George Miller released Mad Max in 1979 and with Mad Max: Fury Road one day under a month away from release, it seems like now may be a good time to analyze it. The first film in the franchise that I saw was The Road Warrior and having been a little child then and used to the creativity used with little budgets as shown in Batman Returns, I really appreciated what little I saw. The Road Warrior was a very creative film and as much as I'd love to analyze it, I'm going down to the very first one which was released about 36 years ago.
Post-apocalyptic fiction has been around for a long, long time now. Hell, Norse mythology was post-apocalyptic fiction with Fenrir and all and up until Mad Max's release, The Planet of the Apes was the premiere entrant in the genre. A large part of the first film comes from Miller's tenure working at a hospital in Australia. Now bear in mind, the upcoming film is an American film but Mad Max, had it been released today, would have been considered an indie film. This is because at a budget of $400 000 in Australian currency, even forty years ago, this was a small budget. So imagine the minds blown when this film grosses $100,000,000 at the box office, a success even by today's standards. Now add inflation to that.
I'm not going to provide specific examples of how Mad Max has and will continue to influence media and pop-art, but rather keep this brief. The film's unique and relatively simple use of it's budget allowed for focus on character. This is one of the films that places emphasis on character development, even though the protagonist is silent. In spite of the violence and dystopian setting, the entire world in the first film does not seem entirely far fetched (something the sequels threw out the window). Invoking feelings of humanity within us, the film is significant because even though it is post-apocalyptic fantasy, the true apocalypse in the films is the Freudian regression in the villains.