FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA

★★★★

FAST AND FURIOSA

THEATRICAL
By Chris Dos Santos
22nd May 2024

'Mad Max' is considered to be one of the most influential films of all time. The original film released in 1979 grossed US$100 million on a budget of an estimated AU$400,000; it is still one of the most profitable films of all time. The film spawned three sequels with a 30-year gap between 'Beyond Thunderdome' and the groundbreaking 'Fury Road'. The 2015 film completely revolutionised the modern action film and brought the franchise into the 21st century, quite simply becoming the greatest action film of all time. During the making of 'Fury Road', director and screenwriter George Miller began writing backstories for all of the new characters, and the one for Furiosa turned into a full screenplay. Originally intended to shoot back-to-back, this never came to fruition - but now, almost 10 years later, a prequel to the landmark 'Fury Road' is hitting our screens.

'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' follows Imperator Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy, 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie', 'The Menu') from a young age (Alyla Browne, 'Three Thousand Years of Longing', 'Sting'). She was stolen from her mother (Charlee Fraser, 'Anyone But You') in the "Green Place", one of the only places left in Australia that has plants and running water. She was taken by the men of Dementus (Chris Hemsworth, 'Thor: Love and Thunder', 'Men in Black: International'), a warlord who hopes to take over the entire "Wasteland". Over the years, he keeps her alive in the hope she will take him to the "Green Place". They run into Immortan Joe (Lachy Hulme, 'Any Questions For Ben?', TV's 'Offspring') who rules the "Citadel" with his War Boys. Furiosa is traded so Dementus can run "The Gas Town", and from there she grows into the warrior we know her as in 'Fury Road'.

SWITCH: 'FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA' TRAILER 2

After 'Fury Road' was filmed primarily in Africa due to overly green Outback conditions, with only a few scenes being filmed in Australia (and like most Sydneysiders, literally down the road from me), 'Furiosa' returns the film to us... and became the most expensive film ever made here.

'Furiosa' is a sweeping epic. After the truly non-stop high-octane energy of 'Fury Road', this is a much slower pace than any of the previous entries in the franchise. This is the most backstory we have been given into this world, and it takes time to truly allow us to understand how this apocalyptic world works. I loved the slower the pace, and as a fan of this franchise I enjoyed the backstory we got to The Wasteland. The film covers Furiosa from a young girl right into her journey in 'Fury Road' - it’s an epic in the true sense of the world, a saga told in one movie.

We know these films to have huge action set pieces, and they are still present here and as glorious as ever. My only negative is this is the most CGI used in any 'Mad Max' film and there are points - especially when green screens were used - where it really stands out. This is a franchise where we have the expectation that everything is practical, so when it’s not it stands out more than your regular film. It never took me out of the film, but it did occur to me more than once so it warranted a mention. The car chase sequences are still jaw-dropping, and what they managed to pull off is gobsmacking.

Getting to have more time exploring this world and being captivated by it all, it's easy to say this is one of the best prequels of all time.

Once again Junkie XL, credited now as Tom Holkenborg, is scoring the film and he is brilliant with his music. Like 'Fury Road', this score makes me feel like I can run through several walls. I adore the film's score as much as the action scenes.

As mentioned, this is a long film. Taylor-Joy doesn’t show up until over an hour in, with the first half being focused on the young version of Furiosa. For me, the amount of ground the film has to cover absolutely worked, and I was engrossed from the jump. Getting to have more time exploring this world and being captivated by it all, it's easy to say this is one of the best prequels of all time. The challenge with 'Furiosa' is that it's following 'Fury Road', an unstoppable action film. The film is slower and spends a lot of time exploring the world, and I can see audiences expecting a different film here, but what they have achieved here is phenomenal and I loved getting to spend time really diving into the lore, like a good prequel should.

As always, Taylor-Joy is fantastic in the role. In a similar vein to Max, she doesn’t have much dialogue but you are with her, understanding every motive. She has a tougher job than Max; where he is the observer of the world, this film puts characters first, and she completely caries it. Hemsworth was also fantastic in the role, bringing more of the "camp" to the film while never pulling focus.

'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga' is worth the almost ten-year wait. It’s an entirely different beast to everything that's come before it, easily having the most dialogue compared to any previous entry. It’s the perfect world-building to this apocalyptic wasteland while still delivering on fantastic action set pieces the franchise is known for.

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