Sunday Morning Movie: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Directed by George Miller

For breakfast lunch: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cole slaw

Yes, I like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, more than Mad Max in fact. It’s fun, it has a sense of humor, and the action is enjoyable. Come on, who doesn’t love Master Blaster or Tina Turner?! After our hero’s truck and camels are stolen in the middle of the desert, he ends up at the human outpost called Bartertown. It’s a seedy place where the surface is run by Aunty Entity and the methane refinery underneath is run by Master Blaster. Max unknowingly helps Aunty overthrow Master Blaster allowing her to take over the whole of Bartertown and is once again left for dead in the desert. It’s here where the film seems to take a slight detour.

Max ends up in this oasis community filled with children who survived a plane crash some years ago. They desperately cling to any memories they have of civilization and they believe that Max is their long lost savior “Captain Morgan” who has come to take them home. It’s honestly not as bad as it sounds, it’s a little on the lighthearted side, but the first two films aren’t exactly something I take seriously. Besides, a lot of films took a turn for the childish in the ’80s (I’m looking at you Return of the Jedi and Temple of Doom), so it’s no surprise that this series followed suit, especially after the success of The Road Warrior and that freaky little kid.

Our reluctant hero and savior does end up helping these children and righting his wrongs at Bartertown in the process. It wraps things up neatly, but still leaves Max’s future to ambiguity as it shows him wandering alone through the desert with his symbolic staff. Maybe not the best they could have done to cap off the series, but it works for me.

Grade: B


Sunday Morning Movie: Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max (1979)
Directed by George Miller

For breakfast: Bacon, Eggs, & English Muffins

I did things sort of backwards. I saw Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome first when I was a kid, then some years later I got around to The Road Warrior. It’s only recently that I saw the film that started it all and after watching it again I feel even more strongly about the problems I have with it. Mainly the fact that it’s just plain not interesting for the first 3/4 of the movie. It basically serves as a set up for the character of Max going into the ¬†far superior sequel. Such a setup is pretty unnecessary for the series since it doesn’t offer any more depth into the post-apocalyptic world and all of Max’s backstory is frankly kind of boring.

Personally I appreciate the vagueness of the history of this world, and while you do get more information in the other films, they don’t feel the need to spell it out for you. This is one of those instances where I’m definitely more appreciative of what the filmmakers were able to accomplish on such little money than I am with the film itself. Besides, without it we wouldn’t have an awesome sequel or a cheesy but fun sequel to the sequel (with Tina Turner!).

Grade: B+