George Miller was a 30 year old doctor working in an E.R. in Sydney when he first started to up with the idea for Mad Max. 40 years later, he was on a Comic-Con stage talking about the fourth entry in the nutty post apocalyptic series.
The Mad Max series is set in a dystopian future where fuel and water are scarce and life is cheap. Scattered settlements remain but the roads belong to the scum, and the road warriors who try to keep the peace. Or at least kill everyone else first. The 1979 original was followed by the stone cold classic Road Warrior in 1981 and Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Now, Max is back.
Mad Max Fury Road has had a difficult route to the big screen. A third sequel has been mooted for decades, ever since Mel Gibson’s Max oddly showed up in the same movie as Tina Turner.
Ideas were scrapped due to politics or geography – the idea of shooting a movie about fighting for oil was unpopular after the invasion of Iraq – and it wasn’t long before Gibson bowed out entirely. There was even mention of a 3D animated flick at one point.
Details began to emerge as long ago as 2010, with Tom Hardy admitting he had been cast as the new lead and locations being scouted in Australia. Weather struck once again, forcing a movie to Namibia and another delay. Fury Road finally went before cameras in 2012 and wrapped over budget before having to go out for additional reshoots.
All in all, it didn’t sound like things were going well for George Miller and there were rumours the film wouldn’t even manage to make it to Comic-Con in 2014. But it did, and what Miller brought with him has basically silenced any doubt I had.
Here’s the sizzle-tastic trailer for Fury Road from Comic-Con 2014.
That. Is. Some. Mad. Shit.
Miller has always had an eye for strong visuals, especially in films like Babe: Pig in the City and of course Mad Max 2. But Fury Road looks like a thing of singular, terrible beauty. The explosions are rich and deep and glorious, the vehicles bedecked in garb that would make Pinhead proud and don’t get me started on that storm – those cars are flying and exploding and good gravy can I just see this film now?!
And what of the set pieces? In this extended teaser there are tons of discreet action moments involving scores of vehicles and combatants, all with a distinct sense of style. Is this film just going to be wall-to-wall action? If it sounds like I’m complaining I’m really not.
Miller also seems to be focused on creating a good amount of the carnage in camera as well. Those flips and crashes are often real and it looks like he’s also got his cast as close to the action as possible. And the additional stuntwork looks extraordinary, with some lessons learnt from naval boarding and plenty of room for bizarre and nasty weaponry.
The CG looks top notch as well, Miller has form with his work on both Happy Feet films (yes really) and its all washed through with a colour palate that’s a little familiar but certainly adds a gloss to the film that the series has never seen before.
There’s also little chance that this is going to be anything less than an R-rated film. Miller was pretty open in his comments at Comic-Con that he had free rein from the bosses at Warner Bros and while they might have thought he was crazy, here’s hoping that this is an R-rated action film which can actually triumph at the box office.
The plot teases here are pretty minimal but it looks like Max gets taken and tortured and they… write his blood type on him. Then escapes and teams up with Charlize Theron who seems to be transporting supermodels through a desert filled with scum for some reason.
Fact fans might want to know that main baddie Immortan Joe is played by Hugh Keays-Byrne who was the lead asshole in the first Mad Max, and also the story kicks off right after the first film ended. Though they’re not the same character, for obvious reasons.
Miller didn’t want to do anything as conventional as writing a script for Fury Road, instead building up the flick in thousands of storyboards, more like assembling a comic book. Then he fashioned it together with the least amount of dialogue possible, as you can tell from this trailer.
Almost 30 years after Thunderdome, I had no expectation that Mad Max would ever make a return, and even less hope that it would be something worth waiting for. But with this panel and an incredible first footage showing George Miller not only won Comic-con 2014 for me but he also made we excited about the prospect of seeing Max in cinemas next year.
Mad Max: Fury Road is in cinemas on the 15th of May 2015.