I was watching the BluRay edition of the recent (and excellent) Mad Max: Fury Road movie that I had also enjoyed at the movie theater when it first came out and I couldn’t help but notice the many similarities between the Mad Max universe, in both the original movies (mostly Mad Max 2 & 3) and the new rebooted one, and the Arena concept from the 1984 Duran Duran live album and the subsequent videos for the songs Wild Boys, Is There Something I Should Know, Union of the Snake and the 2004 DVD release of the full conceptual exercise.
To begin with we have the whole wardrobe thing. In Wild Boys, a song which Duran Duran have admitted openly to have based themselves on the 1971 novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead by William S.Burroughs, the former boys band wear torn leather jackets, they have children that live up on elevated platforms, with chains, the children wear clothes similar to the tribes in Mad Max.
Yes the video for Wild Boys came out in 1984 while the first Mad Max (Road Warrior) was released in 1979 but the more popular Mad Max movies, 2 & 3 came out later, in 1981 and then 1985.
Duran Duran and their video creation team clearly took a page from the Mad Max book to create the whole concept but let’s look at it a bit deeper.
The original Mad Max movie didn’t have the War Boys, in fact it was a whole different movie based on an entirely different universe with different sets of rules than the ones from the Mad Max 2 and 3 movies, but the new Fury Road does and they look like this:
Look familiar? They should, here’s what the Wild Boys look like in the Wild Boys video:
The wardrobe is also incredibly familiar, with the British art school band wearing similar clothes to the ones worn by Mel Gibson and company in the second Mad Max movie, and by Tom Hardy’s fellows in the latest one, Fury Road.
They even reference Durand Durand, the bad guy from Barbarella, who was known to walk around on stilts to make himself look taller. This was meant as a poke on Napoleon who wasn’t actually short but he was made to look like he was by his enemies to ridicule him.
Here’s a screenshot from Fury Road:
Look ma! Stilts!
Finally another thing I noticed is that in the lyrics to The Wild Boys, Duran Duran chant: “Wild Boys always shine!”
Above a screenshot from Fury Road, with a War Boy shooting himself chrome paint in the mouth to prepare for a heroic death and access to “Valhalla!” Coincidence or just excellent marketing?
Do you think Duran Duran’s Arena universe influenced Mad Max or was it the other way around?