[Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445) looks set to be the most successful reinvention in Hollywood history. The way its style looks new and inspired, while still being indebted to its source material. The way it's brave enough to evolve a franchise with an image that's been burned into a public consciousness for over thirty years! The way it's a modern reboot/sequel that's actually MORE colourful than it's 80s counterpart. Everything about Fury Road smashes through the odds, on course to be one of the best surprises of 2015.
The Mad Max films have always benefitted with each changing and elaborating upon the last one. The first film is a grim and dour near apocalypse, the second is a campy yet still edgy romp, while the third one has Tina Turner, so yeah. You come to realise that, at four films, Mad Max is building a diverse and interesting world. If Mad Max: Fury Road performs well, we could be seeing a Mad Max 2 motoring over the horizon in the future.
With Fury Road so clearly showing how the Mad Max aesthetic can be updated and inventively adapted, it's worth asking what elements from the older films could too be brought to modern screens. Let's go through some things we hope Tom Hardy might get to encounter in Mad Max 2!
Lord Humungous and the Marauders
Yeah this is the obvious choice. These are the villains that defined the visual conception of Mad Max for years. Lord Humungous and the Marauders are a band of scumbags who roam the wasteland, and use their superior vehicular power to bully other survivors out of their resources. Oh, and they wear bondage gear and ass-less chaps for some reason. These guys are the reason post apocalypse became a fashion influence. Their best scene is when Lord Humungous, who literally only wears speedos and a metal mask, tells a sanctuary for survivors to "just walk away!"
How would these guys shape up if they were brought back for Mad Max 2? I mean not the Mad Max 2 they appeared in but the Mad Max 2 that doesn't exist yet. Dammit internet! Immortan Joe and The War Boys from Fury Road are a similar concept, but reek more of depraved mutants than a band of lurid punks taking what ain't theirs. The Marauders certainly pose a degree of silliness that could be brought back for the modern films, and I say that knowing that Fury Road is a film with shots like THIS...
And while I love the idea that, the moment the apocalypse goes down, Australia becomes akin to a sex dungeon, there is something troublesome about making the main villains a group of explicitly sexualised men. Of course, homoerotic imagery doesn't denote villainy if you're smart and a decent person, and sexual deviancy painted as monstrous can even be a source of power and liberation IF it's done right. Whether George Miller can consciously replicate his unconscious brilliance, that will have to wait till Mad Max 2. The other one! Dammit!
The Oasis Children
This is where I likely depart from many other Mad Max fans. A lot of people hate these kids, and see them as symbolic of the American tinge that Beyond Thunderdome had to go through. But even though the oasis children add an air of whimsey that seems slightly out of place for Mad Max, they're still a brilliant part of a sparsely detailed post-apocalypse. If a series is scared to change and adapt, then it doesn't deserve to be a series, and these kids are testament to that.
A post apocalypse is always most tense when those most vulnerable guide the action. Perhaps including characters analogous to these children in the next film would further stress the ruthless nature of the world these films take place in. The Oasis children also have an amazing way of talking that reflects what would happen to language if it was guided by naive orphans. I for one would welcome them back to a sequel.
Bartatown and Thunderdome
Okay, so another obvious choice. Bartatown is the closest thing to civilisation in the Mad Max films. It's powered by pigs and people sell radioactive water so that isn't saying much. Fury Road appears to take place in the most desolate unforgiving corner of Australia, and that is saying a lot. In Mad Max 2, the barren wasteland could be made to feel all the more barren with that scrap of a settlement to cling on to.
Thunderdome really doesn't appear in Mad Max 3 all that much, but it's fun to say. It's just the way Tina Turner makes men settle their differences in the movie (and hopefully in real life). Bringing Thunderdome back to future Mad Max productions might border on pandering, or worse, scraping ideas. A brief reference would be cool, just to indicate that Mad Max takes place in vibrant and functioning world.
Max Max: Fury Road may be set to reinvent the entire brand and revolutionise a post-apocalyptic aesthetic, but it should know what it owes to the older films. That's especially true if it ends like this... (hopefully)