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"Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga" is more character than brute force

Updated: Jun 3

Director George Miller's latest cinematic experience, "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga," is a visceral, emotional, and visually stunning ride that will leave you with lingering perceptions of what you watched. This prequel to the acclaimed "Mad Max: Fury Road" contains all the trademark imagery and narrative style you expect from the franchise, from snappy editing and sped-up action to beautiful yet violent cinematography and filmmaking techniques.

This installment of the franchise not only pays homage to the original series but also explores new themes and characters. Directed by George Miller, the film takes us on a journey with Furiosa, played first by Alyla Browne and then by Anya Taylor-Joy, as she navigates a post-apocalyptic world filled with danger and uncertainty. Survival is her only goal until revenge takes precedence.

From the opening scenes, there is both familiarity and newness. A young Furiosa is kidnapped by members of a gang led by Dr. Dementus (Chris Hemsworth, More on him later). Well-crafted Mad Max-style filmmaking ensues, and without giving away too many spoilers, a young adult, Furiosa, has to navigate the post-apocalyptic wasteland, biding her time until she can release her vengeance.

Its predecessor's (Fury Road) film pacing was relentless. I purposely didn't rewatch Fury Road before this viewing to go in as fresh as possible. I did recognize that Fury Road was a more ferocious film. However, Furiosa does spend more time on character development. More than any other installment. It's a first for a franchise with notoriously little character development and a protagonist that doesn't say much. The protagonist's only concern is survival or revenge, sometimes both simultaneously.

That said, the action scenes in Furiosa are just as impressive as Fury Road. But more patient. Extended shot lengths are peppered throughout the film, giving it a slightly more mature feeling. Beneath the surface of the film's high-octane action lies a deeper exploration of themes such as social status, survival, and redemption. The film's score is also less brooding than Fury Road, adding to the more refined feeling you'll get from this installment.

Chris Hemsworth's Dr. Dementus is introduced fairly early into the film and chews up the screen in a great way. He has a great accent and wonderfully demented speeches, and he uses his heavily made-up face, equipped with a prosthetic nose, exceptionally well. If there is any downside to this movie, it is that there is an extended portion of the film where Dr. Dementus is absent. I found myself waiting and wanting for his return. Much like Heath Ledger's Joker, The film is still good without his presence, but it's so much better when he's there.

By no means does that mean Taylor-Joy is a slouch. She's not. She's strong in all the right ways and was a great choice for the role, as her usage of her eyes drives home the character. But truthfully, much like Batman and The Joker, Furiosa and Dr. Dementus complete one another.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga impressively balances action and emotion. The film's production design is predictably excellent. The attention to detail in the design of the characters' vehicles, costumes, and sets is fantastic, immersing you in the world of the film.

Furiosa, the character, and the movie have many strengths. It's a thrilling and emotionally resonant ride. While it's not the punch to the gut that Fury Road is, it's a fuller, more thought-provoking film. One that left me thinking about character and not just action. If you're a fan of the franchise, the pace is a throwback, more akin to Road Warrior than Fury Road, but you'll still dig it.

8/10 "...much like Batman and The Joker, Furiosa and Dr. Dementus complete one another. "



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