Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

A Review of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Director: George Miller

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, George Shevtsov, Lachy Hulme

Although it has some brilliant moments, spectacular and only sporadically exhilarating is a befitting description of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. But the film’s few fine moments come and go without always being convincing in terms of staging or placing them within a flow of a saga.

The film’s creation of a world takes second place to or is completely overshadowed by the mythos of George Miller’s universe built over four movies that span forty-five years.

For example, it takes almost two and a half hours for the origin story of Imperator Furiosa alone – making Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga longer than any other picture included into this famous post-apocalyptic war drama franchise. However, this is not necessarily the only thing that makes the whole enterprise feel heavy. There is also the issue about some characters not getting as much play as they should get.

Furiosa action spans more than ten years. While Fury Road lasted just three days as an action movie. So it’s no wonder why at its most basic level this film does not have consistent rhythm.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has an episodic pace to its storytelling. It bounces between intensely whippy and dully expected as it shifts from being sumptuously mounted to being simply series upon series of disconnected set pieces which do not add up to something meaningful. This runs through all possible extremes, leaving behind some gaps that do defy any attempts to fix them back together – or ignore those gaps.

Since Fury Road mesmerized audiences nearly ten years ago, people have been eagerly waiting for this sequel. However, despite its stunning scene with the greatest impact occurring at the halfway point and lasting around 15 minutes or so, none of such scenes are in fact worth all hype surrounding this movie.

In collaboration with co-writer Nico Lathouris, Miller never shies away from giving Furiosa as she deserves – a story that takes her from being an innocent but brave village girl to the point she has channeled all her anger and thirst for revenge, and is now able to give a run for their money to the men who wage war around her.

Anya Taylor-Joy is so dynamically vital yet controlled in her central role that even at the mention of Charlize Theron’s name in connection with Fury Road, Taylor-Joy does not come across as someone who would wilt under pressure of succeeding such a hard act. No, she doesn’t follow. She makes new tracks.

Chris Hemsworth portrays Warlord Dementus, a bearded leader of a marauding biker gang with flowing hair who occasionally shows his gentle side through the teddy bear he carries around as a reminder of his dead daughter – exactly as you’d expect.

Lachy Hulme, replacing Hugh Keays-Byrne who departed the previous film as Immortan Joe fights a running war with Dementus, leader Citadel, powerful settlement of fighters that were pursuing Furiosa in Fury Road. Dementus and Immortan Joe’s world are models of places paying for sins of men past and present including Gastown which is the second fortress of Wasteland and Bullet Farm which is the third fortress; they fight for the few resources available – water and fuel.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is spectacular but only sporadically exhilarating. However, these moments come or go without always being underlined in the manner they are staged or put within, and against the ‘flow’ of this saga.

The mythos here outweighs any world-building that may have taken place.

It takes longer than any other movie in a post-apocalyptic war drama franchise to recount Imperator Furiosa’s origin story; it lasts for about two hours and twenty four minutes – but that might not be its only burden anyway. This is also due to some characters not receiving enough play.

Over this decade-and-a-half span, you will find Furiousa featuring an assortment of action scenes. This was contrary to what happened in Fury Road where three days were occupied by action alone. It could be argued that this led to inconsistency in rhythm of this film at its most basic level.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga has disjointed pacing. It veers between insanely whippy and drably predictable as it oscillates from being dazzlingly mounted to just “one damn set-piece after another” having nothing to say together at all. It covers the whole spectrum, leaving some holes which can’t be filled or ignored.

There was much anticipation for this follow-up to Fury Road which had worked its magic almost a decade ago. From the middle of the film, it lasts for about 15 minutes. However, despite the best efforts of all concerned, it does not always meet these expectations set up by its action sequences.

Miller and his co-screenwriter Nico Lathouris have depicted several turning points in Furiosa’s life – when she was still an innocent and gutsy village girl, when she began to turn her anger and thirst for revenge into a weapon capable of taking on all those warring men around her.

Just like in Fury Road, Anya Taylor-Joy so incredibly energetic and controlled as the central character that even Charlize Theron images flash across our minds, she is not someone who can wilt under the pressure of a difficult act to follow. She doesn’t follow anything. She blazes her own trail.

Warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) is a bearded and long- maned leader of a marauding horde of bikers with Teddy bear which he carries for his late daughter.

Dementus’ running war with Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme who has replaced dead Hugh Keays-Byrne), the Citadel’s leader, is what happened after those fighters were pursuing Furiosa from Fury Road. Because there are two other fortresses: Gastown being the second fortress and the third one called Bullet Farm near them but this world created by Dementus and Joe Morten is just perfect samples of places paying off for men’s crimes committed years ago and presently too along with their blood thirst for water and fuel more than any other resource that is scarce worldwide.

And it was only when her machete-wielding mother perished in a horrible manner fighting desperately to preserve Furiosa, that she would fight to keep this secret until it was time for her to take vengeance herself.

The emotional stake in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga isn’t high because her quest to find a way back home leads us through too many side tracks. By the time she faces off against Dementus demanding “my childhood” or “give me my mother back”, however, it becomes clear that this film no longer surprises anybody.

All the time you know there’ll be a showdown. It occurs far too late in terms of narrative arc. Last lines spoken by Furiosa and Dementus do sum up the story but music or sounds drown out some dialogue moments where we read lips instead of hearing the lines.

Another character not given much screen time in this movie is Tom Burke. Furiosa’s partner Praetorian Jack played by this actor disappears from the film with no traces of the love story hinted at between these two characters.

Most of its warriors like bikes, war rig and other moving contraptions that come and go are momentary flashes. Many of them make an impression is their respective stray little pockets although they do aren’t linked with each other in completely meaningful ways.

Many Mad Max die-hards will be satisfied here, but those who expect more from George Miller will feel cheated. The Mad Max saga is insane but lacks what propelled Fury Road which made it mad enough.

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