Dying Time

Beyond Thunderdome is of two worlds, or two perspectives on what civilization might look like after an apocalyptic event. The unusually cast Tina Turner sees the restoration as a violent action, where men duel over their petty squabbles while gathering pig crap for fuel. On the other half, there’s the unbroken idealism from children who believe cities still stand and will, per their prophecy, once again function as they once did.

An anti-Lord of the Flies plays out through this script once Mel Gibson’s Max stumbles onto the children’s camp. The allegorical evil happens under the watch of adults; the kids keep their kind in control, the first positive thought in the Mad Max series and to date, the only one too.

Beyond Thunderdome loses significant strength in widening the appeal

The goal is commercialization with this sequel, aiming to brandish Mad Max in front of young teens, much in the way RoboCop and others were transformed from vicious adult satire to Saturday morning cartoon fare. There’s more money for the studio that way, but the resulting film never successfully balances the harsh surrealism in Barter Town and easier tonality of the Spielberg-ian children. Beyond Thunderdome loses significant strength in widening the appeal.

While the violence relents and the crass thematic worldview dissipates, Beyond Thunderdome’s greatest loss is the seemingly unpolished action. Beyond Thunderdome looks overly choreographed, lacking an improvisational feel that gave Mad Max 2’s wild, dangerous climax a lasting appeal. Now kids slide down food chutes, and as a main attraction, Gibson brawls with someone inside the Thunderdome like a puppet on (literal) strings. Compared to the physical rawness of the two films prior, Beyond Thunderdome’s clash is more balletic, even ridiculous.

There is a vehicular-based finale, and for Max, this caps the character’s grieving as he makes a conscious decision to care for someone other than himself. That’s nuance missing from the rest of Beyond Thunderdome, and the cars slamming into one another can’t compare to Mad Max 2’s collisions. Much as the opening act inside Bartertown aims for scale, using US funding for the first time, it’s as if that expanded budget went toward set construction rather than a blistering road fight. Of the four (so far) movies in this franchise, this is the low point.


Another visual winner that begins with a fresh 4K scan, the sharpness immediately stands out in Beyond Thunderdome. Being a higher budget production, there’s more to see other than desert sands and dried out crevices (but it has those too). Barter Town’s rotting metals keep the imagery constantly textured, whether it’s rust or dirt. Facial texture stands out equally to the leather costumes. Consistent, resolved grain never looks digital, rather always film-esque.

Beyond Thunderdome isn’t as deep in terms of black levels by way of the original cinematography. Exposure runs overly high, sapping intensity, and avoiding pure black. HDR spices the contrast a touch, adding intensity to the highlights, although this is a drearier film than its predecessors. Opportunities to put highlights on blast are few. Sparks and flames are the brightest elements.

Drearier color skews warm, offset by the blues in Tina Turner’s home. The palette doesn’t stretch far beyond that; true saturated primaries are rare. Denser hues makes this more attractive compared to the Blu-ray however, even if it’s not substantial.


Inconsistent performance dims this Atmos track. Dialog varies from total clarity to unintelligibly scratchy. Overall, this betters Mad Max 2’s atrocious fidelity. Plus, Beyond Thunderdome sounds all natural, minus the obviously added effects. The soundstage fills generously, stretching through to the rears organically. Inside the Thunderdome, the cheering crowd spills out into the surrounds and heights, the latter making total sense given the audience covers the cage. Underground in the pig farm, there’s a persistent droning of factory work, snorting hogs, and clanging metal.

The subwoofer isn’t quite as prominent, but it’s important to note opportunities don’t present themselves often either given the combat is more personally focused. Gunshots send out a hearty boom, enough to deliver a small shaking.



Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


A more mainstream sequel, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome lacks the nuance and action pedigree of its predecessors, if still delivering on ’80s era fantasy.

User Review
2.5 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 52 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *