Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome – 1985

maxmaxiii-finalposterThere are only a few things known to be able to survive an apocalypse. They include; cockroaches, Twinkies and Tina Turner!
The final chapter of George Miller’s bold and triumphant trilogy has taken the established character to new places, which isn’t always the best choice to make. Miller has upped the stakes once again and pitted Max against some even greater foes, but where “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” begins to travel downhill is with its overly flamboyant, radical departure in a lot of key aspects.

Set in the vast and endless desert, we see the heroic Max (initially looking a lot like Mel Gibson’s William Wallace) stumbling along and seeking some sort of refuge.
After being captured by a mysterious tribe of children, Max’s journey continues onwards where he becomes a contestant in the dreaded but celebrated Thunderdome arena.
Tina Turner plays Aunty Entity, the antagonistic queen of the fantastical town, which is both an interesting and risky casting choice.

thunderdomeIt works to an extent, but it’s difficult to justify the casting any further than the fact that Miller had the budget land a star such as Turner.
Casting concerns aside, it’s not the biggest of the film’s problems. What follows Max’s stint in the Thunderdome is a solid hour of sub-par action and questionable story direction.

To be perfectly honest, I found “Beyond Thunderdome” very difficult to get excited about. The narrative choices seem both understandable and out of control at the same time which is incredibly divisive.
In one way, “Beyond Thunderdome” keeps the familiar tone and style of its predecessors, but on the other hand, it all feels as if a radical departure has taken place. What worked with the first two has been replaced with flamboyance and excessive flair. The only saving grace for “Beyond Thunderdome” is its conclusion. The final sequences are what saved the film from a possible and unequivocal implosion. The way in which “Beyond Thunderdome” concludes is very reminiscent of the first two and appears to inspire a lot of the set pieces for the forthcoming “Fury Road” reboot.

One of the greatest qualities of the original two films was their ambitious and unapologetically brutal action sequences. With budget constraints and an enormous amount of risk, Miller was able to bring his vision to life in spectacular fashion.
“Beyond Thunderdome” does what any third installment should do and takes it to yet another level without getting too far out of hand (a phrase that sounds a little contradictory and irrelevant for a franchise such as this…).

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 10.04.17 pmAbove all, there wasn’t much to love about “Beyond Thunderdome”. The clear weak link in the chain, the franchise didn’t conclude on the brightest of notes.
There were commendable qualities to be found within the film, and Mel Gibson was impressive once again, but the choice to take certain characters to certain places whilst introducing strange and whacky ones let the film down at the end of it all.
Some would argue that these charters are crafted from the location and era, it just seems as if it was all overshot in the attempt to take the next gargantuan step.

Maybe it was just a case of ‘third film syndrome’, or perhaps it was the addition of George Ogilvie as co-director that resulted in “Beyond Thunderdome” falling short. Either way, it’s the risk you take with franchises and it’s somewhat to be expected.

2.5/5

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2015 by in Disappointments and tagged , , , , .
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