Quo Vadis Mad Max?

For any discussions at all relating to the movies

Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Taipan » Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:52 pm

Seeing recently how Miller steers away from the origins of Mad Max and more into the fantasy land with comments like "Fury Road could take place anywhere in the world" or that it takes place in some Australia-fantasy hybrid continent this started to concern me.

Mad Max to me is an inherently Australian franchise, with Australians, the Outback, the Australian car culture and Australian culture in general. At least the original trilogy is.

But now with Mad Max being re-introduced to the masses it seems to be stripped from those very essential elements that made it unique and were its strong points. I'm genuinely fearing for the future of this franchise that it's going to completely abandon it's roots.

To be honest with you, the main reason for me to make this post was the fact that I recently bought the Mad Max game - which I knew beforehand wasn't canon - but it showed me something very interesting.
It showed me what happens to a franchise when it's not understood properly, and how easily it can stray away from its original idea. And we're talking about an 'official product' licensed by WB! We're talking about a Mad Max game where the Outback doesn't exist, we're looting rusty ship wrecks and interact with people who invented their own wacky religions, not for the purpose of manipulation others like Immortan Joe mind you (even the Wretched and the Wives knew that Immortan's religion was bullshit). All this just reeks of taking the source material and misunderstanding it, while completely losing ground with reality. And it's just so easy to go that road. That's how we got a whole bunch of Road Warrior copycats before - none of them made any sense, too over the top.

I think there's a huge misunderstanding with what the Mad Max franchise is and how it operates, that it's originally very grounded in reality, but if you take it at face value you can mess it up so easily. And not a lot of people really get it, they're the ones that would compare Mad Max to Fallout games, they're nothing like each other! But I digress.
With Miller's recent comments I'm starting to fear that he stopped understanding what the created and he could be venturing into the fantasy land with Mad Max. What started out as a story about a cop and bikers, the Outback and even showing us bombed out Sydney is now turning into a non-descript 'it could be anywhere' quasi-Australia which - to me at least - is really close to strapping lasers and chainguns to cars and calling it "Adventures of Rockatansky in the year 3000". To be honest, Fury Road felt pretty close to that in my opinion, but it was dancing around that idea in a very clever way that isolated societies can go bonkers which validates the over the top nature of the movie. But honestly I don't know where the rest of the franchise is going to with that kind of approach. We've really come a long way since Mad Max if you look at it, who knows where it's going at this point.

What do you think? Do you think we're going to off the deep end with the upcoming movies? Or maybe go back to the roots of the franchise?
At last the Vermin had inherited the Earth
User avatar
Taipan
 
Posts: 1472
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:14 am
Location: The Wasteland

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby mahenoguy » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:01 pm

I both agree and disagree at the same time Taipan . On one hand , I totally agree that Fury Road seems much less Australian than the original trilogy , but then again , Australia seems much less Australian these days . Many of the things that set the Australian flavour in the original films simply no longer exist. IE , most Aussie cars are generic international models these days , the Aussie accent is being slowly replaced by this "Private school " sounding hashtag lingo ( even among my fellow aging gen X-ers ) The ultra mass consumer attitude , hard conditioned into us every time we turn on a TV has kind of turned the "Aussie Battler "into a bit of a loser in our social psyche .
Now i understand that these things aren't really applicable to a film set in an alternate reality where the world ended years ago..... but i do think they make movie producers / directors and writers a little less hung up on capturing the Australian flavour of a film , when our taste seem to have changed anyway .
I feel I should state that i am a respected historian and 9th generation Australian so I am not exactly happy about moving away from a lot our culture , but it is happening regardless.

On the other hand , I think Kennedy Miller went to great lengths to give the original films an international flavour . Although the world viewed them as distinctly Australian , Many of the accents weren't local ( bubba Zanetti and toecutter sound english , some of toecutters gang sound American , even Max has a half Aussie/half American accent , Pappigalo and his right hand man are english , Hummungus is European and then there's Aunty !!!! )
And although the Aussie cars stood out to international audiences , it was the mods and mating with classic American cars that stood out to many of my petrol headed mates.

Now for the disclaimer: All that said , I would have preferred Fury Road to have a more distinct geography , even some destroyed Australian Icons ( like the end of Thunderdome )
and mostly i would have preferred an Aussie Max ( not to take away from Toms inspired performance...but his accent was shocking ).
I feel your fears that the franchise will move even further from Australiana are probably well founded ....But Australians make up a small percentage of Ticket sales and i fear the international viewer couldn't care less as many of them ( and alas many of us )struggle to pinpoint what Australian Culture even is.
User avatar
mahenoguy
 
Posts: 178
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:00 pm

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby jbartosh » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:02 pm

For me I tend to see a divide between the first two movies and BTD/FR in the 'departure from reality' you're hinting at. The first movies were in my mind very realistic in their design and many scenes built on a theme of a harsh environment think suspense of goose about to be burned, hospital scene, showdown with Zanetti etc. from the first... When warrior woman is shot, wez pulling out arrow, max/pappagallo fight etc. from MM2. To me they did a great job highlighting the harsh reality of the world, and for me it also highlights the incredible stunts in the movies. It is fun to watch these movies just to ponder the incredible stunts and the reaction of the characters goes a long way to further this.

And probably MM3 is in a class of it's own with pg rating etc. so I will bypass BTD and as for Fury Road while the stuns where amazing and really probably better than MM2 even, however because of the color grading, cg enhacements etc. it ruins the value of appreciation for the stunts (for me anyway). Also there is minimal character reaction; it is so fast paced that it gives the impression that the incredible events going on are just status quo for these characters... For me there is a good side to this too, from the first shot a person gets caught up in these imaginative world and it works; FR is a great movie and I do like the over the top vehicles, design and characters - it is a good companion to the old movies to me, but yes, quite dis-similar. I think it would be bogus to have a carbon copy of one of the old movies (which for me the new star wars was a copy of new hope i.e.). However I wouldn't mind going back to the feel of the first movies, probably because you don't see that type of movie any more (everything is a comic book movie it seems!) but also because it was extremely well done in MM & MM2.

As for why this came to be I think it is the evolution of Miller himself and the desire for variety as well. Whether for $ or Miller simply likes / is influenced by all these comic book movies in recent years and it seems FR has followed suit and from conception FR is a comic book movie. I think in the future it will be something different from both of these as Miller is influenced by other ideas and builds a new story, unlike the rest but still complementary.
"metal damage, brain damage."
jbartosh
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:54 am

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Taipan » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:48 pm

mahenoguy,
I see what you mean, that the culture is more unified these days, however my point is more about turning the franchise into a caricature of itself by abandoning the rules they set out in the beginning.

Losing the Australian appeal is one of those things but let me give you a bit of interesting info that might shed some light onto the whole 'Max venturing into fantasy' situation.
I believe it all started when Byron Kennedy died, he was responsible for the 'car culture' aspect of the first two movies. He was the brake that grounded the Road Warrior in reality by putting in street cars into a dystopian enviroment. Whereas Miller and Terry Hayes focused on the newfound Joseph Campbell nature of Max and turning him into a wandering man-myth, they wanted the movie to be a myth too, fantasy and a story first and foremost. The whole car culture aspect of Mad Max movies wasn't really Miller's cup of tea at that time and I don't believe it is till this day either. I think that when Byron died, that part of the franchise that really related the movies to realism died with him, and Miller and Terry Hayes were focused on the story and visuals. Yes they knew that they had to give extensive backgrounds to characters and the whole world they were creating but their focus was not so much in keeping the original balance of reality vs fantasy. Case in point - I read in an interview from 1985 with Terry Hayes where he said that he absolutely hated the cars in MM2. I was shocked to find out. To him those cars were too street, to normal, but that was the whole point that Byron wanted get across, that we're witnessing a situation where the current culture is shoved into a dystopia and how that would play out. It felt realistic yet futuristic in a medieval way and you could really tell that the cars in MM2 once served another purpose, that were actual remnants of a previous world moreso than just making them look weird and strapping a few 'found objects' on them like in Fury Road, it was a very wise decision on Byron's behalf to include those 'street racers'.

Enter MMBT. Terry Hayes specifically wanted the cars to look alien. Like bugs. Organic. To him Mad Max 3 was disconnected from any recognizable reality that we know. You could look for familiar things and items in the movie but they were repurposed in such strange ways and shoved a little too far into the fantasy realm. There was no Byron to give it a healthy dose of realism and grit. That's why there were kids, chanting, pig shit, all sorts of bizzare imagery, but overall it was disconnected from reality. The best way I can describe it is quoting my dad who actually introduced me to those movies when I was waay too little (which is why they're now imprinted onto me, but I digress). He loves the first movie but the 3rd one is 'a fairy tale'. He said the 4th one is even worse than that.

And I have to agree, I mean Fury Road is a good movie but as far as evolution of the franchise it wandered off into the fantasy land full on. Like jbartosh said - from the color grading, to impossible stunts. Hell, forget about the movie taking place in Australia, it could all be anywhere in the world for all we know, since this is a story told by 'The History Men' just to give it a little more leeway for exaggeration. From watching what I always considered was post apocalyptic Australia we're now potentially anywhere in the world.

Which brings me to a point about Hardy's accent. If this is the direction the franchise is taking maybe he won't need his Aussie accent anymore, because what's the point? He's already become such a vague character that people start to think he could be the Feral Kid or literally any wastelander who decides to take on his persona. That's not the MFP cop I remember. In fact the reality in Mad Max movies seems to divert so far from the real world that I'm starting to wonder why Max has to mention that he was a 'cop' in Fury Road at all. Nobody seems to care or even understand what a 'cop' is anymore in that universe. Even in MMBT when he said he was 'a cop, a driver' at least Auntie Entity knew what he was talking about. The way things are going he'll be explaining to a bunch of feral weirdos with their own religion what a 'cop' is, that's how far this has gone :)
At last the Vermin had inherited the Earth
User avatar
Taipan
 
Posts: 1472
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:14 am
Location: The Wasteland

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Copwatch » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:51 am

Huh. I honestly thought this would be a thread about Miller taking inspiration from Quo Vadis for the Mad Max movies' mythic storytelling.

Honestly, I don't see much of a difference where this is concerned. Even when they were making the first film, before Miller hooked up with Terry Hayes and discovered Campbell, both Kennedy and Miller were talking about their approach to filmmaking being essentially international with an Australian flavor.

Also, I mean - outside of that first movie, where the reality and groundedness of the story was a matter of necessity than anything - these films have always been over- the- top mythic fantasies, and even that first movie is cartoonish in its own way. I don't think it has anything to do with Kennedy, because they were already scouting for locations when he died.

Also, George Miller's been talking about Australian cinema's need to become international for almost thirty years, and about why its failure to do so is primarily responsible for people's general lack of interest in Aussie filmmaking.

The videogame I haven't played, but as far as I'm aware Kennedy Miller didn't really have any direct involvement with it.
Copwatch
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:38 am

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby MWFV8 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:51 am

Taipan wrote:...he could be venturing into the fantasy land with Mad Max.


We're already there. We got there the moment the full Fury Road trailer launched.
"Wrong, we fight for a belief. I stay."
User avatar
MWFV8
 
Posts: 1089
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 2:06 pm

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Dinki Di » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:42 pm

I always thought of Mad Max as Australian. It was the outback, it was Australia, there's a certain car culture still after society went kaput, etc.

But at the same time while watching it, because I'm not Australian, I did feel "this could be anywhere" or its metaphor in that general sense; except Australia has a unique landscape, a dramatic/plausible backdrop for survival stories. When I watched MM2 I thought Max owed his survival in a lot of ways to the vastness/desertedness of the outback and being able to escape to it in his car, so in that sense the land, the scenery, is a major 'character' in the films to me. When I first saw Fury Road I assumed it was filmed in Oz somewhere with the hell graded out of it, but once I found out that it wasn't I felt ... different about it. I suspected as I was watching it, that it couldn't really be Oz. It had become a fantasy land, with rock formations being made digitally larger and more impressive than they really were, or sand made more orange than it was... I don't exactly have a problem with that, but it means Max in name has moved beyond the trilogy and that sense of grounded reality into some other sort of post apocalypse with everything exaggerated and heightened. Even Thunderdome feels quaint and comfortable after Fury Road.

I really wish they'd filmed it by Broken Hill or wherever it was they intended to before it rained too much because even after a nuclear war the Oz Wasteland is going to look to some degree the same. I think it would have had a whole different vibe (if they hadn't digitally added tons of stuff over it to change it too much).

It seems like Mad Max catching up with the waves of its own influence down the years and having digested it all to come up with this version. Maybe it's just me but MM and MM2 are just so much more powerful because they are so grounded and close to what we know. The further away from that you get, the less disturbing and evocative it becomes and the more of a "spectacle" it is. I never thought of the first two films as a spectacle. But it seems George doesn't want to reiterate the same things but move on each time, so it either inevitably evolves or dies?

Mad Max as an idea is almost infinite with where it could go and what it could do - taking remnants of today and respinning it into weird new cultures, new world orders, religions, landscapes, grounded only by the basics of what it is to be human and having human needs. The rest could go anywhere. I'm not against that, it would happen and has been happening without Mad Max for a while, and I reckon it will do this and just get further and further away from the source, even if they try another shot at the origin story again (hopefully not). But the heart of it is in the first 3 films, and I don't think we're going to see the like of them again in style or method. Fury Road has been compared to TRW but has sped up sections and many many fast cuts and looks "glorious"... I prefer longer cuts, and I like a slow burn and build up if I'm liking the characters and the story, and "glorious" or "beautiful" isn't a word I associate with toxic wastelands or Mad Maxian scenarios... and I especially like that indescribable "feel" of 70s and 80s movies. I like Fury Road, I really do. But it's a different animal and it seems like it's going somewhere else. I understand those fans who don't accept this new take and use of the Mad Max name. But I don't think there's especially a great deal to lose - I'm amazed this one exists after all the setbacks so I'm grateful, but also it's depressing because I know it won't be like the originals ever again. It seems inevitable WB will want more since the response has been good, and cynic that I am I think art from adversity often makes for a better product. When it comes to Mad Max even more so, because it added to that run-down, raggedyness of everything falling apart, being dingy and grim. Fury Road doesn't even feel "grim" to me, somehow, it looks and feels "rich" - and I think that's what they were going for when they talked about wanting "different flavors of nothing". But if I were trying to convey a bleak, dying world I wouldn't have gone for that richness (even though I know as an artist pretty colors really do tend to appeal to most people)... and I reckon they're going to continue to try and weave a "rich world" of developing nutty cultures and scenery and whatnot in any subsequent films. Fury Road seemed like a world crammed with people, too, for all its emptiness and deserts... yet MM and TRW maintain this sense of sparsity and scarcity throughout. I don't know... just reeling off thoughts here.
User avatar
Dinki Di
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:19 am
Location: Where the sun don't shine (UK)

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby MWFV8 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:09 am

Let's imagine WB had produced a bleak, slow burning Max Mad movie grounded in reality and staying loyal to the existing backstory. Let's imagine there had been a focus on stunts which had driven the budget up, but the vehicles had been less wacky races and a lot of the cgi had been ditched to kerb the total cost.

Right now we'd be desperately defending why a brilliant film had tanked in the box office. We'd be lamenting how the Mad Max franchise is now dead because the concept can't make any profit. And we'd be saying things like they should have gone crazy with the concept, competed with the comic book movies, and blended a military feel with wacky racers.

Miller is ducking and diving around the plausibility and canon of his own movie because he knows he can't continue to make those movies in today's climate.
"Wrong, we fight for a belief. I stay."
User avatar
MWFV8
 
Posts: 1089
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 2:06 pm

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Dinki Di » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:28 am

An action movie these days has to assault the senses or people won't call it an action movie. I understand why they had to dial it up. And some people still claimed Fury Road was dull and boring. It's just my personal preference with movies and I know those days are loooong gone. :)

We'll always have the Road Warrior.
User avatar
Dinki Di
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:19 am
Location: Where the sun don't shine (UK)

Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby TheDarkOne#1 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:47 am

I've seen people go so far as saying that the first MM movies were boring or someone even described them as 'garbage'.

Recently saw 'The Rover' again. A shame this movie didn't do so well. But it's bleak, gritty and too close to reality for the average moviegoer.
A fella, a quick fella, might have a weapon under there.
Image
User avatar
TheDarkOne#1
 
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:11 pm
Location: Belgium...prohibited area

Next

Return to General Movie Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


cron