Quo Vadis Mad Max?

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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby MWFV8 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:38 am

Taipan wrote:And that's what literally happened - option 3. Verraux storyboarded MMBT in a very similar fashion as Fury Road, it's just that nobody seemed to care then I guess.


I feel Miller is very similar to Lucas in this regard; He's a director who was massively constrained by budget and decision makers early on that's misattributed to his genius. I'm sure that The RoadWarrior would have been far closer to Fury Road in feel had the budget and decision making power been there.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Taipan » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:05 am

I think that's one of the things at hand.

I've been told that Miller is like a child as in he has no conscious idea of the whole picture - he sees something he really likes and obsesses over it and wants to include it in his work despite it often not working well with the whole thing. Babe 2 for example. You know why this 'kids movie' has such a dark tone? Because when Miller was working on that movie he would repeatedly lock himself up in a trailer to watch City of Lost Children. I guess there was nobody to stop him from being influenced by that. Miller's obsession with WETA started with LOTR, and he was praising that production studio despite Richard Taylor not really having a grasp on what the Mad Max universe is (just look at some of the designs... Mitsubishi War Rig. That's all I'm going to say). Thankfully Colin Gibson stopped him from taking WETA's designs full on, but a few of their designs actually made it into the movie - the design of Immortan Joe for example. I could go on about WETA for a little bit because I was really surprised to find out what their involvement (or lack of thereof) was and about the things they stated on video that weren't true.

So yeah, in a sense I think if you give Miller the budget, then he'll go crazy with it. Not to take anything away from his genius because he's a great visionary and a director, but I wouldn't even compare him to Lucas who can't operate without people around him stopping him from messing up. But there seems to be a common trait with the two.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Copwatch » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:35 pm

Yes, I wouldn't compare George Miller to Lucas at all - if anything, Miller is a genius, visionary director whose ideas get ahead of him and who seems genuinely interested in dissecting and examining how to tell stories visually and the uses of mythic archetypes in the collective unconscious (which was the subject of his 1996 documentary, 4000 Years of Dreaming). Lucas has always struck me as a plain and pretty derivative director who used technology and flash to cover up just how little his work has going on.

Among other things, while both of them owe a lot to Joseph Campbell, I think Miller utilizes the "Hero of a Thousand Faces" monomythic formula in the way it deserves, and plays with it, and understands its inherent humanity and poeticism. Lucas uses it as a very strict rulebook.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby henry2 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:02 pm

I'm biased here, Miller being my all time favorite filmmaker, I think Miller is the best! :)
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Dinki Di » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:16 pm

I guess the difference is Miller can still make a good movie even when presented with large budget, more freedom and CGI, he still chooses to limit the unreality and keep the thing focused on motive and character and trim the fat. Miller understands how to make an audience care about a world where nobody cares about much, and I include all the MM films in that - I cared about people in those movies. Lucas understands how to block a soap opera, and doesn't understand how to make an anti-hero endearing. Maybe he'd feel more at home in some parts of the world where they throw ten kinds of tone, a rape/death/tragedy and and a 15 minute upbeat musical number into a single film?

They both have awesome visionary ideas, but "it's the way you tell 'em".

I don't know if I subscribe to auteur theory, but Miller is probably very close to one if he can see the whole thing in his head and directs more from that and mental imagery. I do think big films are massive collaborative endeavors, not really the vision of one guy, but if they'd had someone other than Miller directing FR in that way, I think it would probably have come out a steaming pile.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby MWFV8 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:15 am

We don't need a jerk circle on why we think Miller is better than Lucas. We're conversing on a Mad Max Movies forum.

The only comparison I was making is the circumstantial factor of being a director constrained by budget and influence and this perhaps resulting in objectively better movies being made earlier in their career.

I don't think Miller is playing some form of 3D Chess with the Mad Max timeline here. I think he's doing whatever he wants to and squirming around the inevitable questions that follow.

If a replacement director had done what Miller had done it would not have been deemed acceptable. We'd be lambasting them for throwing out the Mad Max universe, focusing too much on actions, and leaning too far into a wacky racers vibe.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby Copwatch » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:58 am

I just don't know that I agree with that.

For one thing, everything you just used to describe Fury Road was said about The Road Warrior, the other flat-out masterpiece in the series. Compared to Mad Max, it's all action with a seriously pared down and archetypal narrative (which, at the time, it was seriously criticized for), the gangs and cars are incredibly over-the-top and fantastical, and it's a self-contained story that, outside of Max's family, barely makes any reference to the first film in the series. Fury Road is literally all these things, except up to eleven.

Also, I should say - what Mad Max universe? While the worldbuilding in each movie is expert-level, it's not as if there's a cohesive lore between the earlier three films. Each one of them presents a dramatically different post-apocalypse with their own aesthetic, with an entirely new set of characters and troubles for Max to deal with. Among other things, as was previously stated by Taipan in this thread, Fury Road acts as another of Miller's experiments in pure cinema, editing and visual storytelling on the move - just like The Road Warrior (which was also that film's stated aim, and is an especially appropriate comparison considering that Fury Road is basically the tanker chase with starts and stops for two hours) and in that way, it's probably the truest sequel in the series.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby jbartosh » Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:12 pm

Well I think there certainly is a progression of wackiness from movies 1-4. But Copwatch has some good points for sure, if we were to tune into MM2 out of context there are some strange bits - characters that look and act like pro wrestlers and so forth but for me personally as a whole that movie has a feeling of grim realism to it; whereas Fury Road to me, while obviously a good show, was never meant to be taken quite so seriously; it's perhaps a more theatrical take on a similar theme.

I have not seen the black & chrome version of FR and I do wonder how that would effect the realism of the film. Also was it silent? The score on MM2 is very good and responds to the emotions through that film very well whereas FR has basically consistent hyped-up music from my recollection. Changing just a couple simple elements like that might be enough to change the feel of the movie quite a bit. And if Miller really had ideas of putting something like the black & chrome out as the final variant, perhaps that is the direction the series will take - something that is yet more visual and if that is the case I would think it would have to be slower paced, more realistic - but I suppose that is just what I personally envision could work.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby MWFV8 » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:52 am

You see, I don't think Fury Road nor The Road Warrior are masterpieces. However that's entirely subjective. I think both movies, in the context of the marketplaces they needed to capitalise on, are brilliantly constructed. I simply feel that we've perhaps passed an era in pop culture where gritty and realistic action movies can be blockbusters. The Road Warrior has a darkness, morbidity, and peril that sticks with you after watching it - and I miss that. On the flip side, Fury Road does have some big picture stuff I like too and indeed takes everything up to eleven.

I guess it comes down to this for me; I feel that previous Mad Max movies, particularly the first two, have been the antithesis to the typical Hollywood action movie. While still containing all the realistic stunts, they dared to be bleak, stripped back, and harrowing. The result were action movies that made us feel more mortal rather than immortal. They made us aware how society was vulnerable rather than indestructible. Fury Road feels like it just reinforces the common narrative; heroes and villains have superhuman strength and durability, everyone gets their glorious death, shooting at things fixes everything, the good guys have the best one-liners, the more of something the better. And the thing is, what I think frustrates some Mad Max fans like myself, is that you remove those factors and it feels like you've taken the Max out of Mad Max, and here's the director himself acting like he either hasn't noticed or doesn't care.
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Re: Quo Vadis Mad Max?

Postby PL-12Airtruk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:49 am

I heard Miller state that MMFR takes place "45 years into the future" after a "great apocalypse" in the world. When you do the math here Max would not have been born until at least 15 years after the world collapsed (assuming he's about 30 in the film) then it would have been another 20 years until he was an adult making it 35 years since the "apocalypse" so to speak. However we are told in the opening narrative that he was a cop - a Road Warrior - trying to keep things together etc. So even after the apocalypse, that involved widespread nuclear war, there was still a functioning society that had a police force building road-going cars (ie the Interceptor was hardly an outback design), 35 years into worldwide weather changes and man-made disaster?

The whole point here goes back through this thread that the backstory has not been thought through clearly enough. As can be seen in other big movies today, the bigger the budget the lesser of a sound storyline and directors keeping things in perspective, would that be fair comment? I haven't read the comics yet, I had hoped for a novel as these often have exposition not able to be in a film - the backstory in the MM1 novel was awesome!

I'm not trying to detract from MMFR, I still uphold it as being the best film this side of the year 2000, but this little fact has always bugged me. Whereas when the films were older and had lower budgets the storylines seemed to make more sense and were more realistic.

I recently spoke to a person a generation younger than myself, who watched MM1 and found it boring and slow. I was more than shocked to hear this.
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