07 agosto 2014

Blast from the Past: Mad Max

It’s “Throwback Thursday.” And today’s Blast from the Past aims sights on Mad Max, cinema’ main post-apoc hero, created by genius filmmaker George Miller and made famous by actor Mel Gibson, in late 70’s to mid 80’s.

Anyone that knows me well knows I’m an über-fan of these movies, and a bit of a freak for dystopian fiction. It’s even weirder when I think on how young I was when my tastes were seeded. I recall my first encounter with Max was just prior to Beyond Thunderdome’s – the trilogy closing chapter – release at the cinema, through a pocket calendar with its engaging poster artwork, by illustrator Richard Amsel (in his last work before passing, in late 1985). I traded it for a comic-book with a kid at kindergarten. The curiosity in the pre-internet years lingered on and I finally rented the movie a couple of years later, at a local VHS club. And rented it, and rented it again, to the point of despairing my parents; even the owner was getting complaints from other clients, who wanted access to it! At that time, I already used to go to the movies by myself, but Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome stroke a cord with me and engaged my imagination and fears like none other. Mel Gibson was the epitome of cool, and Max, a reluctant hero I could appreciate.

Sometime later, in my pre-teens, I was playing outside one afternoon when my mother surprised me with the VHS for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior… Shut. Up. You mean, there are more of these!? I didn’t know and couldn’t believe! I was elated, hyper and couldn’t wait to see it! I held the VHS in my hands, seeing how deteriorated and used up it was, and felt cheated...! Ogling at the cover, I tried to fathom from it what the movie was about and if it took place before or after the events of MMBT. Times were different then, so you can imagine, those who’ve seen it, how much of a shock it was for a nine or ten year-old to sit through The Road Warrior’s violence, psych warfare and sheer tension – it just threw me into the wasteland world of Max for a couple of hours, that seemed much longer.

Regardless, I was hooked. I later saw the original Mad Max (over here, titled Mad Max: The Motorcycles of Death – hah!), which I began appreciating more as years passed. As soon as I could, I taped all three on VHS and usually watched them 5-6 times a year, a ritual I maintain to this day, making the trilogy – mainly, TRW and MMBT – something I’ve enjoyed over a hundred times.

I won’t go into details, but it’s had a profound influence in me, from daring a kid to reenact a bicycle version of the Hawk-Dove/Playing “Chicken” scene from Mad Max’s epic Night Rider chance (which went horribly wrong, when we both swerved to the same side...); to creating a DIY functioning wrist crossbow, from Road Warrior; and, to my shame, growing a long mullet that reached half of my torso, as Max sported in Beyond Thunderdome, about which I also once wrote an analysis essay. These movies nurtured my longing for open, vacant ranges and also influenced me creatively, even leading to discovering Russell Hoban’s epic Riddley Walker novel, to which I dedicated my studio/publisher seal’s namesake – but those are stories for a different time.

And now, after YEARS of high hopes and shattered expectations, a 4th Mad Max movie is finally upon us – Mad Max: Fury Road, by George Miller, and featuring Tom Hardy in the title role!
I’m both fearful it will undo what came before and eager to bask in it. Still, I’ve played this movie in my head so many times already, and with so many variations, it’ll have a hard time entertaining me at all; but the apocalypse can come upon us after I see it and I’ll die a happy guy.

As they say, “2015 belongs to the Mad!”

(Dada a extensão deste ‘post, não farei versão portuguesa do texto)

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