Sunday, May 26, 2024

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga


Based on the characters created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the story of a young woman living in an apocalyptic desert wasteland as she is taken by a warlord whom she would get her revenge on years before she would meet Mad Max. Directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Nico Lathouris, the film is a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road as it relates to the character of Furiosa and how she would become this dangerous figure and future ally to Mad Max as both Anya Taylor-Joy and Alyla Browne portray her. Also starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Nathan Jones, John Howard, Angus Sampson, Charlee Fraser, and Lachy Hulme as Immortan Joe. Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a grand and astonishingly terrifying film from George Miller.

The film revolves around the titular character who gets abducted by a biker gang from her idyllic yet remote home as she becomes a prisoner to a warlord and later traded to another one where she later seeks vengeance on the man who had taken her away from her home and killed her mother. It is a revenge film set years after a global apocalypse where this young girl lives in an idyllic, yet remote area known as the Green Place where she encounters a group of bikers who would kidnap her prompting her mother Mary (Charlee Fraser) to go retrieve her. Unfortunately, Mary meets the warlord Dr. Dementus (Chris Hemsworth) who wants to rule the wasteland as he takes Furiosa for himself and is later traded to another warlord in Immortan Joe in an act of peace. The film’s screenplay by George Miller and Nico Lathoruis is straightforward in its narrative as it is told in five acts with the first two acts revolves around the young Furiosa who must endure so much torment as a prisoner and later become a slave for Joe where she would later disguise herself as a mute boy for its third act. Part of the film’s narrative feature some narration from a prisoner of Dr. Dementus in the History Man (George Shevtsov) who would provide some insight into the world and what had happened.

Furiosa would help create a massive supply tanker that would be armed with weapons and such as it would be driven by Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke) who would take Furiosa under his wing as they would work for Immortan Joe who becomes restless over the deal he made with Dr. Dementus who had turned his fortress of Gastown into ruin. Jack would not just be a mentor for Furiosa but also give Furiosa another person to really care about as there’s hints of love between them. Even as Burke is willing to help Furiosa return home as they later deal with Dr. Dementus who has become unruly in his pursuit of dominance as he goes to war against Immortan Joe over the latter’s land known as the Citadel.

Miller’s direction is grand in terms of the scale that he creates as he would shoot the film on location in New South Wales in the towns of Hay and Silverton with the desert in the region being its main location. Miller’s usage of wide and medium shots does not just play into the vastness of these locations with such diligence in the caves and dunes in the deserts along with these sandstorms that would often emerge in the film. There are also a lot of worlds building that Miller goes into as it relates to the territories of Immortan Joe such as the fortresses he has including his main home at the Citadel where there are plants available though it is under Joe’s control. Miller does maintain a sense of intensity and suspense that plays into what Furiosa would encounter as a young girl and later as a woman. Even as he uses close-ups to play into her reaction as well as her silent demeanor when she is a woman disguised as a boy where she can observe her surroundings and situations.

With the aid of action designer Guy Norris as a co-director and a stunt coordinator, Miller creates these amazing set pieces for some of the film’s action sequences where this so much diligence in what is happening. Notably a scene in the second act where Furiosa works at the war rig as she would fix things under the truck and kill some rogue bikers while Jack is driving the war rig. The different camera angles as well as the different compositions that Miller creates do add to the sense of danger in these stunts and action set pieces. Notably in the film’s climax as it plays into this conflict of two warlords with Furiosa intent on killing Dr. Dementus herself following an encounter that revealed how she lost a part of her left arm. Miller also plays into the idea of vengeance as it relates to Furiosa but also in what she is taught about Dr. Dementus who had lost everything during the apocalypse as he is eventually pushed to the limit when his back is against the wall. Overall, Miller crafts an epic and exhilarating film about a woman who goes on a journey for vengeance.

Cinematographer Simon Duggan does incredible work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of natural photography for many of the daytime exterior/interior scenes along with some stylish filters for some scenes at night. Editors Margaret Sixel and Eliot Knapman do excellent work with editing with its usage of jump-cuts and fast-cutting as it help play into the action and suspense without deviating towards chaotic cutting as shots are allowed to linger for more than a few seconds Production designer Colin Gibson, along with set decorator Katie Sharrock and supervising art director Sophie Nash, does brilliant work with the look of some of the places in the film such as Gastown and the Citadel as well as the design of the war rig. Costume designer Jenny Beaven does amazing work with the costume designs in the usage of leather for what Dr. Dementus and his gang wear as well as some of the unique clothing of Immortan Joe and his associates along with the many different clothes that Furiosa wears throughout her time.

Hair and makeup designer Lesley Vanderwalt does fantastic work with the design of some of the hairstyles of some of the characters as well as the prosthetic nose that Dr. Dementus has as well as the makeup of some of the people in Dr. Demtentus’ gang. Special effects supervisors Lloyd Finnemore and Andy Williams, along with visual effects supervisors Xavier Matia Bernasconi, Dan Bethall, Paul Butterworth, Andrew Jackson, and Jo Plaete, do marvelous work with the visual effects with its mixture of practical effects that gives the film a sense of realism into the stunt work and action with some computer-based visual effects for some of the scenery and small bits to play into its sense of terror.

Sound designers James Ashton and Robert Mackenzie do superb work with the sound as it is a highlight of the film for how massive an engine sounds from afar or up close as well as the way things sound on location as is top-tier work from Ashton and Mackenzie. The film’s music by Tom Holkenborg is phenomenal for its bombastic mixture of orchestral music and electronic music that plays into the intensity of the action as well as the suspense as it is a major highlight of the film.

The casting by Nikki Barrett is remarkable as it features some notable small roles and appearances from Dylan Adonis as Furiosa’s younger sister Little Valkyrie, Quaden Bayles as a war pup who is a warrior in the war rig, Daniel Webber and Sean Millis as a couple of war boys, Peter Stephens as the main guardian of Gastown until he meets Dr. Dementus, George Shevtsov as a prisoner of Dr. Dementus in the History Man who is also the film’s narrator, Angus Sampson as a doctor who worked for Dr. Dementus and later for Immortan Joe, and Jacob Tomuri as a mysterious man who finds Furiosa in the desert in the film’s third act. Josh Helman and Nathan Jones are terrific in their respective roles as Immortan Joe’s sons Scrotus and Rictus Erectus as two men who are trying to run things for their father as well as deal with the chaos that is Dr. Dementus and his forces. John Howard is superb as the People Eater as Joe’s advisor who is also a military strategist who is trying to deal with the chaos of Dr. Dementus.

Charlee Fraser is fantastic as Furiosa’s mother Mary Jabassa as a woman from the Green Place who is a cunning warrior that tries to retrieve Furiosa only to deal with Dr. Dementus and his horde of bikers. Elsa Pataky is excellent in a dual role as a Vuvalini general who helps Mary in her pursuit and as a deformed biker known as Mr. Norton. Lachy Hulme is amazing in a dual role as a lieutenant of Dr. Dementus in Rizzdale Pell and as the warlord Immortan Joe as this monstrous figure who sports a mask that runs the Citadel and much of the Wasteland where he finds himself challenged by Dr. Dementus only to later feel betrayed and conned by him prompting him to go to war. Alyla Browne is brilliant as the young Furiosa as a child from the Green Place who is kidnapped by Dr. Dementus’ horde of bikers as she later becomes his prisoner as she reminds him of what he once had and later trade her to Immortan Joe as a possible future wife where she deals with having to do things herself. Tom Burke is great as Praetorian Jack as the driver of the war rig who becomes Furiosa’s mentor as well as a life partner as he teaches her how to survive while also hoping to help her return home.

Chris Hemsworth is phenomenal as Dr. Dementus as a warlord who likes to ride a chariot of motorcycles as he is hoping to create havoc and rule the Wasteland where he is eager to find vegetation and such from the Citadel only to later rule Gastown into absolute disarray. It is a performance filled with humor but also a lot of terror as Hemsworth really provides this air of cruelty of a man who had lost everything and wants people to feel his pain including Furiosa. Finally, there’s Anya Taylor-Joy in a performance for the ages as Furiosa as this young woman who had endured a lot as she is also cunning in her pursuit of vengeance while also not saying very much as she only has thirty lines in the entire film. Taylor-Joy also has a way in the way she reacts to things as well as an icy stare that expresses so much by having her do so little as this is truly an iconic performance from Taylor-Joy.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is an outstanding film from George Miller that features a tremendous leading performance from Anya Taylor-Joy in the titular role. Along with its ensemble cast, ravishing visuals, high-octane action set pieces, immense sound design, a riveting music score, and a gripping screenplay in its exploration of vengeance and loss. The film is an example of what an action film should be while also giving audiences a look into the life of a beloved character with her own story that proves to be as thrilling as another of one of Miller’s great characters in Mad Max. In the end, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a magnificent film from George Miller.

George Miller Films: Mad Max - Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - (Twilight Zone: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet) – (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) – (The Witches of Eastwick) – (Lorenzo’s Oil) – (40,000 Years of Dreaming) – (Babe: Pig in the City) – (Happy Feet) – (Happy Feet Two) – Mad Max: Fury Road - (Three Thousand Years of Longing) - (Mad Max: The Wasteland)

© thevoid99 2024


ruth said...

I was curious if Anya Taylor-Joy could fill Theron's shoes as Furiosa as she was magnificent in that role, but I think she did! I still rate FURY ROAD higher than this one but still, it's a great film with plenty to enjoy. I was quite taken by Tom Burke as Praetorian Jack!

SJHoneywell said...

I'm going this Saturday. I'll return and read in detail when I've seen it.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-She fucking owned that role. Personally for The Wasteland, I would love to see both Anya and Charlize in the role. Yes, it's not Fury Road but goddamn it is fucking fun and I saw it on Dolby Atmos which made it even better.

@SJHoneywell-I hope you have fun.

SJHoneywell said... liked this more than I did. It's fine. I just feel like it was unnecessary. One of the problems with many prequels is that we know where it's going. Most of of the movie, I was waiting for characters who aren't in Fury Road to die or for Furiosa to lose her arm.

thevoid99 said...

@SJHoneywell-There's nothing wrong with predictability as long as there's an interesting story to tell. Plus, I was enthralled by what I saw.