mad Max. Be ready to thank the eighties for another gem. The eighties were good to us.
“Prevues of Coming Attractions” (HD Remaster) – RamtroStudios