May 15, 2015 | 12:07 p.m.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is revving into theaters this weekend, accompanied by rave reviews and high box office predictions. But when the original “Mad Max” film arrived in the U.S. in 1980, film critic Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it “a textbook example of how not to make a film.” Champlin criticized nearly everything about the movie, including young lead Mel Gibson (“boyishly bland”), the villains (“indistinguishable vrooming beings”), the set, the supporting characters and the “inappropriate” soundtrack. “You are left with a lot of burnt rubber and bent metal and little evidence of creative imagination,” Champlin wrote. Champlin certainly wasn’t the only critic who wasn’t impressed by George Miller’s low-budget, post-apocalyptic action flick. The New York Times’ Tom Buckley criticized its “flimsy” plot and said the film was “ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at […]
May 14, 2015 | 1:33 p.m.
With “Mad Max: Fury Road” crashing into theaters Thursday evening, this week’s Throwback Thursday column recalls the first installment in the “Mad Max” series. Australian director George Miller’s dystopian tale starred Aussie actor Mel Gibson as protagonist Max Rockatansky, a widower on a quest for vengeance, and introduced the young actor to an international audience. “Mad Max” made its debut Down Under on April 12, 1979; American audiences had to wait until May 2, 1980. Though critics were split, public reception was positive and the film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide and earned a nomination for best original screenplay (by Miller and James McCausland) from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The film was also nominated for best film and direction and won for editing, original music score and sound. Not everyone was impressed. Los Angeles Times movie […]
April 24, 2015 | 8:30 a.m.
AUSTIN, Texas — The three films in the “Mad Max” trilogy have always felt like primal epics, as if they were fables handed down for generations by word of mouth. Former police patrolman Max Rockatansky, who lost his family at the hands of a marauding motorcycle gang, drives the wasteland on the run from everyone, perhaps most of all himself. The first two films, “Mad Max” and “The Road Warrior,” helped make an international superstar of Mel Gibson and announced Australian filmmaker George Miller, onetime emergency room doctor turned high-impact visionary, as a force to be reckoned with. Thirty years after the third film, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Miller is unveiling a new Max and a world he describes as “uniquely familiar” with “Mad Max: Fury Road.” FULL COVERAGE: Summer Movie Sneaks Max is now played by Tom Hardy, best known […]
July 08, 2014 | 12:19 p.m.
Peter Jackson is leaving Middle-earth long enough to stop by Comic-Con International in San Diego. The Oscar-winning filmmaker will appear in the pop-culture expo’s grandest arena, Hall H, to tout the Dec. 17 release of the final chapter of his second J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Warner Bros. announced Tuesday. As you might have judged from the more-dramatic-than-“There and Back Again” title, it promises to be the most action-packed of the “Hobbit” films, with the Benedict Cumberbatch-voiced dragon Smaug on the loose, and Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen’s Gandalf caught up in a multi-way struggle for the treasure of Erebor. That presentation, scheduled for July 26 at 10 a.m., also includes more from the studio’s upcoming slate. Postapocalyptic visionary director George Miller will show the crowd an early look at “Mad Max: […]
June 12, 2013 | 6:30 p.m.
Among the slate of games announced during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week is “Mad Max,” an post-apocalyptic action game inspired by — you guessed it — the Mel Gibson-starring “Mad Max” movie franchise. The open-world video game, from publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developer Avalanche Studios, will cast players as the road warrior, fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland while facing vicious bandits, desert terrain and hostile weather. “The Wasteland lends itself incredibly well to the high level of player freedom,” Avalanche Studios cofounder and chief creative officer Christofer Sundberg said in a news release. “This unforgiving environment inspired us to create a gritty and diverse experience where driving, fighting and scavenging are essential for survival.” PHOTOS: Scenes from E3 2013 Driving, indeed. The theft of Max’s iconic yellow car Interceptor is the catalyst for much […]
Feb. 06, 2012 | 4:48 p.m.
Reserved and reflective, Mel Gibson came to the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood to celebrate the legacy of his “Mad Max” films but, of course, the 56-year-old star’s recent career calamities were the silent passenger that accompanied him during the trip down memory lane. Thirty-three years have passed since “Mad Max” exploded on the scene with a high concept and a low budget (about $400,000) and began the minting of an international movie star. Sitting in the dark with the time-capsule moment, Gibson found it hard to recognize his 21-year-old self up on the screen. “I thought,” he said, “it was one of my kids.” Above, you can watch the full video from the American Cinematheque event where I interviewed Gibson about the career-launching franchise and you’ll hear that the conversation veered off at times to his filmmaking future, the TMZ era and the emotional wear and tear of recent seasons. There […]
Dec. 21, 2011 | 1:51 p.m.
Mel Gibson is going back into the Thunderdome of public opinion. The actor, filmmaker and polarizing persona will appear onstage on Jan. 21 for a “Mad Max” triple feature at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Gibson will sit for a Q&A at the American Cinematheque event that will include screenings of “Mad Max,” “The Road Warrior” and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” the post-apocalyptic action trilogy that helped launch Gibson’s star in America. The films were directed by George Miller (the third one had George Ogilvie as co-director) and he has plans now to return to the brand with a fourth film, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” this time starring British actor Tom Hardy, who is also playing the villain Bane in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” For Gibson, who turns 56 next month, the event is a way to focus on his silver-screen glory. But […]