Australian director George Miller made film history with cult favorite "Mad Max" and its global hit follow-up, "The Road Warrior." Now, 30 years after the release of "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome," Miller returns to his roots with a new chapter in the saga — and a master class for modern CGI-soaked blockbusters in how things are supposed to be done.
What did you notice about how the nuts and bolts of filming these kinds of action scenes has changed in the last 30 years?
Well, the essential decision was to go old-school in terms of the events that were happening. There are visual effects in the movie — that big dust storm or stuff like that, or erasing the wires that kept everyone safe — but it was metal on metal, human on human, and often the main cast in apparent jeopardy. That makes sense because it's a film that doesn't defy the laws of physics, there's no flying men or spacecraft or anything magical. It's very rooted in the earth and reality. And shooting in continuity and putting everyone in an extreme slow motion version of what really happens — except people didn't get shot or anything like that — but it was them driving across a big expanse of desert being chased by an armada of vehicles.
Having said that, for instance, film language has evolved in those 30 years, audiences have evolved, storytelling has evolved. And working with digital cameras, you can put them anywhere. If you smash one — and we smashed several — it wasn't very costly because you go to the local airport and buy another one for $2,000 and so on. But most of all, when I did "Road Warrior" we had no video split, so we'd wait a week to see dailies because we'd have to go to Sydney to get them developed. And now I was watching not only the camera live while pretty kinetic action was happening, but also I was watching several cameras. Often I'd sit in a van traveling along with a bank of almost live cameras. None of that was available three decades ago.