Do You Realise Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

Do You Realise Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

I'm serious. Mad Max: Fury Road should not exist. It should never have gotten made. It certainly shouldn't be as awesome as it is. And yet somehow, against all odds, this impossible cinematic masterpiece was one of the most successful movies of last year, in defiance of reality itself.

Obviously, the fact that Hollywood decided to make a new Mad Max film 30 years after the last movie came out isn't that exceptional. If there's a franchise that anyone has nostalgia for — or at least awareness of — there's a decent chance that Hollywood will make another in hopes of cashing in. Generally, these tend to be remakes or reboots, so the first miracle is that Fury Road isn't a needless reboot, but a new chapter in the Mad Max saga. I can't imagine how much Hollywood execs wanted to remake The Road Warrior, or give a new origin story for Tom Hardy's turn as Max. I don't know how director George Miller managed to convince the studio that modern audiences didn't need to be coddled.

Actually, I don't know how Miller was hired to direct the movie at all. Yes, Miller was the creator, writer and director of all three Mad Max movies, but when has Hollywood ever shown a creator loyalty? That's not a studio executive's job. Their job is to make as much money as possible, and given Miller's track record, there's no way he should have been hired, creator or not.

Do you know what Miller was doing before he returned to Mad Max? In the last 20 years, he has only directed three other movies: Happy Feet, a CG cartoon about a bunch of dancing penguins, Happy Feet Two, and Babe: Pig in the City. Three movies not just for kids, but for little kids. Movies that contain no action to speak of, no violence, and nothing in common with Fury Road. He literally hadn't made an action flick since Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome in 1985, and it wasn't even a very good movie! Yes, Miller was tapped to direct a Justice League movie several years ago, but that fell apart, and no one gets to put "almost" on their resume.

Do You Realise Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

Look, I know it makes sense to normal people that you would only let the creator of Mad Max make a new Mad Max movie, but Hollywood studio executives are not normal people. They're cocaine-addled lunatics who are terrified at the idea of losing potential box office revenue. From that viewpoint, hiring Miller is a legitimately risky decision. He's woefully out of practice, his last action film was mediocre anyways, he's 70 years old… there's no reason to suspect he could make a summer blockbuster, let alone a modern summer blockbuster, let along a goddamned action movie masterpiece. There are plenty of other movie directors out there who, while they may make crappy movies, still make movies that almost always make money. As nightmarish as it is to consider, from a studio exec's point of view, it would have been more fiscally responsible to give Fury Road over to a Brett Ratner or a Len Wiseman or one of their ilk.

But not only was Miller hired, he was given a massive $US150 ($209) million budget and, more insanely, he seemingly also had complete creative control. You know who gets that deal? Practically no one. Maybe guys like Chris Nolan, who have churned out enough summer blockbusters over the years that the studio doesn't feel the need to second-guess their every decision.

The reason I know that Miller must have had almost total control over the movie is because he was allowed to make decisions no studio executive would have or should have allowed, no matter how much cocaine he/she was on. Here five things I can't believe Miller was allowed to do:

• Have Max be the sidekick in his own film.

• Hire Nicholas Hoult, one of Hollywood's youngest, most attractive stars, then shave his head, paint him bone white, and have him play a character with disgusting chapped lips for the entire movie.

• Get rid of Max's iconic car in the first few minutes of the flick.

• Ignore conventional action movie structure in order to present one giant, two-hour long car chase.

• Give the main villain a name that will confuse every one all the time, because they assume there's been some kind of error and the character's real name must be "Immortal Joe."

These are all reasons the film is awesome, but they're also not things the studio should have allowed. These aren't safe decisions. But then again, there's nothing safe about Fury Road.

Do You Realise Mad Max: Fury Road Is A Miracle?

Was Miller blackmailing the president of Warner Bros. or something? Did he find a genie? Because those are the only two reasonable solutions for why Fury Road got made now, which, by the way, is yet another miracle. Reportedly, Miller has been working on Fury Road since 1998 and very nearly got it made on several occasions. At first Mel Gibson was going to reprise the role of Max, which would have been a disaster, because Gibson is an anti-Semitic loon. Then it was going to be a a 3D CG animated movie, which probably would have been lame and looked terrible, and even if it was good wouldn't have been nearly as good as the movie we eventually got.

Ignoring the fact that most films that languish that long in development hell never, ever, ever get made anyways, so many random things had to happen to prevent us from getting an earlier, crappier version of Fury Road. The movie had to be thwarted, over and over again, for nearly 20 years so we could get this version of Fury Road — so Miller would have this specific idea, so the studio would give him that much money, that for god knows what reason the executives didn't interfere with Miller's vision, and that Gibson wasn't involved.

So I'll say it again — Mad Max: Fury Road shouldn't exist. It shouldn't have been possible. It certainly wasn't plausible. Hollywood executives are paid to prevent this sort of potential disaster from ever happening. And yet somehow, one 70-year-old man who had been stuck directing children's movies for two decades took a somewhat beloved franchise from the '80s and not only made one of the most badass movies of all time, but also created a legitimate masterpiece of the action genre.

If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.


Comments

    "Gibson is an anti-Semitic loon" - guy speaks him mind on few things and everyone jumps on him calling names ... freedom of speech much?

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/COPIrWoWsAARdYH.jpg

      I don't really think it's a Freedom of Speech issue so much as just a moronically pointless ad hominem.
      One crazy, drunken rant and now he's branded as Hitler for all time.

      I personally think Gibson is a bit of a crusty, crazy old bastard now who's well and truly gone to seed, but those traits would just make him even more awesome in Mad Max. He definitely SHOULD have had Hardy's role in the film. It would have suited him fine. That character IS Gibson.

      But, Fury Road was an absolutely excellent movie as it was.

        Uhuh, and the fact that Gibson's father is a published holocaust denier is merely a coincidence, right?

          It's irrelevant. We can't judge people for the moronic idiocy of their parents.

      You know who also spoke his mind on a few things? Adolf Hitler. Freedom speech does not mean he is immune from criticism.

      People jumped on him because he spouted idiotic hatred with no basis in reality akin to the things you hear from your average UPF member

      Last edited 02/03/16 11:56 pm

    Freedom of speech goes both ways. It may allow Mr Gibson to speak his mind, but it also allows those responding to do the same.

    Maybe Miller was the cocaine dealer to the Executives

      Getting high on his own supply WOULD explain thunderdome...

      And Tina turner's hair.

        I'm pretty sure it was Tina Turner's supply that accounted for her hair.

    Here! Here! This entire article. I am now more in awe of Fury Road now that it has been spelled out to me exactly how unlikely it was that this movie was made.

    Good read!

    I spent the first couple of minutes going wtf is going on and yet none of it mattered because holy shit was that movie one of the greatest visual and audio experiences I have ever experienced. That said, it is indeed mind blowing understanding just how the film even exists in the first place.

    This is a great essay. I agree with everything you say, but I take exception to one thing. You describe Max as being the sidekick in his own film. It was certainly surprising to see Furiosa be the larger role, but Max is hardly a sidekick. All three Mad Max sequels have had a rootless Max, his revenge complete, wandering aimlessly alone in the desert, just surviving, when he gets swept up in the politics of the tribes who live in the wasteland. So in that sense, Fury Road does follow from Road Warrior and Thunderdome. I enjoyed reading your essay—it got me all excited about Fury Road again.

    Ok freedom of speech....

    Enough with the mad max masturbation sessions. It's a movie and in my 2c opinion (hey free speech) not a very good one. No plot, worst cgi in a while and just generally boring so yes its your site and yes freedom of speech allows you to rag on about it to your hearts content but its not news, its not tech news and there have been more than enough articles now on it so time to move on.

    This was a great article.

    As a comment on Mel Gibson though. He can be a raving lunatic but he still would have been a good choice for the role, I think it would have actually made more sense to have him instead of Hardy as its set after the events of the previous Mad Max movies, he is meant to be older and more damaged and the focus is really on Furiosa.

    Off topic. Imagine handing over direction of Fury Road to Brett Ratner. It would have been a disaster, he and his sycophantic script writers absolutely destroyed XMen 3.

    I love this movie and don't want rain on your parade but there's just one problem with the whole premise for this article, and that is; George Miller owned the film rights to Mad Max not Warner Bros.

    Yes, still a huge risk for Warner to put the money up but Miller was holding the cards and said this is how its going to be, take it or leave it.

    Interesting article from 2002!;
    http://variety.com/2002/film/markets-festivals/mel-s-big-max-attack-1117877202/

    Last edited 01/04/16 6:20 am

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now