Archive for April 10th, 2009

10
Apr
09

The 30th of anniversary mad max

and a pic of GeorgeThis Sunday April the 12th will mark the 30th anniversary of the Australian theatrical release of Mad Max. Australia and a good part of Europe were calling it a masterpiece during it’s initial run, and it was over a year old before it hit the states. I was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg’s TV movie Duel, and from the trailer this one looked just as good!! I went on opening weekend and was amazed at what I saw on the screen,, Unbelievable action and horrific violence wrapped around a love story hidden in the middle, The camera work was unlike anything I had ever seen and I remember that awesome score by Brian May, I went out and bought the LP (Thats a long playing record for those that don’t know) right after I saw the movie. It was a film that hung in my mind for several days after I saw it, and I wanted to go and see it again but it’s run was exceptionally short and It was not until a re-release a year or so  later that I got to see it again. I so loved this low budget film but I remember the actors had the worst voices I had ever heard,,, It seemed like they were dubbed but the lips were speaking in English. It sounded like all the voices were from the old Bullwinkle cartoons,, Just awful and it was worse the second time… As much as liked the movie that sound really turned me off. Race forward a couple  of years to 1982. 82, was probably the greatest summer of movies ever to come out all in one season!!!! There was Conan, ET, Poltergeist, Star Trek II, Tron, Bladerunner, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and a little movie called “The Road Warrior”. The RW had a really bad poster and not a single trailer in the theater. just from the initial look of this one it didn’t make the must see cut. One night we were out of new movies to see and it came down to the flipping of a coin to see what we would see that night, A 3D movie on TV or Road Warrior.  Well reluctantly the Road Warrior won the toss so we went to surprisingly a full house. The lights went down, and the movie started. A sepia toned/ montage started with a gravely narration describing  an end of the world story!!! a few minutes into this sequence I saw some familiar images from Mad Max. I thought WOW somebody bought some scenes from M.M. to put in their movie to go a long with the old news footage. The Max clips were getting more promionate and the narrator started talking about MAX!!! I screamed it’s a SEQUEL TO MAD MAX!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. (This is a story all of it’s own and I’ll save it until another time) but after the show I had to see the original again. Videos were just starting to come out and I found a copy and took it home,,, AHHHH those horrible voices ruined the movie again. Some time later there was a TV host talking about the summer’s films and he was talking about The Max films and made the point of bringing up the fact that the Original Mad Max had been dubbed with American voices so as to get rid of the heavy Australian accents. He said the reason was because the US distributors felt that the American Audience wouldn’t be able to understand the dialog!!! It took 25 years to finally get a copy of the film with the dubbing removed and that made the movie a masterpiece on all levels. What I liked most about this film was the story of the producer and Director team of Byron Kennedy, and George Miller. Miller was actually a DR. who happened to have a fascination with movies. The two men met, I believe in film school and they together made a film called “Violence in the cinema part one”. I saw a copy of this one many years ago and it certainly shows the talents of these two in their early days. Bitten by the bug George put more focus into films than his medical practice and in 1979 Kennedy and Miller made and released Mad Max. George has an incredible style of working his camera and setting intense scenes and emotions just by his visuals. I was a big fan right from the start and  his work was one of the strongest inspirations for me and my wanting to work in the movies. If you follow his career you’ll see he has an unmatched talent for very emotional story telling using his camera as an artist would with paint and a canvas. Not only a director but a writer and producer as well. I started working at Apogee VFX in 1985 and Thunderdome had just come out, and I was a fan of this one too. I missed the Brian May score and overall it felt different from George’s earlier work.. I found out later his great friend Byron had passed away in helicopter accident and the story was that George had a difficult time due to the loss. He brought on a co-director named George Ogalvie to help with the directorial duties. What I liked most with Thunderdome was the understory that there is hope and a future despite the fact that the world we know now has been lost to nuclear devastation!!! While working at Apogee I heard that George Miller was going to direct a film called “The Witches of Eastwick” and that he was going to tour our facility as a possible FX house. I ran out, bought the book and read it that night. For the next couple of days I made notes on what I thought he would be trying visualize as an effect. I thought that it would have to be the elaborate Lennox Mansion so I drew up two sketches detailing the descriptions from the book. I had them all ready and then the day came when Mr. Miller came thru the model shop. He stopped at every desk and said hi to the modelers and when he got to mine. he put out his hand and we talked for a few minutes. He was extremely gracious and complimentary to what everyone was doing. By this point in my Hollywood career all the directors I had met up to this point carried an ego and status of  Arrogance. Mr. Miller on the other hand  was void of this and he treated everyone with honesty and respect. Over the years the studios have really treated Miller badly and He wrote an article once stating that Hollywood mistakes kindness for a weakness and this kills the passion for wanting to make movies here… Being from somewhere else I too see this attitude ever so strongly in Hollywood. Anyways He was rushed out and I forgot to show him the sketches,  ILM got the gig and they did an awesome job with the Mansion shots. Millers work inspires me to this day and I was in the process of being a part of the Mad Max IV art dept. in Africa. The Iraq war began and sadly George’s film got pulled because of the dangers of a foreign location and the call came that they were all closing down and going back to Australia. This was sad news but I hear it is still in the works to start again soon!!! So with that lets end this lengthy diolog with A happy Anniversary to George Miller and see some images from the film and the sketches drawn for both Witches and Mad Max Fury road. Now for the real fun!!! If you are a true Max Fan, here is a site that will give you days of images and great info and faq’s to read. I found this one a few years back and it is the best.

http://www.madmaxmovies.com

Peter Barton put the Mad Max movies site together and he did an awesome job!!! Thanks for sharing your passion for the films Peter….

title art

those awesome low and extremely close angles.

those awesome low and extremely close angles.

the end of the RV

the end of the RV

the pursuit cruiser

the pursuit cruiser

A Miller trademark, Exploding oil drums.

A Miller trademark, Exploding oil drums.

the brutal end to the love story.

the brutal end to the love story.

vengeance gives birth to Mad Max

vengeance gives birth to Mad Max

unbelievable stunts

unbelievable stunts

a great low angle shot

a great low angle shot

 A young Mel Gibson and his co star the interceptor.

A young Mel Gibson and his co star the interceptor.

application drawing for Mad Max IV interview

application drawing for Mad Max IV interview

trek rigs inspired by Max

trek rigs inspired by Max

this is a model I made about 20 years ago also max inspired, wound up being rendered in a Star Wars galaxy trading card.

this is a model I made about 20 years ago also max inspired, wound up being rendered in a Star Wars galaxy trading card.

lennox mansion 1

lennox mansion 1

high view

high view

here is a copy of George’s acomplishments courtesy of IMDB

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004306/

  1. (2011) (pre-production) (producer)
  2. (2006) (producer)
    … aka Happy Feet: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
  3. (1998) (producer)
  4. 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997) (producer)
  5. Video Fool for Love (1996) (producer)
  6. Babe (1995) (producer)
    … aka Babe, the Gallant Pig
  7. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) (producer)
  8. Flirting (1991) (producer)
  9. (1989) TV mini-series (producer)
  10. Dead Calm (1989) (producer)
    … aka Dead Calm: A Voyage Into Fear (USA: poster title)
  11. Fragments of War: The Story of Damien Parer (1988) (TV) (producer)
  12. The Clean Machine (1988) (TV) (producer)
  13. “The Dirtwater Dynasty” (1988) TV mini-series (producer)
  14. The Year My Voice Broke (1987) (producer)
  15. “Vietnam” (1987) TV mini-series (producer)
  16. The Riddle of the Stinson (1987) (TV) (producer)
  17. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) (producer)
    … aka Mad Max 3
    … aka Mad Max III (Philippines: English title)
  18. “Bodyline” (1984) TV mini-series (producer) (unknown episodes)
  19. “The Cowra Breakout” (1984) TV mini-series (producer)
  20. “The Dismissal” (1983) TV mini-series (executive producer)
  21. The Chain Reaction (1980) (associate producer)
    … aka Nuclear Run
  1. (2012) (announced)
  2. Happy Feet 2 (2011) (pre-production)
  3. (2006)
    … aka Happy Feet: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
  4. “HBO First Look” (1 episode, 2006)
    – Happy Feet (2006) TV episode
  5. (1998)
  6. 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997)
  7. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992)
  8. (1987)
  9. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
    … aka Mad Max 3
    … aka Mad Max III (Philippines: English title)
  10. “The Last Bastion” (1984) TV mini-series (co-director)
  11. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) (segment 4)
  12. “The Dismissal” (1983) TV mini-series
  13. Mad Max 2 (1981)
    … aka Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (USA)
    … aka The Road Warrior (USA)
  14. (1979)
  15. Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 (1971)
  1. (2011) (pre-production) (writer)
  2. (2006) (written by)
    … aka Happy Feet: The IMAX Experience (USA: IMAX version)
  3. (1998) (written by)
  4. 40,000 Years of Dreaming (1997) (written by)
  5. Babe (1995) (screenplay)
    … aka Babe, the Gallant Pig
  6. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992) (written by)
  7. (1985) (written by)
    … aka Mad Max 3
    … aka Mad Max III (Philippines: English title)
  8. “The Dismissal” (1983) TV mini-series (writer)
  9. Mad Max 2 (1981) (written by)
    … aka Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (USA)
    … aka The Road Warrior (USA)
  10. (1979) (screenplay) (story)
  11. Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 (1971) (written by)



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