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When I first saw Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, I felt disappointed. It was
letdown from its amazing predecessor. I knew its reputation as an
sequel, but I still realized there was something good about it, something
had never heard from other people's points of view.
It wasn't until some time later when I watched the series a second time that I noticed what it was.
Those who think MMBT is not as exciting as The Road Warrior would be right. But those that think MMBT sucks because it is not as exciting as The Road Warrior would be missing the point. What makes MMBT a worthy sequel is its way of establishing a greater scope of the setting the series takes place in. The dredges of civilization were what set the stage for the series in the original Mad Max. The barren world of desert wastelands and sparse outposts take the idea of a post-apocalyptic world one step further in The Road Warrior. A squalid setting such as Bartertown and an oasis where the tribe of children lived in MMBT once again builds on the elaborate fantasy that makes the series as popular as it is. The final, chilling realization of just what became of civilization in the closing moments of the movie are more than enough explanation as to why the the world the viewer sees in the trilogy is the way it is.
I was too young when I first saw MMBT to understand this. It wouldn't be until I saw it again some time later, with more movie-viewing experience under my belt that I realized that what makes Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome tick is not action set pieces, but a far more subtle approach of atmospheric setting.
Sure it's probably the least good of the Mad Max films, but it is still
entertaining as heck! It is maybe a little more Hollywood (which is a bad
thing) than the first two. The music is overbearing at times, and some of
the attempts at jokes were very cheap and American blockbusterish.
One of the main faults that has to be sited with this one is that the last thirty minutes or so are basically taken straight from The Road Warrior. The car chase and then the speech about how a stranger helped them establish a new society were taken right out of the 2nd installment.
It still is very creative, and the action has a wonderful momentum. I love the whole society that finds Max in the desert. I loved the recitation of their foundation, and I loved their dialect. I loved Masterblaster. And Tina Turner was actually cool, too. 8/10
What the hell happened with this one? I understand that it's the third entry
into an otherwise flawless series and that George Miller didn't put his
whole heart into it (suffering the loss of longtime friend and producer
Byron Kennedy), and that it had two directors, but still...what the hell?
This movie starts out top-notch, and it seems like it's going to be a superb
follow up to the brilliant Road Warrior, and then about halfway through it
turns into friggin' Peter Pan meets Lord of the Flies! Mel Gibson was great
in this film, and working as hard as he could to make it work. Tina Turner
was adequate, but not spectacular. I understand the film maker's intentions
to try and take the series into a completely different direction and all,
but why would you pick this direction? And what was up with that Gyro
Captain guy from Road Warrior being cast as a similar character? Why not
just bring his character back? I don't know, maybe it was the same
character, I really wasn't awake for most of this film. If you want to catch
a top-notch Mad Max film pick up either the first or second, both are far
superior to this one.
I give this one * * 1/2 out of * * * * *
Oh yeah, and what's up with that annoying Ironbar guy not dying? He gets hit by a train, thrown off a bridge, and has his car destroyed with him in it, and yet he still doesn't die!
The first half of this film -- the part with Bartertown, Thunderdome, etc -- is brilliant, not just a repeat of THE ROAD WARRIOR but a totally new concept, thoroughly fleshed out. The second half, with the lost children, isn't as good -- and, more to the point, doesn't quite mesh with the first half, despite Miller's attempts to tie it all together at the end. Still, it's well above average in a genre that has increasingly come to believe (wrongly) that special effects are more important than plot and character.
This movie was much maligned when it came out in 1985, but that was due
to the spectacular qualities of its predecessors, "Mad Max" and "The
Road Warrior." Taken out of comparison with the other two, this movie
is still solid post-apocalyptic fun, but it's lighter and slightly less
violent than "Road Warrior" (as is evidenced by the PG-13 rating.) The
actors' performances are perfectly adequate for the action, and the
chase scenes bear all the hallmarks of Miller's craftsmanship (which
contemporary directors should seriously consider studying and
revitalizing.) You just won't see any arrow-riddled bodies slamming
into the pavement at 60 mph or watch manned motorcycles sucked under
the wheels of a big-rig. This one is about the kids. Think Hook in the
wasteland and that starts to approach it.
If you saw this movie in the theaters 25 years ago and walked out hating it, give it another chance. Just don't see "RW" right beforehand. No reason to hobble your experience with unrealistic expectations.
Who could not love this movie? It's got more imagination than five average postbomb flicks, incredible visual design, enough alternate societies with enough backstory apiece for three more movies (including an aboriginal clan who look like Peter Pan's Lost Boys and speak a dialect you'll be copying for days after you see it), car chases, amazing costumes, one of the most original death-duel sequences ever, Tina Turner, *and* Mel Gibson! I mean, goddamn, what more do you want? I personally want another movie just set in Bartertown AND a movie that follows what happens to Anna Goanna and her clan, and they don't even have to have Mel Gibson in them - that's how rich I think the imaginative depth of this movie is. I like it more every time I see it. Genuinely something special.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) was a travesty. Even though it takes
place in an even bleaker future, the filmmakers decided to line their
pockets even further by making this one "family friendly (i.e.
What made the other films gritty and nihilistic is missing from this film.
Only a few spots but other than that it's just other one of those sequels
that morphed into a more mainstream movie (i.e Robocop 3). Needless to say
I was very disappointed because when I was much younger I was a huge Mad Max
The story takes place years after the events that transpired in part two. Max is content with his life out in the wastelands. But one day, the fates would appear. Someone has robbed him of his caravan and his old souped up vehicle (sadly no longer in running condition). When he recovers he finds that all roads lead to one of the last vestiges of civilization, an arm pit called "Bartertown". Whilst in "Bartertown" Max finds the person who cold cocked him but his unable to do anything about it. So, after a brief scuffle with the local authorities Max is taken to meet the "mayor" of "Bartertown" Aunt Enity (Tina Turner). After a brief display of his talents, Enity and Max strike a deal....
Like the other films, the world of Pro Wrestling has taken several themes and characters from this movie (i.e. The Thunderdome and The Master Blasters, etc..). Many knock-offs and wannabes have spawn off of this one as well. It even started up a sub-genre, children living in a post-apocalyptic society films. Not a bad film but die-hards of the first two will be disappointed.
When he is attacked and robbed of his animals, Max Rockatansky follows
his attackers to Bartertown a den of deceit and violence that is made
possible thanks to the methane power source from pigs kept underground.
Bartertown may be ruled above ground by Aunty Entity but the real owner
is Master Blaster a team of two men who control the power supply. In
exchange for his goods, Aunty offers Max a deal where he will challenge
Blaster to a fight in the town's duelling arena and kill him thus
removing the muscle and putting Master under Aunty's control. Max
accepts, although he rightly suspects that he will be the next to be
At least one reviewer on this site has said that the reason people dislike this film is because it is about the start of a new world whereas the other two Mad Max films were about the end of the world as we know it. Sadly I believe he is mistaken because I think the reason people dislike this film is because it is messy, excessive, unconvincing (even within the apocalyptic situation it makes no sense) and just isn't really any good. The plot swings between an excessive violent society at the start, to a child colony in the middle to a big noisy chase scene right at the end. In terms of the narrative that connects this all, don't worry about that because it doesn't really work and just feels very episodic throughout making it messy and uninteresting. It is unconvincing and, although I accept that the entire film is fantasy, you gotta wonder where all the excesses and such came from and how we were supposed to buy into it; hell, a fuel blockade by lorry drivers brought the UK to its knees a few years ago but yet we're suppose to believe this? The apocalyptic here lacks imagination and just feels like the sort of thing that exists in an art director's mind rather than something that convinces.
The episodic feel isn't helped by the rambling, pointless dialogue associated with the children it tries to have a mysticism that nothing else in the film has worked to deserve; however it could be helped by developing Max better. If he was a strong lynch pin holding all these bits and pieces together then it would matter less but he isn't he is just a grunting rock that doesn't really have a character to speak of and I had little or no interest in him at all even when he becomes "caring and sharing" I didn't care because I had had nothing to work with up till that point. Turner is not terrible but she doesn't really act and just sort of swans around in an unconvincing manner. In that regard she is like the majority of the cast, who don't really give the performances whether it e the clunky child actors or the grunting brutes that are just stunt fodder. The stunts are OK and the final chase provides some distraction but without really caring about the plot or the characters, I found it hard to get into any action.
Overall a disappointing film whose core failing is the lack of a convincing new world. The film feels episodic and lacks anything to hold it together. Throwing a lot of cars around at the end does provide some distraction but by then it was too late for me and the whole thing was clunky, pointless and surprisingly uninteresting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A misunderstood and often unfairly condemned entry in the Mad Max
CAUTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!
In the beginning was the era of the White Line nightmare, the collapse of civilisation as a few struggled to keep law and order against the rising tide of anarchy. That was Mad Max the original movie.
Then came Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) and the story moved on, the struggle to survive after the collapse that had begun in the era of the first film.
Beyond Thunderdome attempts to bring the saga full circle as some resemblance of civilisation and organisation begins to rise from the ashes and the cities become populated once again, hopefully setting the scene for the battles and action in the forthcoming Fury Road.
Thunderdome does suffer from a slight 'Hollywoodisation' and many will recognise a few elements straight out of the action movie handbook probably at the insistence of the studio.
However the spirit of Mad Max is still there, the struggle to survive against the odds in the ever changing world. Many have bemoaned the lack of decent car chases in the same way as the previous two films, which is understandable, however it must be remembered that this is fifteen years after the fall of civilisation and oil is non-existent practically.
A chase between a train (we will skip over the nicely maintained track myster!) and various bespoke vehicles is a bit of a rehash of the excellent chase from Road Warrior but fills the bill. It does appear a little stilted and short though as though there was meant to be more of it but we will probably never know.
Annoyingly Brian May who did the amazing soundtrack for the first two Max films was passed over here in favour of Maurice Jarre (Studio insistence?) However he still manages a good soundtrack here (sadly missing several key sections on the CD of the music). Tina Turner does the contractual obligation of most films post 1985 by providing opening and closing songs.
Overall the performances are good as usual from Mel Gibson as our slightly reluctant hero. Tina Turner lords it up for all she can get as Auntie, the leader of Bartertown with the usual supporting cast of henchmen and loonies in weird outfits driving even weirder machines!
Of the supporting characters, Helen Buday was excellent as the young warrior princess Savannah Nix which makes it a shame she has not done more film work, Robert Grubb as Pigkiller was a character I felt needed more explanation and development whilst Bruce Spence is back as a similar (although apparently different!) character to his Gyrocaptain from The Road Warrior.
Nothing however compares with the quite simply stunning closing sequence with the ruins of Sydney (Harbour Bridge, Opera House, etc) that was achieved with amazing accuracy using real models - who needs CGI?
This and the other Mad Max films do deserve decent DVD releases though with load of extras, the full soundtrack and deleted scenes I feel if they are to bring any justice to them. Hopefully with the new Fury Road on the way, someone at Warner Bros DVD Dept might take the hint?
So with Savannah closing with her 'tell' we see Max set off into the wasteland sunset hopefully to return in Mad Max 4 - Fury Road.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 1979, the first Mad Max came out (Although the story goes it was actually filmed in 1977, as Director George Miller's Film School Project).
At any rate, it was a low-budget film that achieved a cult status.
Then came 1981's MM2: TRW. One of my all-time favorite movies, largely because Miller combines a tortured, minimalist performance by Gibson, offset by almost cartoon-like violence, comic relief by other characters, along with some of the best cinematography in any 1980's film, all so brilliantly, that the result is much greater than the sum of its parts.
In addition, Brian May's brooding operatic score was so good, & contributed so much to the overall feel of the film, that I have pondered over the years that it must have influenced Danny Elfman's soundtrack to Tim Burton's 1989 ' Batman '.
At any rate, it was a great movie.
But Miller could not just quit while he was ahead-He had to go for the ' Hat-Trick '.
The result being 1985's MM: BT: A film that starts with Gibson,' The Road Warrior ', looking more like ' Lawrence of Arabia ' as he trades his Bad-Ass Black Ford Falcon Interceptor for-A covered wagon pulled by Camels???
A film that trades May's score for pop tunes by Tina Turner.
A film that trades SOME plot in TRW, for NO coherent plot at all!
A film that is so absurdly campy, that Turner herself looks like she is trying to be a drag queen!
A film where NONE of the action makes any sense, least of all the ending.
So if this trilogy were a Three-Course Meal, then MM would be the appetizer, TRW would be the Filet Mignon Entree, and BT would be Miller's big steaming dump in a dessert dish.
Shame on you, George.
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