Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Featured In Issue 178, August 2013

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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George Miller & George Ogilvie
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is the third part to the Australian futuristic cult tale. Mad Max (Gibson) is the title hero who once again takes on the out-of-control merciless barbarians of the post-nuclear future. Only this time, he becomes the savior of a tribe of children. Turner is Aunty Entity, the powerful dominatrix who seeks Max as a tool to strengthen her hold on Barter Town and the Thunderdome arena. The Mad Max style remains intact, with loads of visionary chase scenes, magnificent costumes, and scrap metal vehicles. (Gary Reber)

The only special features is a theatrical trailer.

First reviewed in Issue 9, the LaserDisc picture was severely recomposed at 2.50:1, while the DVD was composed at 2.45:1 in the anamorphic and letterbox formats. None of the releases actually properly displayed the picture at the 2.35:1 Panavision® scope aspect ratio. The LaserDisc picture quality was excellent, though, the DVD anamorphic component video version reviewed in Issue 25, with fully saturated color, was the preferred presentation. But images on the DVD appeared slightly more orange hued, and blacks were a bit brownish rather than deep black as they are on the LaserDisc. Nonetheless, the DVD looked richer in chroma fidelity and sharper and more detailed compared to the LaserDisc. This newly remastered 2.39:1 1080p AVC Blu-ray picture is the new reference, with a warm, more faithful color palette and deep blacks. Resolution is excellent as well. (Gary Reber)

Originally released theatrically in 70mm with 6-track sound, this is presumably the basis for the 5.1 mix created for DVD and for the remastered DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack. It's an impressive and active surround mix, especially for a film from 1985. Atmospherics and sound effects such as desert winds, spectators surrounding Thunderdome, and the chant of the children reacting to their leaders enlivens the soundscapes of Bartertown. Maurice Jarre's score perfectly blends and at times becomes indistinguishable from sound effects. The theme is dominated by percussion that sounds like mallets on steel, which serve as elements of a sonic subtext. The dialogue intelligibility is greatly improved. With fortified bass and a wider soundstage presence, this is the new sonic reference. (Gary Reber)