"Inspiration" For Max

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"Inspiration" For Max

Postby pauli77 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:18 am

Thought I'd post here, as the Fury Road forum is getting a little full up with pointless threads - so I guess this is my version lol.

Like everyone, I do love the Mad Max films; but I'm finding it a bit simplistic when people keep saying how anyone who claims other work had any inspiration on Fury Road is an idiot and that they all ripped off Mad Max. I'm not suggesting Max hasn't had a huge legacy, because it has, and many elements from those films have found their way into all kinds of other mediums. But Max didn't invent the post-apocalypse genre and it has many elements which are similar to films that came before. Of course what Miller did was replace the knife or the gun with the car and created something that was wonderfully unique in its way. Any film is a combination of actors, writer, director, props, setting, stune work (in Max's case) and that's how you get something fresh and enduring. We shouldn't be so precious about it though.

Mary Shelley's - Last Man which really began the post-apocalypse genre but if we stick with films.

The Ultimate Warrior 1975

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64vuWlIUhro

A society gone bad. Violent gangs. The lone warrior escorting a valuable resource to safety from a compound under seige.

A Boy and His Dog 1975

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu9fESAlGc4

I think this film has a greater influence on video games like Fallout than Max does. Although some of the insanity would not translate. It is the original wasteland movie, as I see it.

The Cars that Ate Paris 1974

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKrZ8eTcdK4

Vehicular mayhem and violence in cars.

The Damned 1963

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9zyO2B0K9I

If you watch the first 50 seconds of the trailer, you'll see what I mean...

The Devil's Angels 1967

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSe_D3R7sLY

Kind of typifies the crazy and violent biker gang.

Death Wish 1974

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GieK_55uyY

The most popular of the revenge genre and really only shares story elemens with Max 1.

This is a handful of films and if we're unbiased I'm sure we can see how these elements could be seen in Max. Whether this would be intentional or not is not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that we should be less precious about Max films and so condescending of people who dare claim that the new film may in anyway have taken elements from other films, video games or literature.

I personally don't think it's idiotic to suggest that you could see some similarities between the games below and elements I can see in Fury Road:

Rage 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2Vj2UpA4dE

And Fallout 3 2008 - which everyone claims is the most influenced by Max

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYZpR51XgW0

I disagree totally and think Fallout is a wonderfully unique composite of things from all kinds of genres and other works and they have come up with something that is original in its unoriginality lol.

Borderlands 2009

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3ZWbpce_Os

These are just the video games and not the films that could be mentioned.

I guess my point is: nothing is new; it's just some things are newer than others.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby TheFilmist » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:31 pm

I don't think anyone with a working knowledge of film or literature would say that Mad Max invented the post-apocalyptic genre - although, I would definitely say it gave the genre a shape, heft and texture that it hadn't had, previously. I think a lot of that is due to Miller and Hayes' boiling pot approach to taking what vague tropes had been established in similar films before and approaching it from a more mythic, dreamlike and archetypal perspective - mining it for Western iconography, political allegory and viscera.

I think therein lies the fault of so many of the films that followed in the series' wake - outside of the first film, everything depicted in the series has been from the outright perspective of cultural myth, of storytelling, of a larger-than-life tall tale, something that's a huge element in almost all of Miller's films, and this more than any real logical reason (although some could definitely be made, like people migrating away from the cities which have becme gangland dead-zones only to find the Outback is much the same way) is the motivation for the use of the barren wasteland environment and the blending of Medieval primitivism and neo-futurist warfare. This is reflected in the tone of The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome as well, which - while gritty in the sense of having a weight and texture to them - are really big, operatic and baroque movies where the characters and their arcs, emotions and interactions stand out against the landscape. None of the films that followed ever really put much stock into this motivation, and they take things far too literally, trying to mine some kind of gritty realism out of something that was never trying to be that in the first place. In so doing, it makes things feel empty and derivative.

Luckily, we might be getting a reprieve from all this when Fury Road arrives, next year.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby DetritusMaximus » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:02 pm

I think the key thing is that what Miller pulled from the previous media was put together so well that it became it's own thing and transcended it's source material. Every now and then there are movies that push to the next level, the B movie that becomes an A movie, or takes a subject/genre and moves it from the gutter to something respectable (Star Trek/Star Wars).
The problem is that Miller's work became the thing to copy, it inspired. The followers then mined some different territory that also already existed. Now that Miller touches on those ideas, he appears to be copying the copiers. Let's see if he can do what others have not and make the total more than the sum of the parts again.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby DetritusMaximus » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:02 pm

Don't forget Damnation Alley...
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby Bad cop » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:15 pm

"Death Race 2000" is also said to have been an inspiration for "Mad Max" as well.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby TheGoose » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:49 am

I've always thought that Dawn of the Dead (1978) must have been a big inspiration as well.

Besieged compound filled with resources, bikers, apocalyptic setting, cops who abandon their posts, helicopter flying over the chaos, etc... a lot of similar elements. There is also a pivotol scene of having to salvage those big trucks, and run the gauntlet of zombies.

And Romero's trilogy and Miller's seem to have taken a similar course: First film was low-budget and groundbreaking, second film was lauded as being even better (and ended up inspring a slew of Italian rip-offs), then a third film that was made with more resources, puts in some new ideas, but divided critical reception.

MM3 also seems to borrow a few elements from Jodorowsky's El Topo: the black-clad drifter who ends up liberating people trapped in an underworld (and even gets a haircut by the people he helps). There are even a couple characters who must have inspired Master Blaster.

I think Miller was drawing on a lot of the same sources as Romero and Jodorowsky as well. Jodorowsky especially used a lot of archetypes and mythology.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby Stamper » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:57 am

This. Watch the Dune documentary. Jodorowsky practically invented the cinema of the 80's, only he was to ahead of the curve.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby seriz » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:27 am

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This. Watch the Dune documentary. Jodorowsky practically invented the cinema of the 80's, only he was to ahead of the curve.


This is what they say. But truth is maybe a little bit different. When they say it was a great source of inspiration, visual inspiration, what they show ? Master of the universe and Flash Gordon...
the biggest thing Dune made for the SF movies : it collapsed. So O'Bannon could reform his dream team for Alien... :D

About Post Apocalypse, one of the main source is Richard Matheson's I am Legend... There's also a bunch of early post nuke movies. Mad Max 1 is much more in the spirit of a bikie movie than in the spirit of a post apo movie.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby pauli77 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:05 am

Some great mentions.

Damnation Alley and Death Race, I thought about mentioning. I couldn't really see a great link between Death Race and Max though, apart from the car violence, so I'm surprised it was such an influence - though leather Frankenstein could have been a reference lol.

Interesting post TheGoose. I'm a huge fan of those films (more so than Max as it happens) but I never thought to mention it. Certainly there is a link. They're also painfully nihilistic films when it comes to their view of humanity.

Seriz - I couldn't see a huge link between I Am Legend (the novel) and Max but I guess there is the post-apocalypse setting, though far more urban. You are correct as well, there are early nuke films and actually a lot of early nuke novels.
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Re: "Inspiration" For Max

Postby MWFV8 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:15 am

There's the elements of content and style to consider. Mad Max really helped hammer home the Apunkalyptic style.
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