Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
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George Miller is back with his post-apocalyptic wasteland full of despots, desperation and bloody vengeance, in a roaring prequel that does not try to recreate the magnificence of its predecessor. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a vastly different animal from the non-stop practical effects adrenaline rush experience of Fury Road. A more usual story, told in chapters, frames an epic battle over limited resources and grotesque villains fighting for action-packed supremacy. What’s missing? The star of this movie Anja Taylor-Joy is almost speechless in a very subdued performance; she is the weakest link in the film having hardly any dialogue and far less screen time than was expected. That may have worked for Tom Hardy or Mel Gibson in past installments but not now here.

An intense motorcycle chase paves way for a journey that will last many years. Mary Jo Bassa(Charlee Fraser) goes after the biker horde who kidnapped her precious daughter. Young Furiosa (Alyla Browne) isn’t a meek captive; she does everything possible to stop their advance. Furiosa and her mother are protecting a secret at any cost. The scavengers cannot find out where their prosperous community is.
Dementus — Chris Hemsworth with perhaps the best prosthetic nose ever seen on cinema screen strapped to his crotch by means of teddy bear — doesn’t know what to make of his scrappy little prisoner; her teeth are all intact, skin flawless without signs of any radiation poisoning yet she refuses to say anything at all.
Where did she come from? Dementus ruminates while nibbling on human blood sausage. This must be one place where there’s plenty, as hilariously explained by The History Man (George Shevtsov), though filthy snarling gang of bike riders whose bodies are maimed have no idea what he means.

The search for the origin of Furiosa leads to thoughts of a better prize for the talkative murderer. The wasteland runs on fuel. Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme), his moronic sons (Nathan Jones, Josh Helman) and an army of exploding war boys control the greatest resource of this waste. Dementus plans to take over Gas Town at all costs. After which he can attack Citadel and seize Immortan Joe’s stronghold that is composed of water, virgins and breast milk.
Miller(some director of Mad Max franchise, The Witches of Eastwick, Happy Foot etc.) is clearly world-building for future instalments here. He shows us the cruel cunning wasteland politics with Game Of Thrones-style machinations. Immortan Joe is literally a king in some high castle. Dementus couldn’t even get close enough to be destroyed himself; he will need to take what Immortan Joe thinks valuable in order to have a negotiation with him.At the same time, however, Dementus isn’t the only warlord who wants Joe’s big chair.

In Miller’s horrifying dystopia loyalty must be bought or enforced by fear. Those unwilling face a torturous death as punishment expiation from their sins’ through intense pain path out of this world Furiesa has learnt it again at great cost; it has made her into stone and determination. She knows what drives them – Alyla Browne is stunning here as young Furiosa watching every incident leave its mark upon her and bringing her closer to who she becomes.Or perhaps it would’ve been totally different but arguably better if it had stayed solely on Browne throughout without any flash forwards

Furiosa has a very important production design which is key to the story’s set up. Colin Gibson, who won an Oscar for Fury Road needs more space on his shelf. The film uses amazing sets and art direction to reveal how the bad settlements in the waste are economically arranged.

Meanwhile, at construction yards scenes of mechanics building insane vehicles, bullet farm workers and Gas Town intricate defenses all clash against the lush greenery of Citadel gardens and the virgin’s vault that is so stainless. We see human remnants’ infrastructure. Dementus and Immortan Joe are not simply fighting for survival leftovers. In fact, they are bullies in tangible affluence whose playground is hellish.

In addition, Jenny Beavan (Costume Designer for King’s Speech; Cruella) once again steps up her game after winning an Oscar for Fury Road. Some of those cannibal mobs have sensational wasteland fashion while standing out among Dementus and Immortan Joe themselves. It is not like other movies where background characters just look like some generic sea of tattered rags, chains and leather; you can actually recognize them as bit players. And this is quite something especially if we remember that some scenes involve dozens if not hundreds extras at times! She deserves accolades; she has been very creative with her work.

Miller is still a master when it comes to action scene dynamics. There are loads of chases here as well. Each one is different visually as well as having its own narrative arc. Praetorian Jack’s (Tom Burke), deliveries of Immortan Joe’s fuel and bullets will kick your ass or break a foot – take your pick! War boys fight off merciless attacks from every direction while Jack’s behemoth tanker plows through Dementus’ bikers like human confetti jammed into that giant grinder box while Miller sets up his camera above them with editing choices that make our hearts race faster than a horse.

Well, this is a negative aspect that greatly detracts from the film’s incredible accomplishments. Browne, as young Furiosa, seems more real and relevant to the story. Unfortunately, Taylor-Joy does not add anything and is thus irrelevant in this role which could have been one of her defining moments in her acting career. The character of adult Furiosa only appears in the second half of the film. She hardly talks at all. This reticence is explained but then disappears as we approach the climax.

Moreover, during its most visceral action scenes Furiosa engages in some huge set pieces but she also wears black face paint and is masked up for these parts. That’s actually a stunt double hanging under war rig with her life on thin ice. Miller must have removed her lines or cut out scenes once he had realized that she lacked Theron’s imposing nature. Taylor-Joy never really becomes Furiosa believably enough. She simply doesn’t fit into it well enough – has been miscast here completely! However, Hemsworth goes nuts with Dementus: he’s hilarious; so much fun to watch even if his performance lacks weighty depth!

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