35 years after the original Mad Max powered onto our screens to do battle with the white line nightmare, George Miller is almost ready to release the fourth installment, MAD MAX 4- FURY ROAD.
I first saw MAD MAX when I was eleven, like a lot of people I was lucky to watch a lot of R-Rated movies due to a mix of lax parenting and their bad choice of babysitters. This introduced me to the second longest lasting movie saga of my life, MAD MAX.
Almost all of my grade five friends saw it around the same time, triggering hours spent figuring out the world of Max, I even read the novelization, I loved that movie, it’s the only movie that made me feel like I’d gotten gravel rash from a piece of cinema. It was different to all the other post-apocalyptic movies, OMEGA MAN, THE DAY AFTER, DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS; the world of MAD MAX hadn’t been struck by some catastrophe, it had simply gone bad, the world had turned to crap for a reason no one really could pin down.
A year or so later I saw MAD MAX 2, or THE ROAD WARRIOR depending on which part of the globe you’re from and it seemed that Miller/ Kennedy had taken my imagination and put it on the screen, it was a modern myth full of psycho bikers and hotted up jalopies roaming a wasteland. As the story goes Miller and Kennedy had gone into the desert with a bunch of cars, stuntmen and actors and filmed off the cuff, no script. Each time there is a stunt in the movie another fall guy was flown back to the city for hospitalization. The whole thing was a petrol driven nightmare, a movie that speaks of another age of film making that has long disappeared into the history books.
Then came MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME, while the other two movies were R and Ma rated respectively, THUNDERDOME had a PG rating, probably to cash in on all those grade five kids who would have missed out otherwise.
We all went to see it, and we wanted to like it, no, we wanted to love it, but it fell short, there wasn’t the gut churning fear the other two movies had, Thunderdome was a kids movie, even with the two men enter and one man leaves, Master Blaster, the full tilt chase at the end, it still had no terror. If it had been filmed as a stand-alone movie I have no doubt it would have spawned its own line of sequels, but this is the legend of Mad Max, there’s a special chemistry, it’s a chemistry that holds the attention of my grade five friends even now as they all get older than they’d like to mention. Enough to make their eyes light up when I mentioned that another installment of the franchise is due for our cinemas in 2014, to be followed shortly by a fifth movie, MAD MAX 5- FURIOSA.
The fourth installment in the series carries on directly from THUNDERDOME, Max comes across a convoy of refugees crossing the wasteland and lends them a hand.
There’s been a few changes, No Mel Gibson, which sent ripples of anger through my country men in Australia, No Mel Gibson. Who? who will they get to play the wanderer of the wasteland, then Miller announced Tom Hardy for the role and there was general head nodding, If anyone could play Max It would be Hardy. Along with Hardy there will be Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz and New Zealand Songstress Bic Runga, a strong and varied cast.
There is a rumor that Mel Gibson will be doing a cameo as a character called the drifter but no confirmation of that yet.
MM4 has been a long time coming, 25 years since THUNDERDOME the movie has been a battle to get going, first there were plans to reboot the franchise by turning the saga of Max into an R rated manga. The logic was there, anything can happen in Manga, but standing up against the gritty realism of the first two movies, then move to animation seams a down shift, it’s hard to get excited about animated cars. Then Miller received a script from English graphic novelist Brendan McCarthy who also designed many of the outlandish vehicles and a range of new characters. The Manga Idea was dumped and Miller returned to live action, choosing to bring the movie out in 3D.
Scouting for location began in 2009. Broken Hill, a mining town in central Australia was considered, then the drought that had been going for most of the decade broke and the desert came alive with wild flowers, not the setting for a post-apocalyptic movie. So Miller moved the production to Namibia. There were more problems, security being one, production halted for eighteen months. Principal photography beginning in July of 2012 and wrapped up in December of the same year with a budget of somewhere between a 100 and 125 million. George Miller is currently preparing for some re-shoots in Sydney in November, then editing and conversion to 3D.
By the time the movie is released it will be 35 years since Max put on the sunglasses and revved up the interceptor and took down the fuel injected suicide machine called the Night-rider. It has gone through change of country, security concerns, unrest between the cast, and complaints from the Namibian Government about destruction of wildlife but the slow road to release is coming.
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