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Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

Year: 1985
Production Co: Kennedy Miller Productions
Director: George Miller
Producer: George Miller
Writer: George Miller
Cast: Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Robert Grubb, Bruce Spence, Frank Thring, Angry Anderson, Helen Buday
Not many fans of the original series liked this film, but I thought it had the Aliens effect, taking what was great about the original (post-apocalyptic style, Australia as character, great set pieces and design) and turning it way up.

After years as a drifter in an increasingly unhinged world bordering on savagery, Max is still the dark figure on the horizon and hero to nobody except those who need him.

When Max enters Bartertown trying to get his stolen gear back, the post-apocalypse version of a city, he becomes embroiled in the power-hungry antics of the enigmatic overseer, Aunty Entity (Turner). He fights the bizarre brains/brawn Master Blaster in Thunderdome, a very early satirical dig at everything from extreme sports to reality TV, and escapes into the desert again.

Max comes across a society of orphaned children who've had to fend for themselves. They believe him to be the long lost pilot of the downed passenger jet they barely remember stranding them in the desert, and with the help of a former nemesis, Max has to take the kids to safety and stay out of the clutches of Aunty Entity and her minions hell bent on recapturing him.

It's clever the way the kids remember certain things but don't remember why they do or what good it does them, such as holding up the primitive answer to a TV screen made out of sticks to tell their story or believing the jet half buried in the sand can still take them back to their parents.

The fight scenes and action are all done in some fantastic sets where you can see a vastly expanded budget courtesy of the American-backed production has gone to good use.

Apparently Warner Bros bought Miller off by promising him he could direct this film and Mad Max II so they could kick him off Contact. And yes, Savannah, the leader of the lost children, is Helen Buday, the vengeful wife from Rolf de Heer's Alexandra's Project.

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