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Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Entry updated 30 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1985). Kennedy Miller Productions. Directed by George Miller with George Ogilvie. Written by Terry Hayes, Miller. Cast includes Helen Buday, Mel Gibson, Paul Larsson, Bruce Spence, Frank Thring and Tina Turner. 107 minutes. Colour.

This Australian film, the second sequel to the Post-Holocaust movie Mad Max (1979), has lots of well-directed action but is more rambling and less focused than its predecessors. Max finds a community in the desert, Bartertown, with a female warlord (Tina Turner), gladiatorial games, and a great many extras being noisy, dirty and primitive. This lively stuff is really no more than a rehash of a great many filmic Clichés, notably those of Italian sword-and-sandal epics. Far more interesting is a subplot set in a different part of the desert and involving a tribe of children who are now living in an oasis, having many years ago survived a plane crash in which all adults were killed. In perhaps the first attempt in cinema to achieve, albeit less complexly, something of what Russell Hoban achieved in Riddley Walker (1980), they speak a devolved language (see Linguistics); they also have a mythology involving a Messiah-figure, whom they take Mad Max to be. Their final return to the derelict ghost-city of Sydney is well done, and this whole inventive section about the children – pure sf, and ambitious sf at that – makes an otherwise routinely vivid film well worth watching. The novelization is Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) by Joan D Vinge. A further sequel, much delayed, is Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). [PN]

see also: Mad Max 2.


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