A little more than 33 years ago (i.e., March or April of ’82) I attended a small press screening of George Miller‘s The Road Warrior. Ten or twelve journos, if that. At the old Warner Bros. screening room on 51st near 6th, a block from Rockefeller Center. My reaction was basically “holy shit.” Not just rousing and crafty, I told myself, but phenomenal, epochal. The first classy, clever, nonexploitational post-apocalyptic action flick I’d ever seen (the original Mad Max wouldn’t open until later), and certainly the first with a pitch-black, fuck-all sense of humor about itself, “the wasteland”, the gas crises of the ’70s…everything. And certainly the first to feature a gang of gay, leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding marauders. Something new, amazing…”Apocalypse Pow!,” as Richard Corliss wrote. And what a shot of adrenaline for Mel Gibson — a rising light in the spring of ’82 (costar of Peter Weir‘s Gallipoli, star of Weir’s then-upcoming The Year of Living Dangerously) but now, suddenly, a major action star.
I’ve been thinking about that ’82 screening because earlier today I saw Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, this time at the current Warner Bros. screening room on West 53rd near 7th Avenue. In glorious 2D. I can’t say anything until next Tuesday afternoon (specifically noontime Pacific) but I can at least say that I plan on seeing it again in Cannes. I hope that legendary dp Vittorio Storaro intends to see it soon also, as I haven’t seen a major film with such beautiful, oddly glowing desert hues since Storaro’s The Sheltering Sky (’90).