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WHY BEYOND THUNDERDOME KICKED ASS...
(...and rocked the world !!! )

 

The chase scene was a big way to pay homage to Mad Max 2's hugely popular final run. At the same time, it was a successful attempt to work out new clichés for the Mad Max franchise.
It worked. In fact, the "Junkmobiles" - driven by Aunty Entity's vicious Imperial Guards - became legendary. These special vehicles soon influenced many following post-apocalyptic movies and comics. The chase sequence is also full of adrenaline, twisted irony and dark'n' wit humour. Its basical concept is a strong link to the car culture that permeated the earlier two movies. 
However, it wasn't intended to overdo the MM2 chase scene. If you thought otherwise, you missed the point. It was simply a great action-packed tribute. In the cathartic confrontation of the run, Max is ready to face Auntie's troopers as the valiant M.F.P policeman he is. 

                     


Before the making of MMBT, Mel Gibson was excited about returning to the Mad Max role for the third time. He gave his own contribution to the original screenplay by choosing to keep his character alive at the end of the movie. In fact, Miller had written a much darker ending where Max gave himself as a final sacrifice. 

Later, in a tragic helicopter accident, Byron Kennedy died. This caused Gibson to feel enormous mental pressure. According to various sources, the terrible loss of Kennedy started a personal crisis for the legendary actor. 

During filming of "Mrs. Soffel" on location in Toronto in 1984, Mel was cast opposite Diane Keaton. Gibson ran a red light while driving drunk and collided with another car. He was arrested and fined $300.

Mel Gibson hit his personal low-point during filming MMBT. His state of mind was so deranged that - a time in which he was as drunk as a lord - Mel declared to a PEOPLE magazine reporter: " I don't want to be doing this interview. I don't even want to be doing this film. It's a piece of s--t. " 

In reflection, everyone agrees his third performance as Max was the best one of the series.
Ultimately it was Tina Turner who helped to save Mel from the damaging effects of alcohol.
Halfway through filming, Turner handed Mel a picture of his face with a rude message written across it. Even today Mel concedes : "It was quite a loving gesture and it really made me stop and think."
The actor himself still recalls it: "She handed me a photo of myself one day. She'd written on it "Don't f*** this up". I thought, "What did she mean?" It wasn't too long before I figured it out."  Ironically, in the movie it was Max who made Tina's character stop and think. Proving once again, another miracle of this wonderful epic!

And if I have to say it all, Mel himself lately declared:
"(on Thunderdome set) That reporter annoyed me so much that I said everything awful I could, just to be contrary " - U.S.A Weekly Dec.1988


The movie's basic plot was partially suggested by Terry Hayes, the same screenwriter of "Payback" (1998). Hayes had the idea to add the lost children to the story. This was very similar to the story described in the 1954 novel "LORD OF THE FLIES" (author: William Golding, 1911-1993). In this case a host of British boys had survived a big airplane crash, then had take shelter in a mysterious tropical isle where eventually they become tribal. Golding's tale is set in a futuristic war period too. Time after time as civilization begins to decline, some of these boys went pretty wild. These renegades become totally dedicated to the hunt for pigs (!) by chanting and waging ferocious struggles to affirm their supremacy upon the rest of the secluded group.
Hayes further developed Golding's sci-fi theme, but in a very original way. This development was morphed by sketching a new mythology for his young, pacific tribe of desert dwellers, who are desperately waiting for their messiah: the man named "Captain Walker". Additionally, the children's costumes and their social organization are clearly inspired by the ancient Australian aborigines.



The messiah's name was FIRST noticed as a specific reference to the 1980's novel "RIDDLEY WALKER" (by author: Russell Hoban). This book followed another interesting post-apocalyptic timeline in which the English language has been modified by post-war surviving generations. By Miller's account, the title "Captain Walker" could have a fascinating, hidden symbolism: "Captain" could refer to the rank Max would have reached if the Main Force Patrol (and therefore society) was STILL active. "Walker" meaning "the one who walks"(= pedestrian) probably could underline Max's current situation. He was without a vehicle, and specifically his beloved V-8 Black Interceptor. This could have been a metaphor of that uneasiness the contemporary human culture feels when there is lack of technology. George Miller creates very effective symbolism here! 

For further information about "RIDDLEY WALKER", refer to the Russell Hoban official site, and exclusively to the section devoted to the novel :
http://www.ocelotfactory.com/hoban/riddley.html 


Tina Turner played the role of the so-called "ACID QUEEN" in the popular rock-opera movie from The Who, titled "TOMMY" (circa 1975). In this film there is a character named "Captain Walker". This Walker represents Tommy's father, and the story ultimately produces this particularly interesting quote:

" Captain Walker didn't come home, his unborn child will never know him. Believe him missing with a number of men. Don't expect to see him again "

Mmm? Despite this quote, thanks to MMBT we do know our cool Captain came back to his host of "children" :)

The name "Walker" has a complex threefold value that only Dr. George Miller could explain with clarity. No matter, Miller is a cinematic genius. No other words could describe this visionary giant.


At last but not the least, Tina's fave movies are: "The Road Warrior" (yeah!) and the scary paranormal thriller "Entity" (1983). I'm speechless. 


This is an intriguing excerpt taken from Helen McKay's compelling essay "A Glimpse Ahead: the Future of Storytelling" -  Text of an address to the Australian National Library, Canberra. October 1997. Copyright by Helen McKay.

Basically, it reports Miller's beautiful experience with Aborigines, while the crew and the directors were filming "Beyond Thunderdome". Bottom line: Max Rockatansky's character and saga are universal.

"George Miller the film-maker, found to his amazement that stories connect us through time and space. As his Mad Max films made their way around the planet, they seemed to resonate somehow, culture to culture. As he says in his article The Apocalypse and the Pig, "To the French they were post-modern, post-apocalyptic westerns and Max was a gunslinger. In Japan, he was an outlaw samurai. In Scandinavia, a lone Viking warrior." They were all examples of the `universal hero' myth which is the basis.

When he wanted to shoot one of the Mad Max movies at Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) in the mid 80s he discovered  something even more incredible. George says, " To the Aborigines of the Central Desert, this place - Kata Tjuta - is sacred. We were required to sit with the tribal elders of the Pitjantjatjara and present them with our story.

They had heard the story before. Many of its motifs and archetypes corresponded to some of their own. So here were the custodians of a culture 40,000 years old, and connections were being made."


A common misconception surrounds the movie "Waterworld" (1995; starring Kevin Costner). It's not similar to " The Road Warrior " (aka Mad Max 2) at all. "Waterworld" is obviously a rip-off of MMBT. All other thoughts of kinship are definitely wrong
First, the structure and the plot are practically the same ones of MMBT i.e. Introduction to the post-apocalypse world; enter the hero; the post-modern city portrait; a consequent action sequence; the hero embarks on a journey accompanied by other main characters; the hero's total redemption phase; the final action-packed scenes; the discovery of a new land to realize a better future; the hero's loneliness and attitude partially compromises the movie's positive ending. 
Second, "Waterworld" attempts to re-create Beyond Thunderdome's same weird rhythm, a well-done use of alternating sweet and hard tones. Both films even have the same deluxe, yet refined production supplied by the same director of photography, Dean Semler.
Ironically, the working title for MMBT was originally... "Desertworld". 
You still have doubts ??? !!!!!!!!!


Max's left eye was seriously damaged as depicted in the final scenes of  "THE ROAD WARRIOR".  Glaucoma, a disease of the eye marked by a gradual loss of vision, was the final result.

As time pasted into the years seen in "BEYOND THUNDERDOME", Max's left eye was nearly blind. Even the naturally blue colored iris changed to a blackened milky shade. The eyeball became stationary in an over-focused staring way.

To further Max's character development, Director Miller had Mel wear a contact lens to change the "damaged" eye's color. Miller has long been known to master the details of a story like no other. This attention to detail is part of his film-making genius. This eye color change was clearly noticed while watching the confrontation between Max and Aunty in the Penthouse (where Mel's face is more exposed) or when Max is speaking to Jedediah in the cave while intimidating him to drive the Transaviar plane.

Basically, that's how Miller suggested Max's handicap:

 

CAMERA SHOTS:
 
In the scene where Max's is filmed from his left (When Mad Max approaches The Collector in Bartertown's
entrance) you can see Mel keeping his left eye fully-opened and steady on what he's actually watching. This is to accentuate the stoic eye. Another connection to this theory is during the "Tell" scene: Slake gives Max a viewfinder. Perhaps Max's left eye is done for good because even Miller's camera focused just on Max's RIGHT eye as he looks through the two eye viewfinder to see "Tomorrow-morrow Land". 
 
NARRATIVE CLUES: 

This theory-thread continues in two more details relating to Max and his damaged eye. First, during his
"Gulag" banishment, a "Mardi-Gra" style carnival clown mask covered Max's face. Look closely, the left eye of the mask is even colored black.  And finally, during the "Tell" scene again , the Waiting Ones show Max a rock wall fresco of Capt. Walker saving the children as they ride on his outstretched wings/arms. Even Capt. Walker - presumably Max at this point - has a black patch covering his left eye, in pure Snake
Plissken-style.

 

 

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