Mad Max

Beyond Thunderdome

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1985 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 102 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Biographies
Production Notes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director George Miller
George Ogilvie

Warner Brothers
Starring Mel Gibson
Tina Turner
Case Snapper
RRP $29.95 Music Maurice Jarre

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No

Plot Synopsis

    Many years ago, when I first saw this movie, I enjoyed it considerably more than I did this time around. Perhaps it is because this story is a significant departure from the original Mad Max concept, or perhaps it is because I am older and wiser.

    The movie can be roughly divided into three sections which are only loosely tied together; Bartertown, The Children In The Crack, and Final Chase Sequence. The plot and motivations of the characters take a distinct back seat to the action sequences in this movie.

    Mel Gibson is Mad Max, an ex-cop living in a post-apocalyptic world. He arrives in Bartertown, bereft of everything but his skills. Bartertown is run by the tough Aunty Entity (Tina Turner), who desires the Master Blaster (Angelo Rossitto and Paul Larsson) to be eliminated, a job Max takes, but fails to complete. He is cast out into the desert, and eventually arrives at The Crack, where he is mistaken for a saviour by a group of children.

    The world of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is filled with odd characters, and it is refreshing to be able to recognise so many Australian faces amongst them; Jedediah the flying jalopy pilot (Bruce Spence), The Collector (Frank Thring), and Ironbar (Angry Anderson) are the stand-outs. Nonetheless, I found myself strangely unsatisfied by this third installment in the Mad Max franchise.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is barely acceptable, even given the vintage of the movie.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was acceptably sharp and clear, though not particularly so. There is more graininess in this picture than is the norm these days. Considerable amounts of this movie take place under very low lighting conditions, and shadow detail is lacking in these scenes, even though blacks were quite black. This is more a reflection of the film stocks used in the 1980s than any particular deficit in the transfer. No low level noise interfered with the picture.

    The colours were rendered appropriately, with a predominantly brown patina.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of moderate degrees of aliasing, but this was never particularly bad. The opening titles and end credits shimmered somewhat, and I was worried that this would carry through to the movie itself, but this was not the case. I suspect this has as much to do with the relative lack of sharpness of this transfer as anything else. There is some film weave and judder during the titles and the end credits as well, but this is not a problem during the movie itself. Film artefacts were variable in their extent, from quite severely present early on to almost non-existent. Overall, there were a lot of film artefacts, even taking into account the vintage of this transfer. Fortunately, they were never particularly distracting.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded. The Italian soundtrack is incorrectly credited as being in mono on the DVD packaging. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was usually easy to understand, except for a few times during high ambient noise scenes. Here and there, some distortion marred the peaks of the dialogue, but this was never particularly annoying.

    Dialogue seemed in sync throughout the entire movie.

    The music by Maurice Jarre was virtually omnipresent and suitably post-apocalyptic, adding nicely to the overall effect of the movie. At times, it was very percussive, which suited the on-screen action at these times.

    The surround channels were moderately used for music and for special effects, though this tended to be somewhat uneven in its nature. Overall, the soundtrack was not particularly enveloping.

    The .1 channel was used on occasion, but not heavily.



    The main menu is plain but functional.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced and with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are extensive and worth reading. I noted in particular that Frank Thring's biography had an incorrect picture associated with it.

Production Notes

    These are also very extensive and interesting to read.


    Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome disappointed me overall. I felt the story was weak, and the transfer, whilst being acceptable, was not great.

    The video quality is acceptable for the age of the movie, but only just.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras present are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
22nd March 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer