All the Mad Max Movies and Australians & Hollywood Exhibition Arrive | Canberra time

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Mad Max (1979), a film made during the Australian cinema revival of the 1970s, could have seen an unlikely international blockbuster. Its lead actor was an unknown American-born and there were no big names in the cast. Its director and co-writer, George Miller, was a former doctor making his film debut with a violent, low-budget post-apocalyptic action film, often filmed in a guerrilla style. But the dystopian Mad Max, starring Mel Gibson as Highway Patrol Constable Max Rockatansky, who goes on a revenge spree against the bikers who killed his family, has become a huge international hit. Both Miller and Gibson went on to great careers in Hollywood. Miller’s later films included Lorenzo’s Oil, The Witches of Eastwick, Babe, and the two animated features Happy Feet. Gibson has enjoyed success on both sides of the camera, starring in such films as the Lethal Weapon series and directing and starring in the Oscar-winning Braveheart. The original film was followed by Mad Max 2 (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – both starring Gibson – and a “revisit”, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) starring Tom Hardy. Although oil is a scarce resource in this world, there was still plenty of noise in revved-up vehicles – do what you want with them. The four films will screen at the National Film and Sound Archive’s Arc Cinema to coincide with the Australians & Hollywood Exhibition, a Canberra-only show celebrating contemporary Australian films which opens on January 21. Among the exhibits are custom steering wheels from Mad Max: Fury Road. Mad Max, as noted, launched the franchise. Although it might be considered Ozploitation compared to its contemporary Australian films such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and Breaker Morant, its high energy, stunts and distinctive vehicles and costumes made it a big popular hit. The dialogue was originally dubbed by Americans for the American market, with unfamiliar slang replaced, but the action spoke a universal language. Max Max 2: The Road Warrior was also a big hit and, with a much bigger budget, bolstered the elements that made its predecessor a success – action, stunts, distinctive visuals – while retaining a gritty feel. The story, with settlers fighting off marauders, was reminiscent of a Western. This is perhaps the highlight of the series. In Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Max encounters Bartertown, led by Aunty Entity (Tina Turner, who sings We Don’t Need Another Hero on the soundtrack) and is forced to duel in the Thunderdome with Master (a dwarf) and his giant bodyguard Blaster. Max, later exiled and wandering again, comes across another village, this time of children and teenagers. It had a much higher budget than its predecessors but was criticized in some quarters – Max spent less time in the Wasteland and some elements, such as the children’s story, were seen as derivative. Miller returned to the franchise with Mad Max: Fury Road (the Black and Chrome edition of which premieres January 23). Although Hardy replaced Gibson and the budget was huge – well over $300 million – it felt like a throwback to the early films. Mad Max: Fury Road has won numerous awards including six Oscars. And there will be more: Miller has a Furiosa origin story and another Mad Max tale in the works. For more information on Australians & Hollywood and Mad Max screenings, visit nfsa.gov.au.

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