Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

BEYOND THUNDERDOME has always been the red-headed stepchild of the MAD MAX series. Everybody loves ROAD WARRIOR, on account of it being one of the best movies everybody has ever seen. So if Miller just rehashed it but added a new Joe Pesci character or something then everybody probaly woulda been happy. Instead he expanded on the universe, he took the story in another entirely new direction and alot of people still aren’t ready to follow.

I haven’t seen this movie in years and I actually remembered it being more different than it really is. In fact, I was thinking there weren’t even cars in this one. I just remembered planes and pig shit and that song by Tina Turner. I thought it wasn’t as good as the other two but that it got a bum rap. Seeing it again – well, okay, it’s my third favorite, and there is a section in the middle that I had a problem with, but it needs to be said that this is a great fucking movie.

Mad Max Beyond ThunderdomeWhen you think of Mad Max you think of fast cars. Max lost his Interceptor in part 2 but you know he’s gotta get himself a new ride, right? In the opening scene he is traveling through the desert but either his engine doesn’t work or he’s out of gas because his customized truck is being pulled by camels. Before we even know it’s him though a pilot (Bruce Spence, not playing the gyro pilot from ROAD WARRIOR as far as I can tell, that’s just what pilots always look like in the desert) flies down low, knocks him off the car, then jumps in and steals it from him. So we’re just a couple shots into the new movie and Mad Max is a pedestrian. And he’s gonna stay that way until the climax.

Also Max has a pet monkey. And long hair like Braveheart.

Max follows his vehicle and monkey into a gated post-apocalyptic community called Barter Town. This is like the city where Lord Humungus would go to bars if he was into that type of thing. It’s an incredibly detailed society full of crazy individuals with mowhawks and feathered headdresses and armor made out of junk. This part sort of reminds me of STAR WARS in the way it shows you this fully inhabited world. Tina Turner is the boss (actually, the “Auntie”), she lives in an elevated house, and the place is run on methane that comes from pig shit shoveled by slaves in a subterranean pig farm. (Not one of the better vocations, in my opinion.) They won’t let Max in to get his car because he has nothing to barter, but then they find out he’s a badass so Auntie hires him to off somebody. And he goes undercover as a pig shit shoveler to scope out the target, a giant named Blaster who works in conjunction with a dwarf named Master who runs the pig shit factory and therefore thinks he’s the cock of the walk.

This of course leads to the famous Thunderdome of the title. You know, it’s like that one Tupac video. It’s a cage where Max fights Blaster while suspended from ropes, they swing around and can grab different weapons from the dome. The only rule is “two men enter, one man leaves.” There are crowds who chant this and lustily watch the violence, but it’s not just gladiators to them, it’s The People’s Court. This is Auntie’s system of law.

The way the crowd mindlessly chants the laws is pretty good satire. They keep chanting “two men enter, one man leaves!” until Auntie convinces them that Max can’t leave because of another law, “bust a deal and face the wheel,” so then they start chanting that. At that point Max has to spin a wheel of fortune which chooses his punishment as “gulag,” so then they start chanting “Gulag! Gulag!” The whole thing reminded me of a stupid thing that came up recently where this 19 year old girl was busted for recording 20 seconds of TRANSFORMERS on her digital camera. A theater employee saw her doing it and told the manager, who instead of telling her to stop called the police, who instead of saying “fuck you, we have jobs to do” arrested the girl, and then Regal Cinemas instead of trying to do something positive for humanity such as finding a way to stop having so much god damn advertising at movies decided to press charges against the girl. ANd she said she was making a clip to show her little brother to get him excited to come see the horrible movie. (He’ll have to get a ride from someone else; she’s banned from the theater for life.)

When I read that story it made me mad to think some girl could get fined $2,500 and get a year in jail just because she did a dumb, harmless thing in front of some schmucks with no souls who work for a corporate monolith run by evil robots. But what made it worse was when for some reason I read themovieblog.com, where John Campea’s story “Girl Could Go To Jail For Recording Transformers – Should She?” actually I swear to God begins with the sentence “This is a tough one.”

NO IT’S NOT A FUCKING TOUGH ONE. Anybody with a human soul or an ounce of common sense does not have to struggle with whether or not a dumb 19 year old girl should get jail time for a blurry 20 second recording of a movie. (Even if it is one of the most evil movies ever made.) And then the worst part is that most of the people in the comments seemed to agree that she should at least get a hefty fine. Because “stealing is stealing” and “the law is the law.”

“BUST A DEAL AND FACE THE WHEEL! BUST A DEAL AND FACE THE WHEEL!” The chanting at the Thunderdome is dead on. There are plenty of people in this pre-apocalyptic wasteland who do not use things like personal morals or ethics. They don’t want to have to take time to think things through in a thoughtful manner. They want to have a simple, catchy phrase that turns all situations into easy black or white, yes or no type problems. And preferably something bad will happen to somebody at the end, such as a fine, jail time or GULAG! GULAG! GULAG!

I know I got way off topic here and this part will seem dated when people read this review down the line. But consider it the end credits song. The Tina Turner songs on the opening and closing credits were clearly made in the ’80s, the rest of the movie is pretty timeless.

Anyway Max gets the gulag, so they tie him up and send him out in the desert on a horse. And because it’s MAD MAX they put a big paper mache cartoon head on him. I think Rob Zombie is the only other director who would do a scene like that. But Miller was there first.

Post-thunderdome is the part that turned alot of people against the movie. Passed out in the middle of the wasteland Max is rescued by a tribe of children who believe he’s their savior, “Captain Walker.” I think these kids were refugees that the real Captain Walker was bringing somewhere on a jet, but it crashed. He must’ve been the only surviving adult, so he went to get help, but never came back. The kids have a good thing going at a hidden oasis and have survived by hunting for meat and furs. But they’ve built up this religious belief about Captain Walker and an oral storytelling tradition where they “tell the tell” every night so the history won’t die.

The other two MAD MAXes, especially part 2, were much more about showing than talking. This section of the movie though is all about words and telling stories. The kids have a fucked up language because they don’t have grownups to correct their grammar. So they talk about “the pocksy clips” that turned the world into a wasteland. They’re in awe of “the video” and “the sonic” (a record player) and one kid has an old talking Bugs Bunny doll that still works, which is kind of like having a super rare Ferrari or something.

But even this part is about visual storytelling. Notice that as the storyteller “tells the tell” she has a pole with a big rectangle, like a movie screen, that she uses to frame cave drawings and other things she wants the audience to look at. Then they make Max look into a Viewmaster.

My only problem with the movie is the section where Max takes the kids into the pig shit farm, and they swing around on ropes and fight some guys. Some of that stuff is cool but what really kills it is the music. The score is by a new guy, Maurice Jarre instead of Brian May.

By the way, I always thought the score for MAD MAX was made by the dude from Queen until I looked it up just now and learned that it’s a different Brian May. Just like there’s that guy George S. Clinton that scored MORTAL KOMBAT, he’s not the same George Clinton. But at least he has the courtesy of a middle initial. The guy from Queen should have to use a middle initial. He’s been coasting off MAD MAX for decades now and he didn’t even have anything to do with it. Asshole.

Anyway Maurice Jarre does fine for most of the movie, but he’s a little more traditional than Australian film composer Brian May. And in this particular section of the movie he goes way overboard with trying to make the kids’ activities seem triumphant and majestic and shit. If he would’ve just kept his pants on everything would be fine but with him trying to tell us how fun and adventurous it is for kids to fight slavedrivers in a pool of pigshit the whole thing just comes across too cheesy. I know some of you guys have that same problem with the Ewoks, but to me that’s different. Because when Ewoks knock multi-million dollar government war machines over with rocks and logs it has a clear thematic purpose, it’s kind of the whole point of the story. Asskicking lost boys does not have the same depth to it.

This by the way is an early case of PG-13 sequel to rated-R series, like ROBOCOP 3 and LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. But it didn’t even occur to me until I noticed the rating on IMDb. I guess it helps that you have the same director and you also have him intentionally not rehashing the type of story from the other ones. So it’s not somebody watering down the old formula. It’s a different thing entirely.

Anyway, the kids on ropes part of the movie is over fast and then we get on to the more ROAD WARRIOR part where Max and friends are on a jet-powered truck on train tracks being chased by Tina Turner and her posse in awesome souped-up dune buggies that show the advances in roll bar technology that have taken place in the years since part 2. Eventually they meet up with that pilot from the opening scene and Max says “You!”

And you think “A ha! So it is the gyro pilot! He recognizes him!”

and then “Wait, no, he just remembers it’s the prick who stole his car!”

and then finally

“Oh, I guess he just meant ‘You there! I’m talking to you! The guy with the funny hat. Yeah, you.'”

This is part of the playfulness of the movie and what confused people who wanted something more normal. If you pay attention I’m pretty sure they never refer to Max as Max in this movie. Even when he is introduced in the Thunderdome they call him “The Man With No Name.” So that’s the one part where it is openly acknowledged that they are trying to go a little Leone with these movies. Bruce Spence is part of that Dollars Trilogy tradition, where Lee Van Cleef is in part 2 and 3 but as different characters. Although Bruce Spence is obviously more of an Eli Wallach. At the end of ROAD WARRIOR they tell you that the gyro pilot became the leader of the Northern Tribe and that they never saw Max again, so they couldn’t really put that character in this movie. But I’m sure George Miller wanted to work with him again so what the hell, there’s another pilot that looks like Bruce Spence. And then he plays with you by having Max almost seem to recognize him.

One thing that’s weird, George Miller actually co-directed this one with some dude named George Ogilvie. Apparently he was a theater director who Miller had co-directed with on a mini-series and they liked it so much they decided to do it on this movie too. Supposedly Miller concentrated on the stunts and action while Ogilvie was in charge of the performances. Probaly it was really a scam so Miller wouldn’t have to deal with all these crowds of mud-covered kids and pigs. “Hey Ogilvie, shoot this part where the kids swing on ropes. I’ll be in Thunderdome with the grown-ups.”

The thing is, if you compare this to his other movies, even the pig and penguin movies, it’s clear this is the work of the same mind. So it’s not like he’s letting Ogilvie take over. He’s just freeing himself up to concentrate on the part where the car goes flying through the air and crashes through another car or whatever.

I’m praying they end up making that MAD MAX 4 that got cancelled because of the Iraq war (good one, Bush) but if not there’s something nice about the way this wraps things up. In the first one there is still some society, but it’s turning into the wild west, and Max loses his family and humanity. In the second one it’s post-apocalypes, the whole world has gone to shit and he’s this amoral wanderer, but he ultimately does something good to help some people. Now in this third one “civilization” is coming back but it’s not exactly rebuilding, it’s a new and even more corrupt alternate society. But he helps these children, because he believes the children are the future, teach them well and etc. etc.

It’s kind of ironic and sad though because the kids actually start out in sort of a paradise, but because of their religious beliefs or folk tales or whatever you want to call Captain Walker they end up moving into the bombed out ruins of Sydney! I’m sure it’s kind of cool to explore but that’s no place to live. Who knows what they’re breathing in there. Not to mention the radioactivity. They had some natural beauty and they traded it for the rotting remains of the man-made world.

At the end Max is on his own again, perfectly open to having another adventure, perhaps called FURY ROAD. But despite the magic of parenting he’s doing worse than he was at the beginning of the movie. Tina Turner has kind of a bonding moment with him, or at least a “what the hell, I’m not gonna kill you” moment. So we last see Max out in the desert, a legendary hero, a messiah, a survivor… a guy with no car.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 12th, 2007 at 3:35 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

89 Responses to “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”

  1. I think they do refer to the name Max at some point, when MasterBlaster first meets Max there’s the following exchange:

    MasterBlaster: “Who you?”

    Max: “Me Max”

  2. This is the most visionary movie of the eighties. I loved everything out of it, it’s a supreme masterpiece. People just didn’t get it because the movie was well ahead of its own time, and they were expecting a silly Road Warrior carbon copy.

    By the way, I’ve talked to some of the kid actors (now grown ups), and they sured me Miller directed everything, even the middle section of the movie (the most fascinating one).

    The scene featuring the kids in Underworld was kinda cool, cheesy but ultra-smooth at the same time.

    Best chase scene ever, most tragic ending ever.

    Maybe people will get this movie in 2022, who knows. They are just stupid.

  3. Call me crazy, but i LOVE the opening credits to this movie. There’s something about it, the way the song slowly builds to a thunderous climax, the way the camera “zooms” in on the words, the “wait, what?” credits like “Frank Thring as The Collector” and “Angry Anderson as Ironbar”. It’s mysterious and kinetic and I had no idea white words over a black background could be that exciting.

  4. Yes, Max’s name is used, by Max himself no less.

    No, Bruce Spence isn’t playing the same character. The original actor who was cast dropped out last minute, and Spence took on the role as a favor to Miller.

    No, George Miller didn’t direct most of the film, in fact he directed only the major action sequences. He was still mourning the loss of producer and best friend Byron Kennedy, who had died in a helicopter crash just prior to pre-production (basically the agreement for the third film was already in place, so Miller was obligated to go forward).

    George Ogilvie was personally hired by George Miller because, by Miller’s own admission, his heart just wasn’t in it after the death of his friend, but Warners paid for a George Miller Mad Max film, and they expected one. Thus a deal was made where he would co-direct. Ogilvie had worked on two hugely acclaimed australian mini-series, The Dismissal, and Bodyline, after being one of Australia’s leading and most acclaimed theatre directors for many years, and was seen by Miller as a safe pair of hands for all the non-action oriented parts of the movie.

    Ogilvie was even told by Warner Bros management to direct the film “as if he was George Miller” as “nobody wanted to see a George Ogilvie Mad Max movie”. He did his best to do as he had been told, but the end result would prove a double edged sword. Despite aping George Miller’s style so well, Ogilvie recieved almost no public credit for the film, despite having directed the majority of the film and being listed as co-director, and was left out of most publicity for the film upon its release, and was rarely mentioned by cast or crew when talking about the film. As a result many fans still to this day seem to think Miller directed most of the film, when the exact opposite is the case, as George Miller himself has stated. Unfortunately for Ogilvie, his career post Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome stalled as a result, and he was relegated to a string of throwaway small australian dramas and tv movies of little note over the following years.

    In previous films the late Byron Kennedy directed the big chase sequences, while Miller directed everything else. On this film Miller directed the train sequence and the Thunderdome sequence, and Ogilvie directed everything else. This is why the Beyond Thunderdome final chase lacks the impact of the car scenes from the first two films, because Kennedy wasn’t there to inject his trademark breakneck intensity into the sequence, and George Miller was just trying to ape Byron Kennedy’s style as best he could, and on a film that he no longer even really wanted to make.

    Warner Bothers demanded a film that was accessible to mass audiences, and thus non R-rated film, so violence was deliberately toned down and made more cartoonish, guns were all but eliminated, and very few characters in the film wee killed on camera, and none explicitly (in the style of previous films). The Bugs Bunny prop was a deliberate in-joke to warners demands to make the film more cartoony in its violence.

    Warners refused to allow composer Brian May to be hired for the film, as his music was apparenly “too weird” and non-traditional. Maurice Jarre was eventually agreed upon to compose the music for the film instead.

    It was part of Turner’s contract that she would get to create a song for the film’s end titles. Demos were made of two different songs, and both were liked so much that they incorporated one into the opening, the other into closing credits, bookending the film. The final versions of both songs were far grander in scope and quite different in some of the key lyrics to the earlier demo versions that were signed off on.

    Most of Angry Anderson’s lines (as Ironbar) were cut when Ogilvie realised, on set, that he couldn’t act, couldn’t remember his lines, nor even be able to repeat lines being fed to him off camera with any level of accuracy or conviction.

    Both Mel Gibson and George Miller wanted Max to literally sacrifice himself at the end of the film, so that he would die a noble death after becoming human once again due to the events of this film. Warners nixed the idea, so Aunty lets him live instead.

    Warner Bros thought the monbkey dying would upset audiences, so even after Max collapses face first, and is later dragged across the desert, unconscious and wrapped tight to the litter, the monkey magically appears alive an unharmed in the camp of the lost children, and later is also explicitly shown to escape the destruction of Underworld.

  5. Pre-FURY ROAD, I rewatched the whole MAD MAX trilogy.

    The original film is good, THE ROAD WARRIOR is awesome and this… Well, it kinda sucks.

    Master Blaster is amusing, the Thunderdome itself is a nice concept and the final chase is okay, but the whole middle act with the Lost Boys is nearly unwatchable.

  6. Ticket to FURY ROAD booked. A week of post apocalyptic movies await. I started to watch Tarkovskys STALKER for the first time. Quite a film, in my opinion. On the subject of THUNDERDOME, I think the movie contains a lot of good ideas and I personally have no problems with the kids. It´s kind of part of Max road (pardon the pun) to redemption. But the big problem is severe lack in the pulpy violence department. In fact quite a lot. The Thunderdome sequence could have been AMAZING, but now it is just a big tease for all of us who appreciate some good ol fashioned ultra-violence.

  7. That’s funny, I just finished watching THUNDERDOME again myself and I still can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t love it. It’s such a detailed, crazy world, there is so much to look at and decipher and learn. And random details like Aunt Entity’s personal saxophone player who seems to be an ex-Yakuza. And I never noticed before that shoulder pads and a fake mohawk made of feathers – basically a Wez costume – is the police uniform of Barter Town.

    Like ROAD WARRIOR it has Max as a ruthless badass who reluctantly decides to be the good guy, and an incredible car chase ending with some of the most ridiculously awesome onscreen vehicles I can think of. And I still love that he loses his car in the opening shot and never gets it back. I don’t think I noticed before that Master even calls him a pedestrian.

    And it has the fuckin Thunderdome!


  8. Yeah, I’ve always thought THUNDERDOME was underrated as well, sure the stuff with the kids is weird, but it’s hardly a bad movie.

  9. I still haven’t watched THUNDERDOME, but I plan to change that soon.

    Anyway, I might have the chance to watch FURY ROAD in a real drive in theatre once it starts here, but do you think I should or does a real MAD MAX movie should be watched in an indoor theatre, with an eardrum blasting sound system?

  10. THUNDERDOME is the one I´ve seen the least times. I´m looking forward to re-watching it in the days leading up to a furious road. I remember it being a much more ambitious film than the previous ones. Maybe people mistake it for being “too mainstream” with its higher production values and lower age rating, hence its lesser cultural status in the Great Beehive Mind.

  11. I recently watched the whole trilogy in one night. Don’t do that. I never got what people’s major malfunction was with THUNDERDOME either, but going straight from the no-punches-pulled timelessness of the climax of ROAD WARRIOR into THUNDERDOME’s dated-as-fuck Tina Turner-scored opening credits is so incredibly jarring that I started to get it. The movie is far from the train wreck it’s purported to be but the immediate impression it gives is of selling out. The world of the first two has no place for cheesy pop songs. Luckily, you soon realize that this isn’t taking place in that world. It’s an alternate timeline where civilization was destroyed by nuclear war and not social entropy, where Bruce Spence is a similar but different person, and where everything is a whole lot more fucking expensive. It’s more of a loose remake to ROAD WARRIOR than a direct sequel. That takes some of the sting out of it feeling so different, but man, that transition from part two to part three is treacherous. I recommend taking at least a day in between them to clear your palette. Otherwise it’s like going from real cheese straight to Velveeta. Nothing wrong with Velveeta, but you’re not gonna want it when you’ve just had the real thing.

  12. CJ- I think you should watch it in a drive in with a V8 muscle car. Running its engines during the car chases.

  13. Spewing out a shit ton of carbon-dioxide in front of some assholes in a convertible.

  14. I should also get a bunch of friends to wear mohawks and BDSM gear, while hanging on the outside of the car during the course of the movie.

  15. THUNDERDOME is absolutely spectacular!

    Yes, it isn’t as action heavy as ROAD WARRIOR, but the “Mad Max Meets the Goonies” vibe is fresh, it has the best ideas in the original trilogy, is the funniest and most soulful, and has my favourite dialogue-script of just about any action movie ever. Shit’s poetry.

  16. THUNDERDOME was always my least favorite but even though it holds back it’s punches it’s still pretty superior conceptually and in terms of action than a lot of the action movies out at that time and this is coming from someone who grew up loving most of the action movies of that era so it’s in no way a slight.

    It’s probably been about 2 years since I last sat down with all 3 but those movies have been pretty much tattooed on my brain since childhood so I don’t need a “refresher” I could just save those hours to watch FURY ROAD more than once this summer.

    This was at the premiere

    Can’t believe we’re actually a week away from a new Mad Max from George Miller himself. It feels so unreal.

  17. That’s funny, I saw a whole bunch of pictures of Hardy and Gibson together at the premiere, but that’s the first one I’ve seen where Hardy didn’t look really uncomfortable standing next to him. There was also one where it almost seemed like Miller didn’t know Mel was gonna be there and was making awkward small talk.

  18. I just rewatched THUNDERDOME too and for the first time I really loved it. What hit me was that this is the only MAD MAX movie that visits places in that world that aren’t all about driving. And then I got sad that we’ll probably never see another one that’s not all driving since this was considered a failure.

    Like Vern, I also marveled at the rich, populated world full of distinct characters, and that goes for the kids too. It’s so George Miller I wonder what that Ogilvie guy directed. There’s nothing that doesn’t seem like pure Miller.

  19. I finally watched THUNDERDOME for the first time yesterday and you can put me in the “liked it” camp. It’s definitely a well structured addiction to the MAD MAX universe.

  20. Broddie – The photo of St. George with old Max and new Max made me get ‘all misty-eyed’.

    I’m trying not to view my forthcoming viewing of Fury Road as a religious experience, but it’s getting hard …

  21. Vern, I just wanted to point out that you never reviewed the first MAD MAX. Hint hint.

  22. The Original Paul

    May 9th, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I’m a little late to the party on this one, but am I the only person who really liked the “lost boys” bit in this one?

    Yeah, it’s cheesy, and yeah, it’s a radical tonal shift (although I think that’s kinda the point). Looking back to when I last saw THUNDERDOME, which was many years ago – it’s probably a pretty heavy-handed way to drive home that there’s more potential to this world than just the relentless pursuit of survival, and I don’t know if that would bother me more now. But it worked for me at the time.

  23. I love the “lost boys” segment too, Paul. The writing in the recital of the Captain Walker story is so unusual and interesting. SNOWPIERCER was obviously indebted to it in its classroom scene, but the spark of inspiration was lost.

  24. I just bought the trilogy on bluray, and the WB’s reissue has an interesting titbit on the sleeve credits for MAD MAX – Directed by George Miller WITH Mel Gibson. Wtf?

  25. Seems to me like some intern forgot a comma or something like that.

  26. I think it’s crucial to know that THUNDERDOME started out as a film about the lost children. It wasn’t intended to be a story about Mad Max at all. But when they needed a savior, Max came to mind. Neither Miller nor Gibson wanted to do the movie. And I remember the newspapers saying at the time that Gibson drank so much beer on set that even Australians where impressed.

  27. I wonder how much world-building FURY ROAD is gonna have. I am lead to believe that this film is just one long carchase with no decent script. I think Miller has taken in account how much flak THUNDERDOME has gotten over the yearsand instead goes fullout ROAD WARRIOR and just give people what he think they want.

  28. World building is overrated and if FURY ROAD manages to be a 90+ minutes long action scene that never becomes boring, I will gladly take it over unnecessary exposition and tacked on subplots.

  29. I wouldn´t mind a 90 minute car chase, but I think it is highly unlikely. I wonder if what´s in between is interesting enough in by itself.

  30. I just found this pretty in-depth review of FURY ROAD.

  31. The one thing I’m finding weird about FURY ROAD from the trailers is the voice Hardy is using. It’s gravelly as fuck, and that’s not what Mel did when he played the character. Even as a burned out man of few words, when he did talk in the movies, Max just sounded like a normal guy. Also, the dialogue from the trailers sounds like voice over/narration, which would be a bit out of place.

  32. A filmmaker friend of mine has seen Fury Road, and claimed on his Facebook that it’s 90% a chase scene. But I don’t know if he’s just exagerrating for dramatic impact.

  33. Pegsman – did it start out as an adaptation of that Riddley Walker book? I still don’t understand the relationship between the two, since they are strikingly similar but it is not credited.

    I believe Miller was having trouble because of the loss of his producing partner at the time, which might be why he brought in theater director Ogilvie to co-direct, but he’d already done a mini-series with him, so maybe he just liked working that way. If he didn’t have a passion for the material he sure has a funny way of showing it. It’s his most elaborate movie except arguably BABE 2: THE CRACKDOWN.

  34. Rewatching the original, The guy Max cuffs to the car at the end seems to be the same guy he later cuffed when they both took a mid air stroll in LETHAL WEAPON 1.

  35. Vern, yes the film started out being based on Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker. But when Max was brought in it obviously became something else.


  37. I just bought tickets for the whole family!

  38. Like most right-thinking people, I have also been revisiting the Mad Max series, and I have to agree that Thunderdome, while not as great as the first two, has a number of things going for it. The tonal shift with the kids is interesting, but I almost wish they had taken advantage of it more. It would have been interesting if Max had really spent some time in that world trying to make a life among this isolated society before everything goes to hell, of course. But we’re back to Barter Town rather quickly. Although, when the action is as good as it is in the third act of this film, it’s hard to complain really.

  39. Am I the only one who thinks Master doesn’t deserve to be broken out and taken along to salvation at the end? He’s established as a massive prick who holds a town to ransom just for the sake of his own ego, he talks down to everyone because of his relative intelligence level and he exploits the mentally challenged as both steed and bodyguard.
    “He has the mind of a child!!” Then why are you making him participate in steel cage deathmatches????

  40. http://www.returnofkings.com/63036/why-you-should-not-go-see-mad-max-feminist-road

    The truth is I’m angry about the extents Hollywood and the director of Fury Road went to trick me and other men into seeing this movie. Everything VISUALLY looks amazing. It looks like that action guy flick we’ve desperately been waiting for where it is one man with principles, standing against many with none.

    But let us be clear. This is the vehicle by which they are guaranteed to force a lecture on feminism down your throat. This is the Trojan Horse feminists and Hollywood leftists will use to (vainly) insist on the trope women are equal to men in all things, including physique, strength, and logic. And this is the subterfuge they will use to blur the lines between masculinity and femininity, further ruining women for men, and men for women.

    So do yourself and all men across the world a favor. Not only REFUSE to see the movie, but spread the word to as many men as possible. Not all of them have the keen eye we do here at ROK. And most will be taken in by fire tornadoes and explosions. Because if they sheepishly attend and Fury Road is a blockbuster, then you, me, and all the other men (and real women) in the world will never be able to see a real action movie ever again that doesn’t contain some damn political lecture or moray about feminism, SJW-ing, and socialism.

    Aw dammit. I just booked my ticket too. I guess I need to go burn it now. Shucks.

  41. Social Justice Warring? Warrioring? Should’ve gone with SJWfare.

  42. The Original Paul

    May 13th, 2015 at 1:22 am

    “This is the Trojan Horse feminists and Hollywood leftists will use to (vainly) insist on the trope women are equal to men in all things, including physique, strength, and logic.”


    Goddamn I almost want to go see FURY ROAD just for that alone.

  43. Stu- that´s the most pathetic I´ve read in a long time. At least since yesterday.

  44. A socialist action movie? I can’t wait!

  45. Social Justice Warriors? Isn´t that the band of DC heroes with Batman and Superman in it?

  46. Bwahahaha. I wanna send whoever wrote this a bunch of ticket stubs with the note:

    “You said we should boycott this movie, but I had to watch it anyway, just to see its SJW-ness with my own eyes. I was so apalled by it, I had to watch it again. To make sure that I didn’t miss anything, I watched it a 3rd time. Then I invited a bunch of friends to watch it with me, to see if they agree with me. Each one of us was so disgusted by the movie’s SJW-ness, that we keep telling everybody to watch it immediately. (Reverse psychology.)”

  47. There’s really nothing more manly than bitching about how tough girls think they are all the time.

  48. The Original Paul

    May 13th, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I love you guys.

    (In a totally platonic way, of course.)

  49. The Original Paul

    May 13th, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Oh, and CJ – be careful – that sounds like some of that nasty inferior female logic to me.

    (Yeah, pretty sure I’m gonna be feeding on that one sentence for months. The rest of it came across as the same kind of ridiculous macho-elitist posturing that I’m never quite sure whether it’s supposed to be taken seriously or is just a great example of trolling, but I had to take a minute or two to process the “logic” part. That’s… something else.)

  50. Rogue, just follow the links in your own link. The CNN story is about a specific blog, with quotes. I know it is just a handful of nutbags and it’s sad that it became a national story, but it is also hilarious that some weiner actually wrote that, which is why it has spread around so much. Now that the movie is out we can forget about it.

    Now go see FURY ROAD and have some fun before I start coming up with a list of the worst people on earth to see if there’s ever one you won’t jump to the defense of.

  51. Well, Hitler did start the world’s first major animal shelter program.

  52. The Original Paul

    May 16th, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    In all fairness, I think the author of that anti-FURY ROAD rant above is probably less likely to be a complete idiot and more likely to be the best unacknowledged troll since OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. (Or possibly a marketing guy for FURY ROAD.)

    It is, again, the “logic” thing that convinces me. I mean, nobody is so stupid that they can say a thing like that and expect to be taken seriously, right? Right? The guy has to be trolling.

    Dayum, you know the world’s gone to hell when you can no longer tell the trolls from the morons.

  53. Republican Cloth Coat

    May 16th, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Just saw Mad Max and it is good. At least 9 of 10. Fuck any haters and hooray for grandmas.

  54. The grandmas were my favorite part.

  55. Yeah and the movie DOES have a strong feminist theme, but…SO WHAT? The thing with the Mad Max series post the first one is that the story isn’t Max’s, it’s someone else’s story that Max tends to wander into and get involved in. This is just the movie where the story Max wanders into concerns literal female liberation.

  56. That guy had clearly not seen a MAD MAX movie in at least 15 years. He’d be laughable simply on movie ignorance alone without even bringing his beta male insecurities into it.

  57. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD will do for grandmas what BABE and HAPPY FEET did for pigs and penguins. I no longer eat bacon or punch flightless, arctic birds. Total respect for grandmas from now on.

  58. It’s too late; the feminists can now claim victory:

    I had a feeling this might happen. The average 30-something moviegoer has only a faint connection to the original Mad Max movies, and the average 20-something moviegoer probably has none at all. Suffice to say, this age factor doesn’t apply to a true movie geek. They’ll all turn out this weekend.

    If you saw & enjoyed FURY ROAD, then none of this matters, however… unless this has long legs, it likely will be the last MM movie. With a budget of $150 million, it doesn’t seem poised to turn a profit.

    Majestyk’s granny boner notwithstanding, I now agree with his previously stated regret that Mel Gibson didn’t reprise his role. Max has always been a sparely-written character, and Gibson had (still has, if EXPENDABLES 3 was any indication) the kind of stoic charisma to make it impactful.

    To his credit, Tom Hardy has done some solid minimalist work in the past (WARRIOR and LAWLESS both come to mind), but he didn’t seem to get a handle on how to make his Max a badass. Yeah, he’s sturdy and heroic and mumbles manfully, but he’s just not vital in the way Gibson was. That, all by itself, kinda tanked the movie for me. Nicholas Hoult as Nigel McNutter didn’t much help either.

  59. Larry, I think you mean the anti-feminist(s) can claim victory. I actually do think this thing will have legs for sure, because it’s the best reviewed movie of the year and I won’t be the only one going back multiple times. But If it’s the last Mad Max movie it might be for the best, as long as it’s not the last George Miller movie.

  60. $40m opening/$120m Domestic/400M+ WW is probably about as much as you could realisitcally expect for a weird-as-hell R-rated reboot/sequel/something to a 30 year old long dead franchise starring a character that just hasn’t stuck in the public consciousness the way fellow 80s icons Rambo, Indy, and the Terminator have.

  61. Maybe it’s just the optimist in me, but I really think this film will have long legs. I can’t imagine people getting out of that movie and not telling everyone they know to go see it.

    By the way, I got myself banned from that A Voice For Men sight yesterday for trolling the man-babies. So I created another account and went right back to trolling.

  62. I still can’t get this one out of my head. I’m just thinking what a great piece of entertainment this is. You’ve got Mel Gibson on the cusp of his greatest decade returning to his first legendary role. They give you Tina Turner as the villain, and she contributes two original songs. She’s not phoning it in either. These songs are six minutes each in full album versions. She even included Thunderdome in the lyrics! Linkin Park didn’t say Optimus Prime in any of their Transformers songs.

    This isn’t like when Rihanna does movies so they get the kids in, or even Ice Cube who proved to be a fun actor in action and comedies. This was Tina effing Turner, a true rock god. A rare acting role, not even like Madonna front to make a real go of it. Tina deigned Thunderdome worthy of her.

    Plus all the usual George Miller world building detail and action. It may have been stunt casting but man, none of today’s stunt casting delivers a show like that.

  63. I agree with Fred – I revisited this one a few days ago and am still thinking about it – I’m not knocking The Road Warrior – it’s incredible; but with it’s spare dialogue and simplistic plot it truly is best watched as a kid – it’s an R-rated fairy tale/kid’s movie that happens to have rape and mutilation. Beyond Thunderdome, despite it’s PG-13 rating and internet reputation as being a Temple of Doom/Ewoks ripoff, is strangely for the adults. The themes are deeper and more complex, the ideas are bigger, the story is more rooted in shades of gray. Lord Humungous and Wez are awesome but let’s be honest – like Mola Ram and Boba Fett, they’re iconic not really because of what they actually do or say, but because of their amazing character design. I’ll take Auntie Entity over those two any day.

    When I was a kid I thought Auntie Entity letting Max go at the end was stupid; it reeked of the writers scripting themselves into a corner with no way out. Now, I still don’t know why she did it, and I kinda love that. Does she respect him for sacrificing himself? Does she figure there’s no point now that Master has already escaped? Does she realize that Bartertown had turned her corrupt and it was a blessing it failed?

    I’ve always wondered how the hell Turner got involved in this movie to being with – I read somewhere Miller wrote the role for her because they knew of her struggles and famously abusive relationship; that she was the perfect embodiment of someone who rose above and made the best of a shitty situation (I love her line about “I was a nobody… until The Day After”). I think the key to really appreciating this movie is knowing that even though Turner is THE villain, she’s really not A villain – she’s like Michael Keaton in the new Robocop – a person with good intentions who let the power corrupt her (or had to become a shark to survive; is there a difference?) Note this is a theme in the movie – look how humble Master becomes once he loses Blaster. Whereas Road Warrior basically said “these are the bad guys and they’re evil people”, Thunderdome basically says “these are the bad guys but they’ve got no choice but to act this way”. (I think that may be a reason why the body count on this one is super-low; most of the “deaths” in the movie seem to be Ironbar dying over and over again, and he’s STILL alive at the end!)

    That’s also why I like the ending speech (which I used to think was gibberish) so much; Savannah Nix says they leave the lights on for not just Max, but “for all of them that are still out there”. I think they keep their doors open for Auntie Entity too and I absolutely love that.

  64. My friends complain about the songs. I guess they’re a rare element in a MAD MAX film that dates them. But they’re only played over credits. I like them. More importantly, Tina Turner is flat out awesome in the role. I listened to the new birth.movies.deathcast where they talk about FURY ROAD (a fun, nerdy discussion) and was a little disappointed when I realized other people might not consider Aunty Entity as great of a character as I do. “Ain’t we a pair, raggedy man?” I especially love that ending because she’s not really evil. She just lets him go at the end. She respects him. It’s so cool.

  65. One of the things I found fascinating on the rewatch is how feminist this one is – the plot is almost entirely driven by Auntie Entity and Savannah, both strong characters struggling to rebuild civilization while men keep trying to violently tear it down. It’s a lot more subtle than it is in Fury Road – it’s not the central theme so much as a backdrop – but, in a way, that makes it even more nuanced and effective.

    I’m fine with the songs. They’re good songs that are thematically appropriate. The one thing that keeps me from unabashedly loving Thunderdome like the other three is that climactic chase – while there are some impressive stunts, it just never gets the adrenaline rush going the way the finales of the other three do.

    But it’s the best of the series strictly from a science-fiction and world-building perspective (a high bar to clear), which makes it something wonderful in its own right. I’ve always liked it, but I don’t know why it took me until now to see just how incredibly good the whole thing is.

  66. Stopped by Best Buy where they supposedly had Thunderdome on Blu ray for $5.99 but it was sold out. Good news so many people are buying Thunderdome, but now I still don’t own a copy.

    I think the songs are great too. Sequels are of their time. Doesn’t kill to have a couple power ballads. The aesthetic is similar to Junkie XL.

  67. After a re-watch of all 3, BT always feels like the comedown. I dig all the Thunderdome stuff, it has the same pace, atmosphere and feel as the earlier entries, there really is a lot to love – but after Max gets that papier mache head put on him, everything after that just doesn’t work for me (Maybe he hallucinated the rest of it, out there in the desert).

    For me, it just feels compromised, neutered and slow. Even the climax just doesn’t get going. Max driving that fur-lined car at what looks like 14 MPH, whilst people get hit with pans.

    And no, I’ve still not seen FURY ROAD. Please don’t judge me, guys.

  68. Karlos, you are the reason PITCH PERFECT 2 is winning.

  69. Darryl – No, I’m not. I like a lot of BT, just not all of it.

    PITCH PERFECT 2 is doing well because teens like shit films. Nothing to do with me.

  70. The above should’ve read “PITCH PERFECT 2 is doing well because a lot of people who don’t give a shit about film have flocked to see it.” I don’t know why I was picking on teens. I’m not that old. Still nothing to with me.

    I can get behind a film like BEYOND THUNDERDOME, it strives for excellence, sometimes succeeding. For me, it doesn’t stick the landing but that’s OK. A lot of films I like don’t.

    Please don’t make me feel bad about not loving it, Darryl. I’m glad you do.

  71. I haven’t seen it yet either, but by the end of next week I will. So at least I will be partly responsible for its long time success.

  72. I was gonna go see FURY ROAD, but I had to chance to see PITCH PERFECT 2.


    (Seriously, I’m seeing FURY ROAD any day now. And about time, too).

  73. Of course there is still the question if I should take my chance to watch it in a drive in theatre or if I should go to a real cinema, with a sound system that isn’t a FM car radio stream.

  74. Go to the real theater, CJ. I saw it the first time at a shitty cinema and it really detracted from the experience. I had to see it again in a good theater to see what everyone was raving about.

  75. CJ, as fitting as a drive-in screening seems for this, from skimming the comments on the FURY ROAD thread, it sounds like its a film you’ve got to see in a real cinema.

  76. Drive-in for second viewing.

  77. The Original Paul

    October 4th, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Well, I had a couple of hours to kill, so I went back and rewatched this one. And honestly, of the four MAD MAX movies, it’s the one I’ve enjoyed the most (time and a DVD re-watch will tell if FURY ROAD manages to change my opinion on that one when I’m not at a screening that gives me migraines and brings back child-onset hearing problems). I think what sets THUNDERDOME apart is the villains. It’s been a couple of months since I watched ROAD WARRIOR. Bruce Spence and the feral kid are awesome, but the villains…? Couldn’t tell you who they are. I think all the best parts of ROAD WARRIOR concern Spence, Feral Kid, and Happy Campers. Auntie is just such a great character though. And Turner plays her brilliantly.

    And WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO might be my favorite Tina Turner song right now. I’d forgotten just how damn good it is.

  78. Wez and Humungous don’t ring any bells Paul?

  79. The Original Paul

    October 4th, 2015 at 5:15 am

    I remember Humungous’ name.

    …That is all.

    I don’t think he did much in ROAD WARRIOR at all. I can’t even remember if or how he died. I remember he gets his speech interrupted by a boomerang from the Feral Kid. That’s about all. If there’s something iconic about the character then it went over my head completely.

  80. The Original Paul

    October 4th, 2015 at 5:29 am

    And continuing to prove Vern’s statement that “a new generation of kids won’t be able to appreciate ROAD WARRIOR after FURY ROAD” is right, I think FURY ROAD had some great villains too – or at least great villain moments. The leader I could take or leave, but the Warboys and their whole misguided “dying in battle is the greatest honour” philosophy… plus those great moments from flamethrower-guitar-guy, and the bit where the giant says “I had a brother”… moments like these… even with a screening that was as bad as the one I went to, I thought this stuff was fantastic.

    Yeah… FURY ROAD just improved on ROAD WARRIOR in almost every way for me.

  81. It’s also the only one that’s not on the road. It stays put in Bartertown and even returns there. I wonder if The Wasteland will be more of a location than a chase.

  82. Paul- I like the concept of The Warboyz as well. It´s not only the woman that are oppressed of Immortan Joe. But as the film shows,there are different forms of oppression. The Warboyz are indoctrinated as fuck to die for his pasty ass. They are so caught up in his violence monopoly and are unable to think for themselves. And that is what´s great about Nux. He is forced to hit rock bottom to be able to escape that type of enslavement. He makes a mistake which is only human, but in the end that is his salvation.

  83. Oh, come on, Paul. You remember the Humungus. The Lord Humungus. The Warrior of the Wasteland. The Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla.

    But I agree, Auntie Entity is a great and underappreciated character.

  84. Franchise Fred – That would be pretty cool. It could be the THUNDERDOME to FURY ROAD’s THE ROAD WARRIOR.

  85. The Original Paul

    October 5th, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Shoot – that’s a great way to put it.

    Vern – to make this clear, I did like a lot of things about ROAD WARRIOR. I just don’t see it as the equal of other films in the Badass Top 10 (DIE HARD, WAY OF THE DRAGON, 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, etc.) Sorry to be a bit so-so about a film that you guys love. Watching it after FURY ROAD probably did it no favours.

    But I think it’s a great thing that FURY ROAD outdid its predecessors. The alternative is stuff like TERMINATOR: GENISYS (I know I made a half-in-jest defence of this film, but I’ll happily agree that it’s not fit to lick the shiny metal toenails of either THE TERMINATOR or T2) or DIE HARD GOES TO CHERNOBYL. And I think we can all agree that those kinds of sequels are a bad thing.

  86. The Original Paul

    October 5th, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I should put a note here to clarify that I haven’t actually seen DIE HARD 5, and are therefore basing my above statements entirely on the opinions of Vern, commentators, and other reviewers (most of whom seem to absolutely despise it). So if anybody wants to come along and tell me that DIE HARD 5 is in fact an unappreciated masterpiece and makes the first DIE HARD look just ok by comparison, I technically can’t argue with you. (Although I think others may.)

  87. The Humungus fuckin’ rules. Granted, I haven’t seen Road Warrior in many, many years, but when I was young and impressionable there was nothing like that film (well, duh) and Humungus was huge, imposing, mysterious, unsettling. Just like Fury Road, questions nagged at me – who the hell is this guy? Why the mask? How does a society like this come about, with people lovingly following such a despot? Once you start down that road, your imagination goes to crumbling of civilization, etc. and shit like that has always been unsettling to me.

    And I just need to say that We don’t Need Another Hero still rules, I don’t care how 1985 it sounds.

  88. Best rap songs

    Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome – Vern

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