Prey, the new Predator prequel coming to Disney+, features a scene-stealing dog inspired by Mad Max: The Road Warrior’s trusty companion.
Canine sidekicks are a long-running tradition in movies, whether it’s Turner and Hooch, John Wick’s pitbull, Samantha in I Am Legend, Dug in Up, or Toto in The Wizard of Oz. We cheer and fear for them more than anyone else.
Max Rockatansky’s blue-heeler, known only as “Dog,” was a tragic highlight of The Road Warrior. Tom Hardy, who later played the titular role in Fury Road, once cited the pet as what “connected” him to the original trilogy.
While there’s no Australian cattle dog in Prey, it does star a “rambunctious, high-energy” American Dingo named Coco, inspired by Max’s famous pooch.
Prey director reveals dog in Predator prequel was inspired by Mad Max
Prey follows Naru (Legion’s Amber Midthunder), an aspiring hunter and expert tracker in the Comanche Nation. Alongside her dog Sarii (Coco), she sets off to find a mysterious beast that’s skinned snakes alive and left buffalo carcasses in its wake. Is it a lion, or a bear? No, it’s a Predator.
In an interview with Dexerto ahead of the film’s release on Disney+, director Dan Trachtenberg (of 10 Cloverfield Lane and Portal: Still Alive fame) and Midthunder spoke about their hectic experiences with Coco on set.
Describing Coco, Trachtenberg said: “Super rambunctious. Very energetic. Always a nail-biting moment for us on set, ‘Is Coco gonna like, make her mark and do what she needs to do?’ It was sometimes a journey to get there, but eventually she always did. It was very exciting, lots of cheers would happen when we finally got a great take with Coco.”
He then revealed Road Warrior to be a “big inspiration for having a badass and their dog… I love having there be this buddy relationship with this creature, with another animal, amidst a Predator film.”
Max Rockatansky first encounters Dinki-Di as a trained combat dog owned by Scabrous Scrotus, who brings him along during raids. However, after the combat dog is ordered to attack Max and fails to stop the Road Warrior, it is brutally kicked off the Landmover by Scrotus as punishment. After Max reawakens from the fight with the warlord, the dog chooses to stay with him. Moments later, he is captured by Chumbucket (who intends to eat him), but after the blackfinger is threatened by Max (and recognizes him as the “Saint” sent by the The Angel of Combustion, he frees him, cures his wounded leg and gives him the name “Dinki-Di” (due to the fact that the only dog Chumbucket had ever seen was the one on the “Dinki-Di Dog Food” tin cans), growing very affectionate towards him.
The ground-facing shot of Max on the gyro copter being flown to safety after his accident was done with Gibson lying on a plank secured out the door of a Jet Ranger helicopter. “Thatd be a green screen if you did it again today,” says Semler. Miller agrees, saying that these days they wouldnt have gotten dirty because digital work means they wouldnt have been in the middle of the action.
The Japanese manga and animé series Fist of the North Star (1984) was heavily influenced by this movie. You can see the same setting, and the same aesthetics, dresses, and looks for the characters. The similarities dont end there, in the first episode of Fist of the North Star (1984), the main character Kenshiro stumbles upon a fortified village inhabited by good people hassled by outlaws. Furthermore, the first main villain in Fist of the North Star (1984) resembles the Mad Max 2 character Zetta, and is even called “Zeta”.
During the scene after Max has been forced off the road and left for dead by Wez, Max is seen dragging himself along the ground due to his injuries as Brian Mays music is heard. This scene reflects another scene from Mad Max (1979), after Max has been ambushed by The Toecutter and Bubba Zanetti, and left for dead as he drags himself to his car to give pursuit. For the sequel, composer Brian May re-uses the same score of the scene mentioned in the original film. Only now, it is composed with a much slower tempo, and with a more melancholy feel to it.
Although set in the post-apocalyptic Australian Outback, this film is generally considered by film scholars to fit the “western” (that is, American Old West) archetype. The films tale of a community of settlers moved to defend themselves against a roving band of marauders, follows a western frontier movie motif, as does Maxs role as a hardened man, who rediscovers his humanity when he decides to help the settlers. The costuming is even similar to a traditional western, as the “good guys” wear conservative, mostly white clothing, while the “bad guys” wear more aggressive black costumes. The main exceptions to this are Max (the anti-hero, who wears most of his black police leathers from the first film), the gyro-pilot (who wears mostly yellow, to indicate his status as a cowardly character through most of the film), and the Feral Kid (who wears skins and furs, indicating his feral nature).
Originally, this was the conclusion of the “Mad Max” story, which Maxs fate would never had been revealed, and George Miller, Terry Hayes, and Byron Kennedy had no intentions of making a third installment. However, George Miller had planned to make a post-apocalyptic “Lord of the Flies” film, about a tribe of children living in the wild, who are found by an adult. When Miller was suggested that Mad Max is the adult who finds the children, it became Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).
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