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Mad Max Trilogy(1979-1985)
See individual titles for their synopses. NOTE: This release of "Mad Max" omits the DVD version and all special features unique to DVD.
For more about Mad Max Trilogy and the Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray release, see Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray Review published by Michael Reuben on June 4, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Virginia Hey, Tina Turner, Joanne Samuel, Syd Heylen
Directors: George Miller, George Ogilvie
This Blu-ray release includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray Review
Max x 3
Reviewed by Michael Reuben, June 4, 2013
For those who love special packaging, or those new to the Mad Max phenomenon, Warner Home Video offers all three of the original films starring Mel Gibson in a single Blu-ray case packed inside a metal tin. The first film is the same disc previously released by MGM in 2010; the second is a Warner remaster; and the third is new to Blu-ray.
For a complete discussion of Mad Max, please see the Mad Max Blu-ray review by Casey Broadwater. For a complete discussion of The Road Warrior, please see The Road Warrior Blu-ray review. For a complete discussion of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, please see the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome Blu-ray review.
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray, Video Quality
Mad Max 3.5/5 (reviewed by Casey Broadwater) Considering the film's age and the fact that it wasn't exactly well funded—before The Blair Witch Project, it held the record for highest box office-to-budget ratio—Mad Max looks quite strong in high definition, arriving on Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer, framed closely to its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The latter is important, as Mad Max was actually the first Australian film to ever be shot with widescreen anamorphic lenses, which no doubt contributes to the film's clarity here. Fine detail is much more pronounced than in earlier standard definition releases, particularly when it comes to the texture of the actors' stubbly, sweaty, weather-beaten faces. The transfer also nicely reproduces the film's color palette, which contrasts the vivid primaries of the police interceptors with the comparatively bleak landscape of the Australian outback. Skin tones are natural, explosions ripple outward in bright orange plumes, and the scene in the forest is lush and green. Black levels are perhaps not as deep as they could be—some darker scenes have a slightly grayish quality—but contrast never really suffers. The only real distraction is the occasional print damage. In certain sequences, color fluctuates mildly and yellowish stains come and go (along with the expected white flecks). The damage isn't too prevalent though, and the film's grain structure is wholly intact. The Road Warrior 4/5 Warner Home Video previously released The Road Warrior on Blu-ray in 2007. J.C. Ribera's review of that edition can be found here. The key point of discussion was a change in color timing from previous home video versions toward the cooler end of the spectrum. Initial speculation suggested that this new 2013 remaster might have reverted to the earlier color timing, but in direct comparison to the 2007 Blu-ray, it's evident that this is the same transfer with identical colors. (For an example, see screenshots 10 and 11; the shot from 2007 is labeled as such.) What Warner has done for this Blu-ray edition is re-author the disc with the AVC codec, which has replaced VC-1 as its preferred compression scheme, include lossless audio and a larger selection of alternate language and subtitle tracks, and place the result on a BD-50 instead of a BD-25 (although it should be noted that only 23.7 Gb of the disc's capacity has been used). The average bitrate is now 25.63 Mbps, as compared to 21.94 on the previous disc. Both discs, of course, are 1080p. The result of the remastering visually is a slight (very slight) improvement in fine detail, which was already quite good on the 2007 disc. Owners of large front-projection systems are those most likely to benefit from the improvement; anyone with a direct-view TV will have to look hard to spot the difference. As Mr. Ribera noted in his review of the earlier disc, there are portions of Road Warrior that will never look spectacular. In the Blu-ray commentary, cinematographer Dean Semler comments on the limitations of the era's film stocks, describes "pushing" the film in the lab and notes his tendency to underlight for fear of overexposure. Some of the grainiest night scenes, especially when the blacks shade to gray, result from these issues, which today would have been fixed on a digital intermediate. But these are artifacts of the age in which Road Warrior was made, and as Semler and Miller laughingly note, filmmakers in that era had to work close and "get dirty". The very conditions that created these analog artifacts are inseparable from the working conditions that made Road Warrior what it is. So, as far as image is concerned, this new edition of Road Warrior offers marginal improvements that will loom larger as the image is expanded for display. It's in the sonic arena that the real benefits lie. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 4/5 There has been some question as to whether Warner's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is based on a new transfer or an older transfer done for the DVD released in 2003. I can't say (and I no longer have my DVD for comparison), but the Blu-ray is quite good. In scene after scene, fine detail is apparent that I haven't been able to make out since the film was in theaters. A particularly noteworthy example is Savannah Nix's recitation of history shortly after Max awakens among the children; she points to objects and paintings on walls that are barely illuminated but are now fully visible. Additional fine detail can also be seen in the livestock pens of Underworld and the night scenes of Bartertown. The image has deep blacks and very good shadow detail in scene after scene. There's a visible grain pattern that appears to be undisturbed by digital tampering, although light video noise is also evident in some scenes. The film's color palette appears to be about right, with a strong contrast between the yellow and reddish sands of the desert and the cool blues and greens of the children's oasis. Bartertown and especially Underworld are full of dirty browns and reds. If anyone who still has the DVD observes a shift in palette or color temperature such as occurred with Road Warrior, please send me a PM. At a healthy average bitrate of 29.63 Mbps, the Blu-ray easily handles the challenging action scenes and complex environments, without noticeable compression issues.
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Mad Max 3.5/5 (reviewed by Casey Broadwater) Mad Max's U.S. theatrical release was mangled with a quite comical dub, wherein all Aussie actors' voices—even Mel Gibson's—were replaced with American accents. You can still hear that version here—via a mono Dolby Digital mix—but thankfully, it's not the default. The main offering is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that's been remastered to give the film some extra immersive kick. And, for the most part, it works. With all of the souped-up cars and bikes peeling out, zipping off, and roaring past, it's no surprise that the rear speakers are mostly used for loud, cross-channel pans anytime a vehicle rumbles by and other related sounds, like sirens. It's all satisfying, but it's clear from the stockiness of the movements that surround sound wasn't originally part of the film's audio design. (Although, I do particularly like the whip-like kraaaackow of the Mad Max logo hitting the screen during the title sequence.) Brian May's score complements the on-screen action and sounds clean and dynamically rich. My sole complaint is that, when forced to compete with engine noises, the dialogue can sometimes sound soft and slightly muffled. The Road Warrior 4/5 The Road Warrior was the first Australian film mixed with a Dolby stereo soundtrack, and it was reportedly also released in a 70mm blow-up with a 6-track mix. Whatever source was used, the film has had a 5.1 soundtrack on home video since its first DVD release in 1997. The earlier Blu-ray offered that soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1, but this new edition has lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1, and it is impressive. The roar of engines has a real bottom end to it now. So does Brian May's unforgettable score, which is essential to a soundtrack that goes for long stretches without dialogue. Lossless treatment cannot add more refinement to the orchestra's mid-section than is already there in the original recording, but the top end never sounds brittle or fatiguing. The rear channels are not used for major effects, because the sound design didn't envision discrete rear channel effects, but they help broaden the front sound stage, enlarging the sense of space. The spare dialogue, which frequently has to compete with many other sounds, is clearer and more distinct than I have ever heard it before. This is the first version of Road Warrior in which I could understand the Gyro Captain's every word. I could also make out more of Pappagallo's speech off-camera when he is addressing the colonists, while Max is getting acquainted with the Feral Kid. Although I have not done an A/B comparison, I suspect that Warner didn't just re-encode the mix, but they also may have "sweetened" it as well. Whatever they did, the result is the best-sounding version of Road Warrior I have ever heard. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 4/5 Thunderdome received a 70mm release with 6-track sound, which was presumably the basis for the 5.1 mix created for DVD and presented here in DTS-HD MA 5.1. It's an impressive and active mix, especially for a film from 1985. The rush of desert winds fill the room, as does the roar of the spectators surrounding Thunderdome and the chant of the children reacting to their leaders. Bartertown is alive with the bustle of activity, much of it probably illicit. One doesn't have to smell Underworld (fortunately), but the squeals of its main inhabitants are piercing. Special mention must be made of Maurice Jarre's score, which is one of my personal favorites. Unlike scores that are meant to dominate a film's soundtrack, Jarre's was written to blend into Thunderdome's, at times becoming almost indistinguishable from sound effects. For example, his theme for Bartertown is dominated by percussion that sounds like mallets on steel; it could easily be mistaken for construction in progress. If you listen to the soundtrack album, you may be surprised at just how much music the film contains. Once you know the themes, you can pick them out as a kind of sonic subtext. They are clearer in this presentation of the film than in any other I have heard. The dialogue benefits greatly from the lossless treatment. Max, as usual, says little, and many of Bartertown's inhabitants speak in exaggeratedly theatrical tones. But the children in the wasteland can be hard to understand, because they speak quickly, use words and expressions of their own invention, and often have a heavy accent. When I saw the film theatrically, I could barely understand a word, and subsequent presentations on laserdisc and DVD did little to improve the situation. With the Blu-ray's soundtrack, I was able to understand most of it.
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Please see individual reviews for discussion of extras.
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Essential viewing. Highly recommended, either singly or as a set.
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Mad Max Trilogy Heading to Blu-ray - February 25, 2013
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced that it will release on Blu-ray The Mad Max Trilogy. The must-own collection, which will be available in limited premium tin packaging, will be available for purchase online and in stores across the nation on June ...
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Mad Max Trilogy Blu-ray Screenshots
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