Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hot Rod Apocalypse

In the future there will be... hot rods.

I fulfilled a years' long dream yesterday and watched Mad Max. Not to see the film itself, which made a huge impression in my early teens, but to hear the original performances. When Mad Max was released in the US, distributors thought the Australian accents were too thick and overdubbed all the actors with voices straight out of Super Friends. Really ridiculous voices. Mel Gibson has never sounded more like an animated monkey in his entire career.

If you've seen Mad Max, you know what a disastrous effect the overdubs have. So, it was my dream to hear the film as it was meant to be heard. In 2001 a special edition dvd was released that includes the Australian version, and only yesterday, nearly a decade later, I finally got around to watching it.

I'm not a leather fetish kind of guy, but there is plenty here for anybody who likes it. Also, there are hot rods, and how.

Mad Max is the first post-apocalyptic western. Instead of horses everybody rides a hog or a hot rod. There may not be enough food, fuel or love to go around, but when it comes to highways there is an embarrassment of riches. This is like a high-octane predecessor to Cormac McCarthy; an alternate title could have been The Roads.

Anyone with even a passing interest in hot rods (me, for instance) can feel the love. Cops roar around in MFP V-8 Interceptors with genius paint jobs. Seriously, I want to paint my car yellow and stripe it in blue, white and red -because it looks so damn awesome. Of course, if I carry it further and drive like post-apocalyptic police do, I'll be serving a life sentence at San Quentin in no time. Those suckers really tear up the landscape.

Sadly, everyone in the future seems to live on the shoulders of the highway. Parents have also lost all control of their toddlers. How else can you explain the wee ones toddling down the center of the road when it is most inconvenient? There's got to be a better time to let infants play in the road than when bandits are about with jet-powered cars. To their credit, cops and baddies alike have excellent skills and never hit a single baby. Caravans, on the other hand, are open game: we see no less than two totally demolished within the first ten minutes of Mad Max.

As for hearing it properly, I can't say there is a profound difference from what I remember. How distributors ever concluded that the accents were too thick is beyond me. It isn't like they're speaking English as a fifth language. The only plausible explanation is envy, pure and simple. Yanks have a knee-jerk opposition to anyone who speaks English with more flavor than we do.

It doesn't help when their hot rods are more yellow than ours, either.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I saw this movie for the first time about a year ago and loved every moment of it. Probably because Mel was studly and hadn't yet become a bitter drunk yet. It wasn't dubbed when I saw it but now I want to see it that way.