Thursday, 11 December 2014

What Have You Done?

Our friend Dael sent us a link for the newest cut of a trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road (a different trailer was released a while ago). I'm sorry to say, as a Mad Max fan I'm bitterly disappointed.

The fourth film in the 'franchise' looks like the Burning Man Festival crossed with Grand Theft Auto. Which you might like the sound of, but it's taken all the tribalism and cosplay tendencies of Mad Max II and III and turned it up to eleventy-stupid*. It looks more like a dumb-ass Transformers movie than anything approaching engaging.

I don't know why I'm surprised, the original had B-movie appeal; was made less than the catering budget of Fury Road; had a great bike gang of truly unsettling misfits and stunts so gruesome-looking that fanboys started rumours the riders were killed in the process (they weren't, obviously). Then each instalment became more outlandish, until now we're at the point one of the aggressors seems to be driving a perfectly restored, bare metal Willys Coupe (I think) with huge tractor wheels. They must have a lot of spare time from surviving and that to keep those cars so pristine.

The Toecutter couldn't kill Mad Max, but CGI just did. I know it's not supposed to be a documentary, but  it's turned into a superhero film. Mad Max's strength was its realism. You could imagine the world going off-kilter in the way it did in MM I. The stunts and crashes and vehicles and costumes were believable. The gang's mildly modified Kawasaki and Honda super bikes from MM I were so believable in comparison. They seemed just what a bunch of bad asses would ride in a molten society - the fastest bikes available. With a bed roll on the front. Perhaps TV shows like The Walking Dead are now so good and have inhabited that area it has left the filmmakers nowhere to go but CGI Town.

If you want to read two killer articles about the original Mad Max, buy Sideburn 17.

Our own Mick Phillips interviewed George Miller, the director (referred to as a mastermind in a cringeworthy caption in the trailer above); Hugh Keays-Byrne (the Toecutter); Tim Burns (Johnny the Boy); extras/stuntmen Dale Bensch and Bertrand Cadart; cameraman David Eggby - on the back of a stuntman playing the part of the Goose below, and one of the reasons the original is still so vital.

There is also an exclusive essay on the movie by Alex Cox (director of cult films Repo Man, Sid and Nancy, Straight to Hell) PLUS a wonderful original artwork by Raid 71.

Get Sideburn 17 for just £5 plus post. That's less than going to the local multiplex to watch Fury Road.

*kudos for anyone who gets that reference.


dael said...

I fear you're right. Damn it

Garrett302 said...


casey him said...

cgi is just another way of saying cartoon. i half expected to see Wheelie and the chopper bunch somewhere in the background.

Lee said...

Wurzel Gummidge?

Sideburn Magazine said...

Ha, no I ws thinking Mark Kermode on Radio 5, but you might be right.