I'm writing about this movie because its too awful to ignore. Part of the reason its too awful to ignore is that it hopes for it were so high. But in one of the great tragic cash-grabs of recent memory, George Miller went for the mainstream buck and in doing so, castrated his creation with a rusty steak knife and left it to die from infection in a sea of pig poop. His previous Mad Max effort, "The Road Warrior", took Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" and explored its contemporary possibilities. The result was a film that spoke to the fears engendered by the escalating nuclear showdown being played out at the time between the US and USSR and subtly (and not so subtly) showcased the shortcomings of both camps. Buttless chaps aside the film seemed as if it took place in a world that might actually happen. The wasteland was left to speak for itself and elements thrown into it to provide context for the action had an air of hodge-podge believability about them that didn't distract from the narrative.

Nothing about Thunderdome's post-apocalyptic world seems as if it would have even the slightest chance of ever coming to light. Everything is carefully and self-consciously assembled to look "post apocalyptic". There's not a dirty hair whose positioning hasn't been meticulously considered, not a ramshackle building that doesn't look like it passed Archie and Veronica's "ramshackle" test and not a brown-clad survivor of the nuclear war that doesn't look like he/she shops at "Nuclear Survivors R Us". Throw into the mix the unconvincing specter of the wasteland queen "Aunty Entity" (an unfortunate big role for the otherwise laudable Tina Turner), a 'tribe' of kids who have all the requisite post apocalyptic hi-tech-turned-low-tech gadgets and a rockem sockem car chase at the end that seems to exist simply because well, its a Mad Max movie, and you have one of the most overwrought, underwhelming and disappointing films of the entire decade. That it hit theaters only 2 years after Ridley Scott's sublime "Blade Runner" made 'post apocalyptic' comparisons inevitable; but there was no comparison. Scott understood to his core something Miller had touched on in The Road Warrior but seemed to have quickly forgotten: the real apocalypse of the (post) modern age is an apocalypse of the spirit and that even in a world populated by the dissolute everyone probably won't dress alike, talk alike, be overwhelmed by blood lust and adopt evil laughs.