It’s been years since I’ve seen the original Mad Max film and I guess I’ve forgotten what it was. Then again, I’m going to be 63 this coming October 2015 and how has that changed my perspective on the cinematic experience? I’m not so much concerned about the downfall of civilisation and the vision of a post-apocalyptic wilderness of every-man-for-himself anarchy as opposed to the looming threat of my own mortality. I guess you have to be a bit younger to be concerned about the end of the world as opposed to the end of your own world.
The film is well done. Lots of great action, crazy plot lines, and wild sh*t galore. 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. But, so what? I keep repeating this in the latest batch of films I’ve seen: If I was 20-years-old, I’d be wild about this. Unfortunately, I’m not and if I’m not waxing enthusiastic about 98%, I have to be an old fuddy-duddy. Heck, maybe I am an old fuddy-duddy and I don’t know it. As I said about the film Avengers: Age of Ultron (my review), I preferred the film Danny Collins (my review).
My beef, if you can call it that, is that while I can accept the premise (I must accept that Superman has superpowers), I did not identify with the characters. The premise - the world has gone to hell in what we can assume has been World War III – has left everybody scrambling for what scant resources are left and in this might is right futuristic society, punk reigns supreme. Considering the first film was made in 1979, in the midst of the punk movement, it’s not surprising that George Miller, director and co-writer, fashioned the original scenario around those themes. After all, what is more anarchistic than punk? Whether it’s Mad Max or zombies or Planet of the Apes, the post-apocalyptic view is a total breakdown of the societal framework. We are all going to revert back to a kill or be kill mentality. Put this all together and you have an excuse to roll out the bad of the bad, the craziest of the crazy, with make-up, piercings, body modifications, and wild outfits designed to scare the bejesus out of ya. While I went through high school at the end of the hippie era, 1968-1972, and grew my hair long, I missed the tattoos and piercings. That stuff is crazy sh*t. Fortunately, I’m not still walking around with souvenirs of my young and foolish days.
By the numbers
In looking back on the Mad Max franchise, we see the following:
Mad Max (1979)
Budget: $400,000 AUD (Australian Dollar; $1 AUD = $0.80 USD)
Gross: $100 million USD (worldwide)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Mad Max grossed A$5,355,490 at the box office in Australia and over US$100 million worldwide. For twenty years the film had the highest profit-to-cost ratio of any motion picture, conceding the record to The Blair Witch Project in 1999.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Budget: $4.5 million AUD
Gross: $10.8 million AUD; $23.7 million USD
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Budget: $12 million
Gross: $36.2 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Budget: $150 million
Gross: $109.4 million (worldwide as of May 17. 2015: Box Office Mojo)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
My recommendation is the same recommendation I made for Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you’re under 30, maybe 40, see the movie. It’s good. If you’re older than that, go see Danny Collins. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not getting the crash bang boom. It’s cinematic eye candy, empty calories that leave me hungry for more. I want to identify with the characters and crazy-ass punk isn’t my bag.
Rotten Tomatoes: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): 98%
With exhilarating action and a surprising amount of narrative heft, Mad Max: Fury Road brings George Miller's post-apocalyptic franchise roaring vigorously back to life.
Wikipedia: Mad Max: Fury Road
Mad Max: Fury Road is a 2015 Australian post-apocalyptic action film directed, produced, and co-written by George Miller, and the fourth film of Miller's Mad Max franchise. The first film of the franchise in 30 years, Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as "Mad" Max Rockatansky, making it also the first Mad Max film not to feature Mel Gibson in the title role. The film also stars Charlize Theron.
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