"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Note: There aren’t exactly twists or anything to spoil in FURIOSA, but this is all spoilers. You really should see the movie first. This review the discussion afterwards.

There are over one million things I’ve always loved about the MAD MAX movies, and one of them is that they’re separate tales. There’s no continuity, no narrative references to or consequences from a previous chapter, and other than Max Rockatansky and his Last of the V8 Interceptors there’s never been a returning character, location or faction. They don’t necessarily take place in any order, and they’re so separate that some people think Tom Hardy’s Max is a different character from Mel Gibson’s. I’ve always thought of them as more like the Man With No Name trilogy than, say, STAR WARS.

But FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA isn’t a MAD MAX movie. Says it right there in the title – it’s a saga. And we knew it was the backstory of Furiosa, written in conjunction with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, shown to Charlize Theron to help her performance, at one point supposedly considered to be shot back-to-back, at another to be done as an anime movie directed by Mahiro Maeda (director of the Second Renaissance episodes of THE ANIMATRIX and animator on NAUSICAA and KILL BILL VOL. 1). So FURIOSA is a traditional prequel in the sense that it depicts an earlier stage of the specific world and characters of FURY ROAD.

Fortunately that movie is so spectacular, and there is so much going on inside of it, that god damn is it thrilling to be back there and have a chance to look around and find out a little more about life in the Wasteland: what Gas Town and the Bullet Farm are like, what goes on in those holes people crawl out of outside of the Citadel, what happens when someone tries to attack the Citadel, what sort of psychotic warlord leadership is most effective for business.

And of course, we see where Furiosa grew up, where she fought so hard to return to: The Green Place. Before when I pictured young Furiosa being abducted from her home I think I assumed she’d be a pretty normal little girl and we’d see what her life was like, we’d learn about some of the things she mentions in FURY ROAD (her clan Swaddle Dog, her mother Mary Jabassa, her Initiate Mother K.T. Concannon), until tragedy struck and she was forged into the fierce warrior we know her as.

No, not exactly. Instead, FURIOSA gives us about two seconds of normal life – young Furiosa (Alyla Browne, also young Tilda Swinton in THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING) picking peaches with Valkyrie (Dylan Adonis) – before they notice masked raiders cutting up a horse in the forest and Furiosa immediately sneaks over to cut the fuel lines on their motorcycles. It may be that all Vuvalini children are taught to defend their home in this way, but Furiosa seems to excel – she doesn’t get scared, doesn’t hesitate, just tells Valkyrie (who we know is a total badass when played by Megan Gayle in FURY ROAD) to “sit still as a rock” while she takes care of them. But they snatch her and take off with her as if she’s loot, just like the meat they stole.

The genius of this particular Mad Max Saga is that while FURY ROAD takes place over a few days, its prequel spans 18 years, and is divided into five chapters as Furiosa grows up, switches between different captors, moves through different jobs – and yet it still feels similar to FURY ROAD’s almost-like-one-long-car-chase approach, because Furiosa never stops fighting, never stops trying to escape, from the second they grab her to her last frame. That lady never gives in.

The details of clan Swaddle Dog and Initiate Mother K.T. Concannon remain a mystery, but god damn do we get an impression of Mary Jabassa (Charlee Fraser, ANYONE BUT YOU). Moments after Furiosa’s captors hit the desert her mom’s already giving chase on a horse – I believe it’s the first horse riding we’ve seen in the MAD MAX series. The movie literally hits the ground running when a Vuvalini General (Elsa Pataky, INTERCEPTOR, in one of her two roles in this movie!) jumps off and keeps shooting.

They agree that none of these trespassers can survive to tell the tale of this place, and if you think just because Mary’s on a horse and looks real natural barefoot and wearing a nice blue dress that she can’t handle something like that, think again. Her race across the dunes is my favorite section of the movie, tied with all the other sections of the movie. She hits a few of the bikers with her sniper rifle and chases them for days on a motorcycle, leveling up by switching to other, better ones from the guys she kills. I couldn’t believe it when she hopped down and, as if in a pit crew, quickly transferred a wheel to a better bike left behind but sabotaged. She also steals a helmet made out of skulls. The skull is designed to protect the brain but it’s not enough for a motorcycle crash, so you just gotta get an extra layer of skull.

I love the scene where we switch to the perspective of the kidnappers. They hear “the Thunderbike” coming for them and it terrifies them. Bullets start hitting from out of nowhere. Mary Jabassa is coming after them like an unseen force in a horror movie. We enjoy their terror but we also hear their conversation about how bringing horse meat won’t be enough for the warlord they’re trying to please, Dementus. They have to bring him this girl and tell him about the “place of abundance” she came from. If they do that, “no one will scum us anymore.” In the woods they seemed like such scary monsters, but now they’re pathetically human – losers doing evil to satiate a guy they’re scared of.

While Mary is picking these guys off, little Furiosa is also putting in work, chewing through the fuel line, stealing a knife, cutting herself loose, making a run for it. One great cinematic moment among hundreds in this movie is when one last guy has managed to slip into the biker camp before Mary could get him and she’s wondering what the fuck to do now but then she sees her daughter take care of it and says, “Good girl.”

Various marauders fight to be the one to bring her to Dementus (Pataky’s husband Chris Hemsworth, CA$H), “King of Bikerdom” and leader of the Biker Horde, which when seen above appears to at one point number in the thousands, at least. He never learns Furiosa’s name, but claims her as his daughter and acts like she should like him even after he crucifies her mother in front of her.

Dementus is another cruel maniac showman like Immortan Joe, but pretending to be a man of the people instead of a god. That’s an aspect of him that’s very true to real life autocrats. He tells the people of the Citadel to turn against their leaders for treating them unfairly – he’s basically co-opting the true and righteous, because they really are being mistreated, but of course there’s no chance he would be any better to them if he was in charge. And when he later takes over Gastown he’s said to be “running it into the ground” – tyrannical and incompetent. I feel like I could name a few guys like that.

That’s a really cool scene because Dementus discovers the Citadel and just assumes he can handle them. He threatens the Immortan (now played by Lachy Hulme, KILLER ELITE) and friends while they stand up on their balcony and we’re put into the strange position of kind of wanting to root for the People Eater (John Howard, RAZORBACK, YOUNG EINSTEIN) and the War Boys to show him who’s boss. Then, as Dementus struggles to keep them from hoisting Furiosa’s trailer cage into the sky he looks like a dashing swashbuckler, and we know what horrors await her in the Citadel, so it kinda makes him seem vaguely heroic for a second. Meanwhile there’s the character credited as “Corpse Minder” (Dawn Klingberg, THE DRY) trying to pull her into the ground, and I want to believe she’s trying to rescue her, but it seems very likely she has some other bizarre thing in mind. So Furiosa is this unstoppable badass but for the moment she’s stuck in a tug of war between all these freakos.

I realized I was a Hemsworth fan the first time I saw BLACKHAT, and then he cemented it with EXTRACTION and EXTRACTION II, but I think this is his best performance so far. Dementus is such a good villain – extravagantly sadistic, funny and weird, has hilarious turns of phrase, goes through phases and changes his costume and nickname (the Great Dementus, the Red Dementus, the Dark Dementus). He self identifies as an “evil bastard” but either forgets sometimes or thinks he might convince somebody else to. For example he talks sweetly to young Furiosa to make her feel safe, talks about his own “little ones” who he lost. He’s trying to use her to find the “place of abundance” she comes from, but also he might really believe in that moment yeah, I’m a good person, I had kids, I know how to talk to them.

In a way Hemsworth is the lead, because Furiosa stays young and played by Browne for what seems like nearly half of the movie before handing it over to Anya Taylor-Joy (THE NORTHMAN). Incredibly, Browne doesn’t look as much like Taylor-Joy as she appears to – her face is digitally altered to increasingly resemble her as she ages in the story. I had no idea!

Theron as Furiosa in FURY ROAD is one of my all time favorite characters and performances, but one of the things that makes FURIOSA so exciting is seeing Taylor-Joy in the role. A less experienced actor, but similarly impressive so far, equally distinctive, and here proving herself up to the task of inhabiting the role, of echoing Theron while putting her own spin on the physical ferocity and non-verbal simmering of the character. Also I think it’s cute that they almost did this as an anime, then cast an actress with enormous eyes.

Furiosa becomes currency exchanged in a political dispute between Dementus and Joe, swapped (along with the Organic Mechanic [Angus Sampson, INSIDIOUS]) to maintain control of Gas Town, which they’ve captured through a psychotic trojan horse trick. And we can’t get into that without mentioning the greatness of “the Octoboss” (Goran Kleut, REVENGE OF THE SITH, GODS OF EGYPT, HACKSAW RIDGE, ALIEN: COVENANT, WYRMWOOD: APOCALYPSE), the weird dude with the black mask and giant horns we keep seeing and wondering about before Dementus bosses around a biker who insists on first getting permission from the Octoboss. It would be worth putting in the movie just for the laughs, but it tells us there are tensions with other gangs subsumed by Dementus’ Horde, and this incident foreshadows what will soon be the warlord’s complete failure of leadership in Gas Town, as the Octoboss has gone rogue and attacks a Citadel gas run in the prequel’s most FURY-ROAD-like action set piece.

That could be a transcendent sequence for the action alone – when we see that the guys chasing the tanker are called “mortifliers” because they open up their paragliders and attack from the sky, it inspires that hearty this-is-some-next-level-shit laughter only the most inventive action can achieve. FURY ROAD’s Guy Norris returns as stunt coordinator (with the freshly minted “Action Designer” credit that debuted on THE FALL GUY) along with long time Cynthia Rothrock co-star Richard Norton as fight choreographer and Grand Imperator. But FURY ROAD d.p. John Seale went back into retirement, so his enormous shoes are filled by Simon Duggan (KNOWING, THE GREAT GATSBY, 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE). I think Miller’s experience and advancements in technology allowed the camera to be an even better dance partner for the ridiculously complex battles between multiple speeding vehicles.

But figuratively and sometimes literally beneath the spectacle is a whole lot of good character drama. Furiosa is hanging from the bottom of the truck in an attempt to escape the Citadel, so she’s confronted with attackers and has to strategize to help fight them off for her own safety. I love that there’s this dynamite I kept expecting her to toss but when she gets to it she casually clips the fuse and saves it for later. Then she ends up on the hood and in the passenger seat alternately helping and fighting off the driver, Praetorian Jack (Tom Burke, ONLY GOD FORGIVES).

(By the way, I love that since this is a saga there’s room for a montage of the truck being built. Man, I gotta get a clear look at that chrome Immortan Joe tableau on the side. What a beautiful, horrible machine.)

Furiosa’s relationship with Jack is another prime example of Miller’s economical storytelling. Through relatively few scenes we become invested in his subversive act of recruiting Furiosa to his crew to train her in “road war” and allow her to escape. He says he’s from a military family, he shoots like an elite special ops dude, he’s the epitome of a certain type of soldier: charismatic and noble, fights bad guys, tries to do right but can he really do that when he’s working for a fascist organization? Anyway, he and Furiosa learn from each other and when she embraces him in that way she did Valkyrie in FURY ROAD, which we now realize is a cultural thing, and he goes along with it, it shows that he’s respecting her specific identity and background and not just what her talents offer to the Citadel.

And of course there’s a whole other Furiosa and Jack action set piece that’s thrilling and mythic and a huge character moment – he sets her up to escape, gives her the green light, but she goes back to help him. Although it lacks the element of saving someone trying to kill you, I see it as a cousin to the scenes in BABE: PIG IN THE CITY and HAPPY FEET TWO where the protagonist has every right to only save themselves by leaving but turns back to save someone else. In this case it’s monumental that a person who has been forced to dedicate most of her life to one single-minded goal has the capacity to trust someone enough to risk herself to bring him along. Unfortunately in this Wasteland that’s worse than Babe’s city she’s forced to instead ally herself with the Immortan in order to get her revenge on Dementus. This puts her in place for the beginning of FURY ROAD, where she’s helping the wives escape but she’s a little terrifying to them.

Like any prequel, FURIOSA explains certain things that you’d expect it to, like of course we find out what happened to her arm. But for me, at least, it never felt like that was the point of thing. It felt like that was just something that organically happens within a story about so many other things. After Furiosa tattooed the star map on her forearm I had this goofy moment of questioning whether or not she had that in FURY ROAD before realizing oh… duh. When her arm is crushed between vehicles it seems like a horrendous enough explanation of how she could’ve lost it, but it’s much more fitting that she twisted it off herself to escape handcuffs. Of course she did.

Listening to interviews with Miller there seem to be many touches people love – Jack’s resemblance to Max, for one – that he swears didn’t consciously occur to him while making it. So I’m not sure if he meant anything by it or not but I love that Furiosa’s ultimate feat of tenacity echoes the cruel choice Max gave to Goose’s killer Johnny at the very end of MAD MAX – to cut off his own foot or blow up. (He seems to choose the latter.)

In fact, the finale – with our vengeful protagonist tracking her enemy, having him on the ground trying to talk his way out of it, then suffering a sadistic fate – mirrors the original MAD MAX instead of the spectacular battles of its bigger, badder sequels. Here the ending is the part I find most puzzling and enigmatic. MAD MAX was an energetic elaboration on a pretty straight forward revenge movie formula. Max is a feared cop in a crazed near future, but he’s also a husband and new father and regular guy. When his partner is killed he’s disillusioned, quits the force, goes on a road trip with his family. When the same group of bikers who killed Goose run over his wife and kid it pushes him into madness so he hunts and kills them all.

Not much more to it except the style and tone. In a rave review in Time Magazine, Richard Corliss likened Miller to Spielberg, Pakula, Scorsese and Carpenter, directors who “speak eloquently in the special language of the cinema.” He non-judgmentally described MAD MAX as “a movie without a single liberal impulse” and “not a ‘people picture’” but “an action movie whose subject is machines, and the sophisticated killing machine man could become. The hardware is the star here.”

But after his debut’s runaway international success Miller started to look at Joseph Campbell and consciously followed archetypes of mythical heroes in the sequels. ROAD WARRIOR is explicitly a legend told by the grown up version of the Feral Child, and FURIOSA by the History Man (George Shevtsov, “The Old Storyteller,” THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING), who was there for some of it but points out that there are different accounts of Dementus’ death, with varying levels of brutality.

I love the discomfort the story gives me. I’m rooting for Furiosa’s badass revenge but also thinking that Dementus’ jibber jabber is kind of correct. That they both responded to tragedy with savagery to survive the Wasteland is a false equivalence, but doing some fucked up Mad Max shit to him doesn’t feel like the way to be better than him. I love that it echoes MAD MAX because it forces me to confront how I feel about a similar scenario when it’s a character who’s less of a blank, who I have more emotional investment in, and who represents hope. Even Max, in each of his sequels, journeys from harsh self interest to selfless heroism. He wouldn’t have lasted if he just got revenge each time.

So what does it mean for Dr. Miller, 45 years later and with a full portfolio of humanistic masterpieces to his name, to return to this type of scenario? And how should we interpret the symbolism of the imaginatively fucked up way Furiosa chooses (according to what the History Man says she told him) to dispatch Dementus? The peach stone her mother gave her, and made her promise to plant, becomes both the weapon to kill him and the literal seed for a new Green Place. A peach grows from him and she ritualistically shares it with the wives before they begin their journey. So is it a symbol of renewal, a wish for something good to come out of all this horror, a sign that the good things of the past are not all dead and there’s hope for the future? Or should we consider this fruit to be forever tainted, since it’s literally borne from death and violence, and now it’s being fed to the next generation? Is this a half empty/half full type thing?

Here’s something I find interesting about the way Miller works. When FURY ROAD came out there was a 4-issue comic book tie-in with stories written by Miller and his co-writer Nico Lathouris (the mechanic from MAD MAX!). After seeing FURIOSA I dug out the issue about her, wondering if it would contradict the movie or make any reference to its events, since they’d already written some version of this back then. The issue is about Furiosa being given the job of protecting the wives (except from Immortan Joe, they point out) and, after spending time with them, deciding to help them escape. Early on the wives are reading books, and learn what a peach is. So I read it thinking “There’s no way she’s going to give them that peach at the end, is she?”

She doesn’t. But she says, “None of you are prepared for this journey, and there are no guarantees. There is one thing I want… to plant this peach stone at the other end,” and she holds out a peach pit.

So it seems like at that point Miller didn’t have quite the same idea about the tree growing out of Dementus. But he had a peach pit. He liked the idea of Furiosa carrying around a peach pit with the intent of planting it. And at that point she assumes The Green Place still exists, so it must have a significance to her other than scarcity. Maybe after fully developing Dementus and getting to know him Miller decided he deserved a terrible end. But it wasn’t the death the story carried with it over the years, it was the seed.

I have not yet returned to FURY ROAD in a post-FURIOSA world, but I’m excited to see how they play together. I can see ways that FURIOSA deepens the story of FURY ROAD. If little Furiosa hadn’t tried to stop the raiders she wouldn’t have been kidnapped, but the Horde would’ve been led to The Green Place and maybe they’d all be dead. If she or her mom hadn’t stopped the raiders from blabbing, or had given in to threats and told Dementus the location, the Green Place still would’ve eventually gone sour, but the aging Vuvalini of FURY ROAD probly wouldn’t have been around to help take the Citadel and turn it into a new Green Place. If Praetorian Jack hadn’t helped Furiosa she might have never helped the wives, or trusted Max. I’m sure there are many other connections to make.

Although FURIOSA is the first Mad Max related movie to open at #1, it was a record low #1 for Memorial Day weekend, causing its “failure” to be the main topic of FURIOSA discussion for entertainment reporters. To me, coming out of a movie so amazing, so brimming with scenes and characters and ideas to discuss, but to focus on that fucking topic again is a strong example of how much we’ve allowed the inane chatter of soul-less business-minded weiners to replace actual appreciation of the arts. Pointing that out, of course, summons well-meaning fans to lecture me that if this doesn’t do well then Miller probly won’t be able to make the Max-related FURY ROAD lead-in he has said he might be interested in doing. True, but we’ve just covered everything there is to say about that topic.

Not enough time has passed for us to be done celebrating the current miracle. If you waste a miracle fretting about not getting another one, maybe you don’t deserve it. Fortunately around here that’s not a problem. In my circles FURIOSA is the biggest event movie in years. Everyone I’ve asked has already seen it and launches into a long and excited discussion of all their favorite aspects. I think I’ve had five conversations like that already, and I foresee more soon. One friend beat me to seeing it twice and the rest plan to follow. Even on one viewing I’m obsessed with the thing, my review is getting out of control so I resisted going into a million other things I loved like the War Pup’s excitement for “the bommyknocker” or the Smeg getting to choose a random War Boy or the character of Scrotus or the source of Furiosa’s new arm or…

The first time I saw MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, before it was even over, I thought it was as good as any movie I’d ever seen. It felt premature to say that at the time, but enough years and viewings have passed that I don’t have to feel silly about it anymore. So it’s saying something that right now I feel like FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA might be as good. We’ll see if that lasts. But it’s definitely in the same neighborhood, which makes it an all-timer.


My other George Miller related reviews:

THE ROAD WARRIOR (reviewed in 2007)
MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME (also reviewed in 2007)
HAPPY FEET TWO (reviewed when it came out in 2011)
MAD MAX (reviewed in 2015)
THE ROAD WARRIOR (reviewed in 2015 because I forgot I already wrote about it)
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (reviewed when it came out in 2015)
“Righteous Fury,” a second piece inspired by the FURY ROAD discourse, also from 2015
THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (reviewed in 2015)
BABE (produced and written by Miller, reviewed in 2015)
BABE: PIG IN THE CITY (reviewed in 2016)
MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME (revisited in 2020 as part of a summer of ’85 retrospective)
THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING (reviewed when it came out in 2022)

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2024 at 4:32 pm and is filed under Reviews, Action, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

126 Responses to “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”

  1. PresidentOfWhat?

    May 30th, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    I will be thinking of Dementus essentially looking up things on Wikipedia in his spare time for a long time to come. Great movie.

  2. When the guys attacking the big truck unfurled their parachutes and floated up, with the camera staying with them, all while barreling down the road I think I gasped out loud.

    Hemsworth did so good! He just simmered with rage and mania but it was all kept tight under this veneer of weirdness and joviality. Dementus probably could’ve actually been a good leader but he didn’t care about leading anyone once he got the leadership. He only wanted the fight for power, not to use the power for anything. Even his own benefit. He just liked the fight and the cruelty he could inflict in the quest for it. Interesting character and Hemsworth got all those layers.

    I wish Pataky wasn’t in two roles because I was honestly confused when she popped up the second time. I was all, wait a minute, did Furiosa lead them back to her home?! She wouldn’t do that. Did they somehow find her home by tracking back? But they’re still in the desert. What’s going on?! Obviously I figured out this was a different character but it was confusing.

  3. Thank you for this review! I feel like the internet has overwhelmingly shut this one down for not being Fury Road all over again. It’s so nice to hear that it hit you the way it did. I really love Miller and my wife and I have a rare date night coming up reserved for this night at the movies.

  4. Wait, what’s the source of Furiosa’s new arm? I thought it was just something she made in the car construction shop, was there something more to it that I didn’t get?

  5. Have not seen it yet – hopefully tomorrow… but just wanted to say that there was a tiny bit of horse riding in Thunderdome…

  6. S – Well, it’s not really explained but it seemed to be attached to some sort of wheelchair, covered in cobwebs, which she salvaged and rewired to work with her shoulder. Knowing Miller I bet he knows the whole history of who it previously belonged to and what it was used for.

  7. What a lovely review.
    Screw the internet if they’re really slamming this movie. It’s as Vern says above: Miller and co. just went and created a movie that nonchalantly stands at the same level as the one of the best-ever action movies. Sure, it’s sort of propped up on its shoulders, but I’d say that this also enhances FURY ROAD; It’s symbiotic (Yes, I rewatched FURY ROAD pretty much as soon as I could after FURIOSA, and it absolutely informes and gives it some more depth; I’m rewatching it this weekend).

    Dementus really is great – I know it’s a cliché to say all villains think they’re the good guys, but this asshole even keeps trying to kickstart his hero’s journey. Brilliant. And I loved his introduction, a catechism from a user’s manual.

    Only thing I have to add is that Miller did not completely abandon his MO and make it fit in perfectly with FURY ROAD – there’s a few bits and pieces that suggest (and to me it’s basically made explicit by the end) that History Man is making some of the stuff up, and fudging the timelines a little. All of these movies feel like oral histories – this one a little less so, but maybe that’s because it’s working from primary sources.

  8. Can’t wait to get to see this to find out how much of Miller’s vaunted creative and original world building is just Bogans again.
    I say that as lovingly as possible, it’s awesome to see such fundamentally Australian culture actually represtented in major movies but it’s also hilarious how many foreigners intepret is as some crazy original fantasy world building.,

  9. When FURY ROAD came along it went straight into my Top 10 movie list. And now that FURIOSA have turned out to be equally good, I’m almost overwhelmed that I would live to see that list of mine, which haven’t changed much over the last 40 years, get two new entries. But I’m also scared. Scared that Dr. Miller won’t get the funding or have the health to make a third chapter. Or that it won’t be as good as the first two.

    I read that FURIOSA, like FURY ROAD, also will be made into a black and chrome edition. If you haven’t seen it, do so. It’s just beautiful.

    Vern, I’m a bit confused as to why you write about the ending of MAD MAX, and Johnny the Boy, without mentioning that the very same Tim Burns plays the peach eating gang member in FURIOSA.

  10. Pegsman, I didn’t catch that. He was one of the kidnappers?

  11. @dreadguacamole – I would not say that the internet is slamming this per say, but there is a lot of weird negativity from people who seem to care waaay more about a megacorps bottom line than the actual arts. I’ve seen lots of “They should have never green lit this movie” kind of posts and I think those people are insane. Capitalist brain rot is a bitch.

  12. I loved it. As pure a cinematic experience as I’ve ever had.

    Only a few things to add to Vern’s and the commenter’s points:

    – my favourite aspect of the movie is that I felt it gave me a real sense of what prehistoric warfare might have been like, in particular the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Warlords pursuing each other across vast landscapes, the picking off of light guard to leave the main target (eg the War Rig) isolated, the strategic ploys like the one used by Dementus to trick the Immortan at the start of the 40 day War, these all felt like they could have been taking place in Mycenaean or Old Testament times. The allusions are quite explicit – Dementus rides a chariot reminiscent of the Assyrians or the early Greeks, and of course he uses an actual Trojan Horse to first take over Gas Town. The whole thing felt mythical and at the same time accurate to our understanding of war in early ancient times.

    – you mentioned it Vern but the scene with the Smeg choosing the random war boy gave me the chills. In some ways it felt like the best “just how badass is he” scene I’ve ever scene, but instead of the History Man reading out Joe’s file, they took the show don’t tell approach and we get to see the full extent of Joe’s insane level of power over his people.

    – the world building and design was on par with Miller’s past work but this added mythic or “saga” element gave the whole thing an added (and much welcome) flavour that I didn’t know I had missed – weird 80s fantasy. I was mostly reminded of my childhood favourite Legend.

    – finally, I don’t know where it stands as an all-timer, but I felt that compared to Fury Road, it sort of stands in a similar position as The Raid 2 stands to The Raid. A excellent sequel to an all-time perfect movie that expands and enriches the world but also abandons the right streamlined approach to take a different approach to storytelling, plot and pacing.

  13. I also love how each film in this franchise has a different format. Furiosa is perhaps closest to Thunderdome in that it’s less on the move and more about living in these places. But the epic five chapter structure gives it a different twist too. (Even Fury Road and Road Warrior aren’t the same. The Road Warrior has some chases but not like Fury Road makes the entire movie so propulsive).

    So getting to live in the Citadel and visit the Bullet Farm and Gastown was wonderful, but still no shortage of action and new contraptions, tho maybe none I liked as much as the yo-yo sticks in Fury Road.

  14. So much to say, sputter or scream about this. An Epic with a capital E. An Abundance of Awesomeness. More ambitious and uneven than the basically perfect Fury Road, but we didn’t need a carbon copy. And as I said elsewhere, if all you DID want was another Fury Road, Miller was nice enough to put one in Furiosa for you. Fury Road already felt like storytelling condensed and cut to the bone, but somehow Miller was still able to cook down that 2 hours into a potent 15 minutes and inject it into our eyeballs right in the middle of Furiosa. That sequence plays out the whole Max/Furiosa story with Furiosa/Jack in one of many parallels between this and the other Max movies or within this movie itself. While Fury Road had lots of colorful groups and gangs we only got glimpses of in a variety of different action set ups, the Stowaway to Nowhere sequence in Furiosa takes the opposite approach. Its one gang, and instead of cool but anonymous mooks, we know these guys by name, know who they used to run with, and even saw the inciting incident that caused them to split off from that crew and take the crazy chance of attacking this War Rig (because Dementus killed some of Octoboss’s men as part of his Trojan Horse plan). And instead of a bunch of different gimmicks, their gang/the action focuses on one idea (bikes + gliders), then extrapolates and escalates it to an astonishing level. Early on in that sequence I realized I was shaking and bouncing in my seat from excitement. Each escalation had me uttering another “Oh shit!” or “Fuck!” and when the Octoboss’s dragon-looking thing finally appeared I just started cackling at the insanity transpiring in front of me. Overall Fury Road has a higher density and number of action sequences, but I think I love that sequence in Furiosa more than any individual sequence in Fury Road.

    And this is a good time to mention the FX. To all the trailer-haters, yes, this movie has a LOT more noticeable CGI and green screen than Fury Road. But most of it is by necessity due to scale of the world or safety of the performers. I felt the look of the world was pretty consistent over the course of the film itself, and only a few times did it actually bother me. The bit with Furiosa’s mom taking off her burning clothes looked bizarrely cheap and fake, but then you have people getting flamethrowered off of trucks and it looks fine, I dunno. There are still lots of obvious practical effects that look cool or dangerous as hell. And most importantly, there are still the moments when Miller fuses the practical and the digital in ways where you have no goddamn idea how he achieved the movie magic you are seeing. Furiosa’s mom jumping on a horse is the most obvious and awkward CGI ever, but then someone is flying through the air on a parachute attached to a moving truck and it all looks real. I would rather give kudos to the latter than nitpick over the former. And until Vern’s review I had no idea they used effects to alter Alyla Browne’s appearance, I just thought they found someone with an incredible resemblance to Anya taylor Joy, so that’s a nice subtle effect right there.

    Vern, I had the same thought about the star chart, lol. And somehow despite thinking about that earlier in the movie, by the time the arm bit happens I had completely forgotten about it. Instead of waiting the whole time for the obvious prequel moment to happen, it caught me completely by surprise with its suddenness and brutality (taken to the next level when we see how it factors into her escape).

    Something I noticed about the climax of the movie playing out on a smaller scale: it ends up paralleling the opening of the movie, with Furiosa hunting and sniping a small group of enemies just like her mom did in pursuit of her. I haven’t watched the original Mad Max in a few years, so I am glad Vern and another commenter (in the Fury Road comments) mentioned the parallels between the ending of that film and Furiosa. I think Miller has come up with a much richer ending than the typical revenge yarn. The seed growing out of Dementus is horrific but hopeful. He nurtured a seed of hate and anger that drove him to destroy and seek to inflict pain and madness on the world to amuse or distract himself from his own pain. He claims that revenge and hate are the only motivators, the only purposes to life in this horrific world, the only joy coming from creating as much chaos and mayhem as possible. But in both cases, his words betray his actions. He concocts an elaborate torture for Jack, but then grows bored and detached (possibly even sad?) watching it play out. In the final confrontation, he grabs for a weapon betraying hope for survival and a future, then dismisses it as reflexes. Furiosa is different. Yes, many of her actions are driven by pain, anger, and revenge, but the ultimate reason she struggles on and survives is hope. Hope of returning to her family and the Green Place. And in Fury Road, the hope of liberating Joe’s wives and giving them a future in the Green Place also. But Miller knows that damage is a part of her. That seed grows out of Dementus, the source of much of her suffering. I don’t think that Miller is saying suffering is necessary or good to achieve greatness, instead he is acknowledging that when someone’s pain and trauma runs that deep it will always be a part of them. The difference is WHAT we are motivated to do by that pain. Do we lash out and try and inflict it upon others, or seek to numb ourselves to it? Or do we seek to end or reduce that pain, in hopes that others might not have to suffer the same ways that we did? Furiosa is motivated by trauma, but she is not defined by it. Her hopes and her goals are IN SPITE OF what has happened to her, as opposed to Dementus’ violence and anger BECAUSE of his pain. And this all stands in stark opposition to the simple, sadistic ending of the original Mad Max. I don’t know how much thought Miller put into it beyond giving the audience the visceral satisfaction that they expected from a revenge/exploitation pic of that era. Its funny, I saw someone describe Furiosa as reflecting the curdled and bitter worldview you would expect from a man approaching 80 years old, but I think it’s the opposite. Furiosa definitely has some of Miller’s most brutal violence in the harshest settings, but ultimately we see beauty, growth, and hope spawned from all that. He is definitely thinking about this and wants his audience to think about it also.

    So many great lines and character names and moments. I loved re-watching Fury Road and catching all the little side character names and world details, this movie has conservatively 5 times as much of that shit and I can’t wait to pore over it. The Organic Mechanic was a favorite of mine in FR, it was cool to see more of him. “They’re not gonna scum us anymore!” The bit where the History Man keeps defining “abundance” with more words they don’t understand. The way Dementus’ title and appearance changes over the course of the movie… I love how after the bit with the red flare, the History Man just spontaneously gives the title “The Red Dementus” when addressing the Citadel, that man knows good storytelling!

    The biggest issue I had with this movie is really about presentation, not the film itself. I didn’t need the movie to go right up to the beginning of Fury Road, it could have ended on Dementus-tree, or Furiosa’s back, but cutting to black with the hidden door closing could have been fine. But then the credits start playing random scenes from Fury Road. We have been conditioned to watch credits for additional content (and movie nerds like me and the readers here probably already did it long before the Marvel era), so I sat there watching… and ended up feeling kind of deflated as I left the theater. Furiosa already has a more muted ending than many other action/epic films, because our protagonist is still preparing for their actual victory that happens in another movie, but the clips add confusion and make it flow weird. I have seen people say Furiosa does itself no favors by showing you clips from a superior movie with a different visual style, I wouldn’t go that far, but just the simple nature of the “clip show” feels like a whimper at the end of this epic. Furiosa (should have) left me with a lot to think about, but the credits made me start thinking about Fury Road instead, and then I started thinking about why they made this choice, and how it’s going to be even more deflating for people who didn’t love Furiosa as much as me. I had to wait a while for those reactions to pass before I could even start to gauge my feelings on the movie itself, and start to think about everything it had going on. In home viewings or future theater showings I would LOVE to watch Furiosa and just start Fury Road from the beginning immediately after Furiosa cuts to black when the door closes. But for any future viewings of Furiosa on its own, I am leaving/stopping as soon as it cuts to black, that clip show is a total mood killer.

    I have seen a number of people online say that Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing is an interesting thematic and stylish bridge between Fury Road and Furiosa, with some seeing Furiosa as closer to Three Thousand… than Fury Road. I had not seen it, now I plan on watching it before I go to see Furiosa a second time in theaters. After watching Furiosa I went to re-watch Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome… and discovered I had never actually seen it before! Childhood viewings of the other movies and cultural osmosis made me think I had seen the whole thing at least once, but I was wrong. Some interesting connections between that one and Furiosa also.

  15. I saw this last weekend and I’m still processing it, but my initial reaction remains that this is not FURY ROAD but it really is as good as it, which is what I’m reading here. I definitely picked up the THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING vibes and came home and watched both that and BABE: PIG IN THE CITY again. FURIOSA definitely leans in to gloriously lit tableaux vivants in a way you might not expect of an action movie but makes perfect sense coming from TTYOL. But the religious symbolism, and that ending; did anyone else feel Jodorowsky? Or is that obvious?

    The blurring and blending of Browne and Taylor-Joy totally confounded me while watching the movie, the sudden shock of realising that the actors have switched. A great use of effects. I’m tempted to ask if something was going on with Taylor-Joy’s voice too, it was an uncannily good impression of Theron’s.

    As to the rest of the effects, I found they mattered not at all to my involvement in or enjoyment of the movie, or at least not negatively. By the time we got to the stowaway chase, I was so engaged with the character of Furiosa that I think if Miller had chosen to do the effects through claymation or shadow puppetry, I’d have gone with it. Honestly, where else are you gonna see anything as jaw-dropping as the mortifliers this year or for many to come?

    One last question, for now: in showing us the detail of her preparing her escape from Rictus Erectus, is Miller sparing us any detail of the abuse that must have preceded it? It’s thematically perfect – her story, not anyone else’s – but seemed to place so much trust in the audience, that I thought maybe I was overthinking it.

  16. Vern, he’s the member of Dementus’ gang dressed in black, with the slicked back grey hair, who eats the peach from which Mary Jabassa gets the seed.

  17. I liked it…a lot. But I still think Fury Road edges it out.

    I saw Fury Road in 3D IMAX, and it completely blew me away, probably I’d say on the level of Instellar IMAX (which was probably my favorite IMAX experience).

    Fury Road, I think, was really innovative cinematically. The action was so well done and really, and took chase action to a new level. The cinetography and scope-the scene inside the sandstorm compeltely blows me away to this day. A movie that is basically one big chase being able to keep us engaged and on the edge of our seats the entire time.

    Furiosa was a very good story with awesome characters/development, I just don’t think it broke any new ground like Fury Road.

  18. Vern – I’m glad you mentioned the contrast of FURIOSA with MAD MAX’s ending. The latter made by a new director in his 30s making more or less an exploitation movie and same guy decades later musing again on the idea of vengeance.

    Honestly watching this I thought of the STAR WARS prequels. Miller and Lucas came from that same generation, same Ford/Kurosawa influences, both created their own on-going universes albeit Lucas went to space a long time ago and Miller stayed in Australia but gazed into the future. Like those prequels, FURIOSA arguably to a fault relies on you having seen FURY ROAD so you can connect the dots and appreciate how point A leads to point B and then C, etc. Difference is I would argue FURIOSA is a better executed film than said prequels.

    It’s inspiring how Miller and Scorsese these geezers are making movies as good as anything they’ve made before, when most directors even the great ones by this point in their lives with their powers fading or quietly retired.

    Evan – Reminds me of last summer when after BARBIE came out, people lamented that gee you can’t replicate it again for sequels and whether intentionally or not it was mused loudly as a knock against the film. And I’m thinking, can’t we just appreciate a film miracle for what it is? That film doesn’t need sequels, even if that’s inevitable.

    I’m old enough to remember when BEYOND THUNDERDOME was end of Mad Max. I remember FURY ROAD being first announced and then took forever in development/bullshit for like 12 years until we finally got it. I was just happy to see a new Mad Max movie on the big screen, the fact it was goddamn glorious was a bonus. The fact we also got FURIOSA, we’re beyond blessed is how I see it. That’s how I can process knowing WASTELANDS aint happening. A shame but we got 2 more films than we would’ve expected once upon a time.

    Then again I’m sick of Internet film culture crying every few weeks that OMG CINEMA IS DYING! LOOK AT THE POOR THEATERS! And I’m like “eat shit” to these dorks. We got DUNE PART 2 earlier this year. This summer alone, we’ve had THE FALL GUY*, KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and now FURIOSA. This is what I call a kickass start to the summer. Instead its endless clickbait about how this is the worst summer ever or something. We’re unable to look at the trees for the forest. And knowing how the navel-gazing online film culture works, if DEADPOOL/WOLVERINE makes a ton of money (I assume so) same people will turn around and bitch about these goddamn superhero movies. Once again.

    *=OK I’ve not seen that yet but it got good reviews. You get my point.

  19. Matthew Miller

    May 31st, 2024 at 6:29 am

    So, did Max take Furiosa to the Citadel? On our second watch it seems like that’s what happened. Would be kind of amazing if that were the case. Anyway, they made it EPIC.

  20. Nothin' like the Nightrider!

    May 31st, 2024 at 7:20 am

    “Flopiosa: A Maxless Failure” is not like Toecutter’s spectacular crash, not even like Bubba’s last words. (He did NOT know what he was doing).

    No, it is like Johnny Boy’s pitiful attempts to impress Toecutter. And it can be summed up with Bubba’s response to Johnny’s prancing: “You just don’t have the style. Do ya? Chicken-shit…”

    The character on the poster even looks like the mannequin that Cundalini and Mudguts courted on the beach, but that mannequin was more lively, interesting, and alluring – even after Johnny shot her.

    By the way, stop referring to “Mad Max II” with the misnomer “The Road Warrior”. It is not the film’s title, it has never been, nor will it ever be. Only Usans called it that.

  21. I’ve been eager for this review and I’m really glad you enjoyed it, Vern. This helped me understand what I’m missing in this movie. I prepared myself coming in that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as FURY ROAD, but I was still surprised at how merely okay it was for me.

    The action sequences were generally a let down, each a bit less interesting than the last. The opening chase was fantastic and a clever “demake” of the crazy over-the-top chase of FURY ROAD. But each subsequent sequence worked less for me. It felt like the flyers were there only because flying was the last type of vehicular action we hadn’t seen yet, like it was checking a box instead of an exciting creative vision. Here’s hoping we don’t see jetskis assaulting a war rig if there’s another one.

    I hoped the performances would pick up the slack. Anya Taylor-Joy did her best but I think she was hamstrung by only being in half of the movie and by invariably being compared to one of the all-time great action performances by Theron. I think Dementor’s character arc is outstanding, but I wish Hemsworth would find some more notes beyond “fun swagger” and “incredibly muted and stoic.” It reminds me a little of Johnny Depp’s performances from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies – great fun but not a lot of depth, and this needed more depth to carry the movie. But I probably just don’t get the Hemsworth appeal – I would have said the same about his EXTRACTION performances too.

    It was never boring or laughable*, and there are so many ways this could have gone wrong and been much worse. I’m glad it exists but I can’t imagine rewatching it.

    * – okay, the decision to put clips of FURY ROAD in the credits was bonkers and made me laugh at the movie, but who cares about the end credits?

  22. I just saw it and I fucking LOVED it! But I also had the worst possible day going there and back (seriously, what would’ve been a 20 minutes train ride turned out to to be over two hours and me arriving at the cinema at almost the last minute, and almost three hours to return!), so I will write my thoughts tomorrow.

    Just two things:

    – The only problem that I had was seeing Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa, because she has such a distinctive look, it’s hard to see her grow within a few years into Charlize Theron
    – I loved Chris Hemsworth’s performance. He took his goofball energy and turned it into something sinister.

  23. As someone who played the game, it was great to see Scrotus and be like “Hey! I know him!”

    Liked this one a lot. Only real caveat is that I thought Dementius was a bit underwritten. By the end, he’s basically going “we’re not so different, you and I” to Furiosa and talking about how they’re both vengeful vigilantes. Maybe I’m just too literal-minded, but when was he ever motivated by revenge? It seems like he went through the entire movie motivated by lust for power and fear of losing his station. Maybe we as an audience were supposed to brush off his statements as bullshit, but still, seems weird to spend the last ten minutes of your movie on the antagonist spouting inapplicable nonsense. (I say, because George Miller obviously isn’t at all a weird dude.)

  24. This was a very good movie, though I don’t love it quite as much as FURY ROAD. But I didn’t love that one either on first watch. Three or four watches later, I think it might be the movie of the 21st century, one that gets more relevant every year.

    Visually, I don’t think FURIOSA is actually too far off from the aesthetic of FURY ROAD, but the movie it most reminded me of was the Wachowskis’ SPEED RACER. It has an unreal sheen to it, but somehow that only enhances the visceral quality. I was also reminded at various times of ’70s Jack Kirby comics, Leone and Ford westerns, Buster Keaton silents, ROAD GAMES, DEATH PROOF, and Renaissance paintings. There’s an old-school epic, and even Biblical quality to it. We see young Furiosa picking fruit from a tree in paradise shortly before being cast out. But unlike Eve, Furiosa has her own agency, and with her seed of hope she plants a new Eden. But it’s a hard ride to get to that point, and we won’t see it fully come to fruition until FURY ROAD. (Love your take, Adam C, about the tree of hope springing from the bowels of hardship and despair.)

    And maybe that’s why it occurred to me that Miller’s Maxverse is the closest movie equivalent to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World from the comic books. Kirby was processing his experiences in WWII and the contemporary Vietnam war and youth movements into a modern mythos for the atomic age, one populated by larger than life characters with weird names who speak with grand, poetic phrasing and kooky slang. Miller’s doing the same with the fraying society we live in now, expanding it into myth and legend. In FURIOSA we really drive home how the characters live in a barren wasteland ruled by shitty men, squabbling over oil and weapons– not too far removed from our present society. Furiosa herself reminds me of both Mister Miracle and Big Barda, a babe stolen from paradise and raised in hell, who becomes a female fury that defies the despot that rules the wasteland.

    I also like Dementus and Jack as mirror versions of Max, with similar backgrounds, but different approaches to Wasteland living. Someone online pointed out that Dementus kinda looks like Mel Gibson in his big conquistador beard phase, and now I can’t unsee it.

    And I also love Scrotus, because he! is! Scrotus!

  25. I don’t know what I expected from this movie, but I certainly wasn’t expecting an outlaw biker religious epic.

    As I described it to my co-worker “It’s like watching Ben Hur and The Wild Angles simultaneously while leafing through Camus in Australia”.

    When she mention that was a pretty specific description:

    “Well… It’s a pretty specific movie”

  26. A few more things:

    – Dementus is maybe Miller’s version of an Elmore Leonard villain. Always talks a big game, stylizes himself as that criminal genius, but the most dangerous part about him is his stupidity, which makes him unpredictable.

    – I was a bit disappointed by the big action scene. Maybe they hyped it up too much by talking about how awesome it was and how it took them almost two months to shoot the whole thing, but it was nothing that FURY ROAD didn’t do better. Okay, this is, as we Germans say, “complaining on a high level”. You get something really cool and still find ways to nitpick. It was an incredible scene that got my heart pumping.

    – The only thing that in my opinion went too far into the typical prequel trapping, was the Organic Mechanic. There was no reason for him to not be part of Immortan Joe’s group from the beginning. When he got traded, it felt unmotivated. And as much as I love Miller’s names, him actually saying out loud “I’m the Organic Mechanic” felt pretty awkward.

    – Was there a better way to show how little all the bad guys care about the women in their world than how Furiosa was able to just hide in plain sight and work her way up? I’m sure Rictus got a serious ass whooping if they ever found out that it was his fault that she escaped, but they must have forgotten about her really quick. Even Dementus apparently didn’t care anymore once he handed her over to Immortan. (Although he might have just pretended to not remember her.)

    – I love that in this unashamed feminist movie, they subverted one of my least favourite tropes (The only good person in the villain’s organisation is a woman.) by not just having a token evil woman in it, but also make her manipulate the heroic women with some sappy “I’m a mother too, we must stick together” bullshit, before she instantly snitches on them and blames others for their escape.

    – Another hated trope of mine is “the hero needs a love interest” and thankfully George Miller is too smart for Hollywood bullshit like that. So just like Max and Furiosa never showed any romantic feelings for each other in FURY ROAD, they kept the feelings between her and Jack ambiguous. Were they a couple? Were they just close friends? We don’t know and it’s perfect that way.

    – One thing that I love about this series are all those small touches, that even make the most grotesque cartoon villain feel human. Like how that one kid was just sitting on a pile of vegetables and waiting to finally activate “the Bommyknocker”. (And then meets a tragic ending.) Or as Vern pointed out, how Furiosa’s kidnappers first seem scary, but then instantly become pathetic and almost likeable.

    – The sight of that one kidnapper’s corpse being comically stuck in the sand? The perfect mix between horrifying and hilarious.

    – I thought the “Tune in for Furiosa’s next adventure!” end credits were fun.

    – The History Man looked like a tattooed Miraculix.

    – I did not enjoy seeing the trailer for STING before this.

    In conclusion: I had no idea what I was getting into when I sat down. For some reason I was a bit on the “Why not give us another movie with Max? Why suddenly focus on another character’s backstory?” side of things. But I was captivated from the beginning to the end. For now I would even say it was better than FURY ROAD, although obviously a bit more sloppy on the FX side of things. (I blame the current WB management.) It also made me realize why I am usually unable to enjoy epics about protagonists who work their way up from all the way down and defeat the evil kings: They usually don’t have cars, guns and take place in some (pseudo-)historical setting. This was more fun.

  27. Kaplan – I do think Dementus is full of shit when he says that, but it’s a line of bullshit he spews throughout the movie. The first time he meets Furiosa he tells her about his “little ones” he lost. He even wears their teddy bear as a totem during battle! I’m undecided whether he really believes it or it’s just an excuse he likes to give people, but he’s arguing that anything is justified when you’ve been through what people go through in the Wasteland. Kind of the Trumpian “everybody is corrupt” excuse. And part of Furiosa’s journey is trying to be better than that.

    His excuses are also 100% in the George Miller tradition, going back to the MAD MAX scene I compared it to, in which Johnny babbles to Max that his actions are not his fault because he has psychopathic personality disorder. “The judge, man! He said so!”

  28. Thank you Vern and others for allowing me to relive a bit of this magic via your words and insights.

    This was a miracle of a film that blossomed for me moment to moment in such unexpected and awe inspiring ways. I feel like the trailers made this look like “more of that awesome shit you loved in FURY ROAD!” which I was unbelievably excited to see, but it really hides just how expansive it is and how much territory it covers both in terms of story and artistry. In a way I feel like it is THE definitive Mad Max film; if you had to watch only one, I think it should be this one. (Of course, you will be obligated to immediately follow it up with Fury Road so, that takes care of that)

    It’s a cliche to accuse a character of being Shakespearean, but I think Dementus earns this credit because his words often speak as loudly as his actions. I was absolutely stunned by his gambit when he first rides up on the Citadel; you can really imagine how he’s assembled such a hoarde using this sort of charisma and persuasion. But of course the Citadel is the absolute worst place in the world he could have attempted to employ such a tactic, and we see it appropriately blow up in his face. (The warboys descending on giant hooks is something I never could have even imagined I’d see before it was happening) (the Gas Town boss’s painting is another image that hit me like a ton of bricks).

    And his verbal sparring with Furiosa at the end… it’s hard for me to avoid superlative in any of this, but I really cannot name for you another revenge caper that so effectively and fascinatingly dealt with the emptiness that faces a protagonist who finally gets what they’ve been struggling to attain. Maybe if LADY VENGEANCE had grown a tree out of Oldboy at the end of that movie.

    “You’re *SCUM*, Dementus!”

    Despite having approximately 500x more dialog than FURY ROAD, it’s still stunningly economical in its storytelling. For example we find out that Dementus has fucked up his leadership of Gas Town not through any clunky esposition, but because it’s mentioned in passing by Praetorian Jack as he tries to convince Furiosa to become his road war pupil.

    Words also make a pivotal difference in the incredible negotiation between Dementus and Joe. Furiosa speaks for the first time in years and the words of this little girl put Dementus on his backfoot, which allows Joe to press his advantage and also steal two of Dementus’ most valuable assets as part of the deal they strike.

    And, holy shit: the list of wars that History Man recites to introduce the FORTY DAY ROAD WAR montage just fucking shattered me. The deep horror and also the epic excitement I felt deep in my belly as he runs out of wars that have actually happened, and moves onto the future wars that the bottomless lore of the Mad Max universe predicts.

    Is Dementus fucking *smiling* as he watches Furiosa pluck a fruit off the tree that is growing out of him?

    Maybe Furiosa told History Man that she simply planted a tree in him (eg in his corpse), and the specifics took on the proportion of myth and fable as it was retold. It doesn’t matter, it’s one of the most amazing and unexpected images I’ve ever seen in a film.

    It’s honestly beyond my comprehension that a film like FURIOSA exists and that I’m lucky enough to have experienced it.

  29. On the subject of Dementus’s final speech, I took it as an expression of how there’s no hope or meaning to the suffering of the wastelands. Characters (particularly Jack) have chances for meaningful deaths only to survive and then die later in horrible and pointless ways. It’s something of a middle finger to the lie stories feed us that death and suffering should have a point.

    So I saw Dementus as calling Furiosa out on trying to kill him in a way that would provide any closure for her – it’s just not possible. That’s probably why she kept him alive with a tree growing out of him instead. (Assuming she actually did; I’m not 100% sure she wasn’t shining the First History Man on.)

    It provides new context to her smuggling the wives; in a world with no hope, she has to make her own. It’s the only way.

    I didn’t like this one quite as much as Fury Road, but it’s not really a problem that I didn’t – Fury Road is basically perfect, and it would have been remarkable if Miller could have lived up to it. I’ll settle for “extremely good” as second place.

  30. I agree with the consensus. Again, an overwhelming experience, in a way distinct from “Fury Road”, which makes this a five film series made up of five very different experiences. I hope it gets nominated for Best Picture like “Fury Road”, and they show the scene with, “My name is Scrotus, and this is my brother Erectus!”

    But, y’know, it was kind of a downer for me. I think, moreso than “Fury Road”, this one directly connected to real world events. “Fury Road” is fueled by hope, the idea that these brides will be freed and Furiosa will overthrow the Citadel (a feat made more impressive by what we learn here). That prick Immortan Joe will be overthrown, and the people will find salvation.

    But huge chunks of this movie involve Furiosa navigating a sausage fest of weak and stupid men, all of them competing for who can be the most spineless of all of them. Seeing the War Boys again this time just reminded me these dickweeds are a bunch of creepy incels. And the sad subtext of this movie is that, by taking the fight to Dementus, Furiosa is inevitably aiding the rise of Immortan Joe.

    This movie unfortunately reminded me of the shock I felt of the last eight years when male friends suddenly showed their real faces to everyone, emboldened to embrace their worst selves. Women suddenly being lumped in with generic ideas of “abundance”, the rise of the “tradwife”, the seeming-sanctioning of misogynist speech and the constant minimalizing of female pain and suffering. The idea that women have nothing to offer because men will always have this Freudian obsession with force and size and physical chaos. I could say this affects me because of the cruelty towards women. But mostly, I HATE being around dumb, useless, predictable dudes like this. I hate looking like some sort of bleeding heart because I’m the one guy who won’t cosign “merited” brutality towards women, the guy who is just BORED to hear women whom I like being reduced to reproductive organs, the one who is greeted with furtive look-aways when I champion a woman’s right to choose. “Furiosa” seems to endorse the idea that, when civilization collapses, these dickheads will take over, and we’ll have to spend another couple generations kicking them in their small dicks.

  31. jeez, even with that wall of text I forgot an important point in the seed/hope ending. Men like Dementus “killed the world” with their thirst for power and bitter hearts. But they didn’t really kill the world, did they? The bleak world of Furiosa might be on life support, but it and its people persist. And as long as people like Furiosa carry the seed of hope in their hearts, and plant literal seeds in the land, we will struggle on.

    I am having trouble finding the words, but there is something there about how intrinsically tied together hope, the future of humanity, and the environment are. Those who have no hope or empathy seek short term power and pleasure and don’t care what effect they have on the people or world around them. To have hope requires on some level believing in people, believing in the future, and maintaining a livable environment to hold that future. Lashing out against evil is not enough, one has to replace it with love and hope. If we cannot rebuild what they destroyed, we have to build something new. Life can grow from the ashes of burned trees, hope can grow from the ashes of burned hearts. There is something primal Miller expressed here that I feel more than I can explain. Which ties into Three Thousand Years of Longing, which I watched this morning and feels like a mission statement from Miller on the power of myth and the truths held in stories.

    Also to add to Vern’s comments on Dementus’ Trump-ian qualities, like his hollow appeal to the oppressed masses: one encouraging thing is that Miller also shows how Dementus and those like him ultimately struggle to hold onto power because of the same self-serving nature that drove them to power in the first place. Dementus is able to take Gastown because he is willing to kill his own followers, but we see that leads to the Octoboss’ gang breaking away. We see Gastown after some time has passed it seems to be falling apart and Dementus’ demands are throwing off the balance of trade, his own people are interfering with the deliveries in a desperate struggle for resources.

    It is always a struggle. Sometimes it feels like the end of the world, but it’s only the end if we give up. And no matter how hard-fought our victories are, we cannot assume they are permanent. The fact that since Fury Road came out America has gone BACKWARDS on reproductive rights, and somehow made the movie’s themes of women’s bodily control and autonomy more timely now than when it came out is shocking and depressing, but it is a reminder that we must be ever vigilant and persistent in our struggles for humanity and freedom.

    @Bill- good call on the Speed Racer comparison with the hyper-saturated hyper-stylized look creating its own world. Also, when Vern mentioned the cinematographer is the same person who did 300: Rise of an Empire I realized that Furiosa also reminded me of that film’s digital fantasy world and computer-assisted camera action. And as a comics fan I am shamefully only a little familiar with Kirby’s Fourth World, but your comparisons are interesting.

  32. “But they didn’t really kill the world, did they? The bleak world of Furiosa might be on life support, but it and its people persist. ”

    That was actually another thing that I liked about the movie. It made Immortan’s world appealing. Kinda. It was a scary cult/dictatorship that has no value for your life or those of anybody else in it, but he had a small economy running with Gastown and the Bullet Farm. And he provided education! It actually took me a moment (specifically until the students were just repeating bullshit about the glory of Immortan Joe) to realize that it was NOT heartwarming to see Scrotus and Erectus act as teachers who tought a bunch of teens how to fix their cars. Honestly, I could see why someone would prefer to join him instead of roaming the wasteland with some random weirdos.

    BTW, if you think about it, it’s interesting to see the post-apocalyptic world evolve in each sequel. In ROAD WARRIOR it seemed like people were just driving (and flying) to nowhere. Humungus’ gang appeared like Nomads with no place to go. In THUNDERDOME we already had some kind of structure with Bartertown. It was not just a random colony, it was actually a place that people knew about and would go to if they needed something. Then by FURY ROAD/FURIOSA, we see that some people have apparently managed to build city-ish fortresses, that live in symbiosis with other nearby places. Okay, maybe Immortan sent a bunch of killers to Gastown and the Bullet Farm and replaced everybody with his own staff, but it’s also plausible that they all existed on their own until someone thought “Hey, you have something that I want. And I could take it from you. But I’m sure you want what I have, so maybe we should just sit down and talk about it, before we have to go through the hassle of starting a battle that will weaken both of us, no matter who will win.”

  33. I’m really enjoying all these comments. So many insights and things I didn’t think of. I’m glad I’m not the only one obsessing over this thing. Planning to see it a second time today.

    One dumb little thing I forgot to include in the review: Furiosa’s mom tells her to find the high ground, and then she ends up at the Citadel. After witnessing the strategic advantage of the high ground, too! Whether or not she has the metaphorical high ground is a different question, but her mom meant it literally anyway.

  34. Here’s one to ponder. Who calls their child Scrotus? It doesn’t really seem to do much to highlight the power and glory of a great warlord wanting to cement his position and authority through his son. It sounds like a cheap Ozzie joke supporting Ben’s remark that the world building here is lifted from Bogan reality. But wait, the etymology of scrotum comes from the Latin via scrautum, a leather quiver for arrows, which actually makes so much sense. Of course, no one in the wasteland will know their etymology, but I will bet Dr Miller had to study both Latin and anatomy at medical school.

  35. I can totally see someone like Immortan Joe naming his son Scrotus, because he is ugly, but still his male spawn. “My son may look like a ballsac, but this is where men originate! He is not a scrotum, he is SCROTUS! The glorious giver of seed!”

  36. Held up to a second viewing, and I followed the Wasteland conflicts better. Two little details I wanted to update on. This time I noticed that the thing that Furiosa takes her robot arm from appears earlier in the scene where they build the war rig. An old man is pushing it around in the shop so it seems to be used for engine building or something. Second, Miller’s symbolism with the peach is much less ambiguous than I thought. I guess I didn’t really process Furiosa’s last line, which seems to indicate that she and Dementus are tainted but the peach and the wives represent hope for the future.

  37. Finally managed to catch Furiosa in Imax yesterday – absolutely loved it, like Furiosa’s mother, this film is magnificent. I still rank Fury Road slightly higher – Fury Road was an immediate classic for me and a perfect movie in my book – but Furiosa is not far behind, and definitely a very worthy addition to the Mad Max saga.

    Really loved how it unpacks this world, how it gives room for character development, and how – in true respect of Mad Max characters – there is no good or bad sides, it is all very grey and messed up. For me Fury Road is still a better movie because of its energy, the soundtrack and the amazing shots throughout the whole film (and the invisible CGI effects)… Furiosa does not hit all of that as perfectly as Fury Road did. I have watched and re-watched Fury Road many times since it was released – I don’t think I will go back to Furiosa as frequently. But I do love the fact that Miller did not take the easy road and just try to do Fury Road 2, instead bringing a full-scale epic movie that is both very different and very similar to all the Mad Max films.

    I do have a question though – spoiler ahead in case you have not seen it – after Furiosa loses her arm and escaped Dementus, and is trying to get back to Dementus – there is a short shot of a guy next to a vehicle that looks very much like Max’ interceptor car. is it supposed to be Max or did I miss something? It just felt out of place there but as it is just a few seconds shot, I was not sure I got it… anyone else thought about that?

    While I agree that a lot of media are focusing too much on box office returns and now unfortunately there is a negative narrative on Furiosa, I also get that movies is a business and there is a lot of money involved to make such a film… we all want this to succeed in order to get the next chapter in the Mad Max saga! I think Warner Bros did a shitty job with the marketing – trying to sell this as a summer blockbuster. a real Fury Road #2, while it should have been sold more like Dune part 2 was – a saga, an epic journey… if Dune 2 can do 250 mio USD in the US alone, there was room for Furiosa to do more and get its budget back. It just should been released in March or October, but not in the middle of the blockbuster season – pity because this movie deserves so much more and now it will be seen as a failure. And might end the Mad Max saga here.

    Miller should be praised for not taking the easy road – no pun intended – here by making a movie that is linked to an established franchise but has a different genre… few franchises have managed that – actually I was trying to think of what franchise has really done that and all I could think of was Pitch Black (small scale sci-fi movie, leaning towards horror) and Chronicles of Riddick (epic scale sci-fi, no horror element) – anyone thinks of another franchise which has managed to not only go to scale but also mix genre at the same time?

    It is also interesting to think that nowadays the streaming platform is usually the place where franchise gets unpacked and offer space for digging more into secondary characters… not praising that trend (it frustrates me more often than not) but think on how Disney has used streaming platform to unpack characters from the Marvel Universe and Star Wars,same thing that Lionsgate did with the John Wick universe and the Continental serie… and we had also the Peacemaker (building up on Suicide Squad), and we have the Penguin coming up, an Alien serie… As I wrote, I am not a huge fan of that – most of the serie mentioned here have for me missed the mark (I must admit that despite being a massive John Wick fan, I did not even try to watch the Continental)… but maybe there is one exception that reminds me of the Fury Road/Furiosa connection: the Star Wars serie Andor opened up the Rogue One universe and built a whole character journey from a side character in the film… like Fury Road, Rogue One is really focused on a mission, and Andor, like Furiosa, is the perfect “companion piece” to the previous film as it takes its time to upack a specific universe and tell one character’s journey. Given also that Furiosa is split into 5 chapters, it adds to the feeling that Furiosa feels like a mini-serie packed into one movie. Don’t misread me – not wishing at all that Furiosa had been made for the home screen – I am so happy that it was a big screen event – but I do see that parallel with the trend nowadays to build up universe in streaming platform to continue stories from the bigger screen. Meaning that while I am hopeful Miller will still get his money to make the next Mad Max chapter for the cinema, maybe worst case scenario he will be offered to do a mini-serie on the wasteland instead…

    And now what? Furiosa was THE movie I was waiting for this year… kept watching the trailer again and again, and while there are other movies at the horizon that I am excited to see, nothing is at the level of the anticipation I had for Furiosa… so it feels a bit like now that I have seen it, there is a gap to fill!

  38. Yeah, from what I read that was supposed to be Max (played by the stunt double from FURY ROAD) and it was odd that the editing made it look like he brought Furiosa back to the Citadel cannibals.

  39. Well, now I know why Mr. Majestyk is sitting THIS one out. Y’all are over thinking this to a book

    Well, now I know why Mr. Majestyk is sitting this one out. You all are over thinking this to a fault. Were he present, he could cut through it, complementing your meanderings with his usual laser precision. His silence speaks volumes, and that too is indicative of the man, and his standards.

  40. I like history and I enjoyed how FURIOSA tells a story that feels like something from a few thousand years ago. Furiosa’s life story alone is an odyssey. Dementus feels like a historic figure, a charismatic leader who united different tribes of horse people from the steppe (bikers from the desert), who lays siege to big cities and gives terrific speeches to the besieged. (Unfortunately for him he gets a Spartan response at the citadel.) He uses a Trojan-horse-like ploy to conquer another city, after which the troubles start: He can’t prevent a commander from rebelling, and he is not very adept at ruling a giant city state (because conquering and governing are different skill sets). And his demise feels like something from a great historian’s work: “Some sources claim a, others say b but the historian c claimed to have heard first hand (did he?) from Furiosa (did she tell the truth?) that d happened.”

    I don’t want to claim that there is any overarching message (“modern weapons or environmental catastrophes could lead to our version of the Late Bronze Age collapse”) but I just love that this layer is there, on a pure “I have this hobby too, Mr. Miller!” level.

  41. Thanks CJ Holden… if it is indeed Max, then it is also a weird narrative choice. You would assume that between Furiosa’s rescue at the Citadel and Max being caught in Fury Road, a long time would pass… meaning it implies Max has been around the area for a long time?
    They should have kept that shot of Max for the end, once they reconnect Furiosa’s timeline to Fury Road…
    Not a massive thing obviously, but seems a bit like a clumsy mistake to make Max appear in the film when it was in fact not needed.

  42. I liked this movie just fine. I didn’t like it quite as much as FURY ROAD – it really misses the talent of DP John Seale – but I appreciate the commitment and work that George Miller and the cast/crew put into these movies – all 5 films are no worse than excellent. I’m a bit of a minority in that my favourite is BEYOND THUNDERDOME (first of the MAD MAX films I saw in a theatre first – way back in 1985.)

    The pile on in some places over it’s lack of box office success is both not surprising, somewhat expected and also a bit (deservedly so) worth noting – filmmaking is after all partly at least – a business – and as such money can’t be burned up with out any return. I tend to worry both about the long term viability of theatrical releases – what will Hollywood do it the massive profits generated by blockbuster tentpoles might be drying up – how will it pivot – and what will it cause to happen. One thing that makes me sick with worry is that a lot of jobs in theatres are really under threat.

    However – an article on Deadline earlier this year also made me think a little deeper about how a movie is ‘profitable’ in the long run. The article was discussing the lack of box office success (relatively speaking) for Michael Mann’s Ferrari – but it mentioned how Mann’s films tend to continue being watched long after their theatrical release – and how he has never really had a blockbuster success – but the ‘longtail’ of the movies turns them into big profit makers down the line – a studio executive mentioned that for Warner Brothers HEAT was currently one of their top 10 most profitable movies – generating profit ultimately inline with Harry Potter films – it’s just that a lot less of it was front loaded.

    I suspect that FURY ROAD & FURIOSA

  43. I liked this movie just fine. I didn’t like it quite as much as FURY ROAD – it really misses the talent of DP John Seale – but I appreciate the commitment and work that George Miller and the cast/crew put into these movies – all 5 films are no worse than excellent. I’m a bit of a minority in that my favourite is BEYOND THUNDERDOME (first of the MAD MAX films I saw in a theatre first – way back in 1985.)

    The pile on in some places over it’s lack of box office success is both not surprising, somewhat expected and also a bit (deservedly so) worth noting – filmmaking is after all partly at least – a business – and as such money can’t be burned up with out any return. I tend to worry both about the long term viability of theatrical releases – what will Hollywood do it the massive profits generated by blockbuster tentpoles might be drying up – how will it pivot – and what will it cause to happen. One thing that makes me sick with worry is that a lot of jobs in theatres are really under threat.

    However – an article on Deadline earlier this year also made me think a little deeper about how a movie is ‘profitable’ in the long run. The article was discussing the lack of box office success (relatively speaking) for Michael Mann’s Ferrari – but it mentioned how Mann’s films tend to continue being watched long after their theatrical release – and how he has never really had a blockbuster success – but the ‘longtail’ of the movies turns them into big profit makers down the line – a studio executive mentioned that for Warner Brothers HEAT was ultimately one of their top 10 most profitable movies – generating profits comparable with Harry Potter films – it’s just that a lot less of it was front loaded. None of the MAD MAX movies have ever been big blockbusters, except the first which made a pile of cash because it was so cheaply produced.

    I suspect that FURY ROAD & FURIOSA will be/are like that – I mean like Mann’s films – years later they are much more a part of the cultural zeitgeist – and FURY ROAD is all over TV/streaming (I think the only thing I see more of on cable are the BOURNE movies.) I think the other thing that counts in there favour is that I bet they still sell a boatload of physical copies of the movies, comparatively speaking.

    I hope this is true because personally I want to see more of what George Miller has to offer.

  44. From what I’ve heard, none of the MAD MAX films were exactly blockbusters. But obviously the series has legs, if studios are willing to finance sequels and spin-offs decades later, even without its original star. I doubt that by the end of the day FURIOSA will be a huge loss for WB.

  45. I assumed that maggot lady is who dragged Furiosa to her crypt and that Mad Max cameo was simply Miller going comic book panel cameo this side of Batman seen on a rooftop as Superman flies by Gotham City or something.

    CJ – the original MAD MAX at one point was a Guiness Records book entry for most profitable film ever, a low budget programmer that went well around the world (except America oddly enough, blame AIP for fucking that one up*) so like the original HALLOWEEN I suppose. The rest of the Mel entries were hits but not holy shit record breakers, profitable because they didn’t cost a fortune.

    *Rant Time*

    It’s weird Hollywood keeps forgetting that point. I look at modern Disney which insists upon hitting for the fences everytime budget-wise and think back to the Michael Eisner regime days when he had his so-called “singles/doubles” movies. The cartoons and Touchstone blockbusters would get the big budgets, but the schedule would also include kids films, inspirational sports movies, kids sports movies, etc. Eisner simply took his methodology from his Paramount days (He remade BAD NEWS BEARS as THE MIGHTY DUCKS) but not that different tbh from Uncle Walt’s strategy when you think about it. This strategy didn’t necessarily insure sexy money barring surprise breakouts, but it kept those doors open for a long time.

    That reminds me. Disney has a new Daisey Ridley swimming movie that got at token theatrical release this weekend, got really good reviews, even producer Jerry Bruckheimer claims its the best test scores for anything he ever made at Disney. Would this movie had been a hit if it had a decent release and marketing? Who knows, but Disney deemed it a loser not worth the trouble and using this release to promote its Disney Plus run.

    *=How Roger Corman didn’t get his hands on it is a mystery. He would’ve known how to sell the fuck out of it. And Corman’s passing during this hellscape of Hollywood is poetic, a tightwad that knew how to budget wisely.

  46. I liked a lot of this movie tremendously, particularly the parts that were the most different from FURY ROAD. For me the weakest points were the obvious visual connections – like the shot of Furiosa bursting out of the sand a la Max in the previous film, or the way Jack seemed to be dressed identically to Max. Overall I was surprised at how well it worked – I went into it a bit skeptical, and pretty sure FURY ROAD did not need a prequel at all, and found myself realizing that OK, maybe it really did. Running around the desert with Dementus’ horde, or seeing the inside workings of the Citadel and Gastown – I would have thought this was all extraneous, but it was actually awesome. And there were moments of verbal humor, like the History Man trying to convey the meaning of “abundance”, that were so completely unlike the previous film or ROAD WARRIOR… but of course in this world there would be at least a few people who love words the way the War Boys love cars, and it would be silly and fun to be around them.

    I had mixed feelings about the last act, with the movie telling rather than showing us about the epic war between Dementus and the Citadel – then the last shot took my breath away. But running the clips from FURY ROAD under the credits kind of undermined the whole thing for me. I thought it worked best when it was its own separate entity, a sprawling, somewhat baggy saga as opposed to the airtight haiku of FURY ROAD or the bleak black humor joke of ROAD WARRIOR.

    But I mean, in the relative scale of things, how do I feel about getting to go to a big mainstream theater and see a giant science fiction epic full of terrific performances and some absolutely riveting action sequences? Especially compared to everything else from the trailers that ran before this, like TWISTERS or BAD BOYS?? RESPECT, Dr Miller.

  47. Yeah, the OG Mad Max was record breaking, but only because it was so cheap! But from what I’ve heard (I sadly wasn’t there), even part 2 didn’t set the box office on fire, despite turning in a good profit. (Also because it looked more expensive than it actually was.) And even THUNDERDOME was a good investment for WB, although by the end of the year it barely scraped the top 20 of the most successful movies of its year.

    And yet, these movies have legs. They still crank out special editions of the old ones on physical media. And I think it’s not an understatement to say that FURY ROAD is in 2024 still more profitable than PITCH PERFECT 2, which famously won the box office race. We all agree here that this talk about box office is bullshit, but it would be a miracle if FURIOSA would be the one movie of the series that ended up being buried because it will fail to make money AND connect with audiences who will discover it on home video.

    Also one important thing must be remembered: George Miller owns the rights to MAD MAX! They gave it to him to get him off the director’s chair for CONTACT. And I’m sure even if WB says “Nah, we’re good” when he wants to make another one, another studio will gladly take over. (I suspect he might not be allowed to reference anything that happened in FURY ROAD or FURIOSA though, but shit like that wouldn’t stop him from telling his story.)

  48. I thought it was Max dragging her in the desert but then had no idea how she ended up in the maggot body part burrow.

  49. BTW, one more thing that I just realized: Am I the only one who thought it was amazing that The History Man gave us a bunch of options about what Furiosa did with Dementus, but the one that he insisted was the absolute truth because it was told to him by Furiosa herself, was the most unrealistic one?

  50. Because I love box office talk, I’ll weigh in briefly here…

    @Alan – As for box office longtail, that’s more about the day-to-day business of the movie industry. Most studios do make money off their movies due to ancillary markets, over the course of several years. It’s how the movie business is still a business. But studios don’t spent six months to a year to make a profit four or five years down the line. They make movies to enter profit during that first weekend, or at least the second. No one makes these $150 million tentpoles to arrive at a profit once the movie hits Telemundo. This is especially clear today, because ancillary markets involve a splitting of profits to more and more partners, and in 2024 there are less and less ancillary markets available. The end of the DVD was as much about saving money for the studios by not making physical objects for fans anymore as much as it was about the rise of streaming.

    The idea of “Ferrari” becoming profitable in a few years is something Deadline, in that case, is crowing about as a possibility, not a given. That movie had the cost of a blockbuster but it was marketed as a boutique item, and a lot of money was lost. The movie would have to explode in some other media in order to get near a profit.”Furiosa”, it’s early, but it’s too soon to tell. It’s a catalog title in a franchise, so it’s possible the WB won’t take a serious bath on this, but the implication is based on a revival for this particular film coming one day. You can’t bet on such things. Remember, “Furiosa” is the most expensive “Max” movie by a considerable distance.

    @RRA, I think its true studio executives aren’t as interested in the singles and doubles because of the ego of having a movie generating half a billion theatrically (even at a profit loss). But it’s worth remembering that getting the word out is harder than ever. Marketing a mid-budgeted broad-appeal film was a lot easier, because you knew, as a distributor, to throw money at TV ads. But today you have to spend in a way that suggests you’re competing for eyeballs, and the eyeballs are everywhere — TV, online, Fortnite, YouTube, channels and streaming services etc. Marketing budgets are disproportionately higher than they used to be, because movies used to play for two months, four months, even more, and you were guaranteed theater bookings weeks later than the opening. Now, that first weekend is crucial, since theaters watching the bottom line can’t play movies to empty theaters based on the possibility late-stage marketing will get people to see something. We’re talking ad campaigns that are $60 million, $80 million, just for those first three days. That Daisy Ridley swimmer movie would have needed at least $40 million in marketing, and a gross at maybe $100 million worldwide. The economics don’t support such a prognostication.

    @CJ, I had to crunch the numbers on this.
    So “Fury Road” allegedly cost $150 million to produce (Wikipedia says more, actually), and let’s say marketing set the WB back $100 million (again, conservative estimate). So that means the movie would have to generate $500 million to reach profit THEATRICALLY, more or less, given a 55/45 domestic/international profit-sharing split. Even if “Fury Road” was made to allow Warner Bros. a greater share of the profits, the $370 million worldwide performance is not optimal. Even in a muted DVD marketplace, the claim is that “Fury Road” pulled in a sizable $56 million. This is what has been reported, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “Fury Road” glided by on accolades to reach profit. It will continue to earn over the years, I’m certain.

    “Pitch Perfect 2” earned $287 million internationally. However, the production budget is listed as only $29 million, and the ad campaign certainly cost less than $100 million. If the p+a was $80 million (it was probably much less), that means total expenditure would be $109 million, which means a global take of $218 million would be needed to break even. Additionally, the movie grabbed $43 million on the home distribution market. So “Pitch Perfect 2” was profitable very quickly, and considerably, whereas “Fury Road” had to leg it out, and may still be legging it out.

  51. I like history and I enjoyed how FURIOSA tells a story that feels like something from a few thousand years ago. Furiosa’s life story alone is an odyssey. Dementus feels like a historic figure, a charismatic leader who united different tribes of horse people from the steppe (bikers from the desert), who lays siege to big cities and gives terrific speeches to the besieged. (Unfortunately for him he gets a Spartan response at the citadel.) He uses a Trojan-horse-like ploy to conquer another city, after which the troubles start: He can’t prevent a commander from rebelling, and he is not very adept at ruling a giant city state (because conquering and governing are different skill sets). And his demise feels like something from a great historian’s work: “Some sources claim a, others say b but the historian c claimed to have heard first hand (did he?) from Furiosa (did she tell the truth?) that d happened.”

    I don’t want to claim that there is any overarching message (“modern weapons or environmental catastrophes could lead to our version of the Late Bronze Age collapse”) but I just love that this layer is there, on a pure “I have this hobby too, Mr. Miller!” level.

    @Ben C.
    “I had mixed feelings about the last act, with the movie telling rather than showing us about the epic war between Dementus and the Citadel” – even that is an ancient trick, which even has a cool Greek name: Teichoscopy. It is a technical term for a scene that is described by an onlooker but that (for whatever reasons) takes place off stage.
    I like that it is done this way. We don’t really need to see it. We are all action fans here, but the important part is that Furiosa gets her revenge. And the battle and the subsequent escape of Dementus is just a prelude to that final confrontation.

    (Also: Did we see the war boy, who made his first appearance in the film with an arrow in his head, on the battlefield, in the aftermath of the battle? No connection to ancient history, I just would love him surviving even this.)

  52. Yeah, I think my point here is that people are actually still watching FURY ROAD, it is available at different streaming services, will most likely get another physical media release with a fancy new cover when FURIOSA comes out, is shown on TV and generally popular enough to let a major studio greenlight a quite expensive theatrically released prequel 10 years later, while nobody is talking about PITCH PERFECT 2 anymore. (No offense to any of the PP movies. I never saw them and have no beef with them or their fans.) That movie has made its money more or less, while FURY ROAD (and most likely FURIOSA) will continue to make money through merchandising and home video.

  53. Thank god it was so different from Fury Road. Its own strengths shine more.

    I’m struck, not just by how excellent this is, but also how… old-fashioned? In the first attack on the Citadel, Dementus tries to cause an uprising and is met with the riddle of steel from Conan the Barbarian (Furiosa’s mother herself, of course, being crucified on the tree of woe). The movie seems to ignore years, no, decades of action movie history in a way that Fury Road did not, all in order to do its own particular thing that it more or less also did in the original movie 45 years ago. Somehow it’s stuck in the past and still marvellously inventive, like a working time machine.

    So now, I want to talk about the movie’s most important characters: the two branches of Mad Max, or Furiosa’s two minds on humanity, as portrayed by Praetorian Jack and Dementus.

    There can be no question that mankind screwed itself. There can be no question too that the ultimate judge of this shitshow has yet to be born. Furiosa, never knowing anything other than the post-apocalypse and thus never biased one way or the other, gives us the fresh eyes through which to judge humanity. She eventually settles on two leading exemplars of humanity, picked because they had the greatest influence on her (as no biological father is ever shown, they double for this young woman’s father figures too).

    The first is Jack. He’s first shown as the greatest Road Warrior (and Furiosa is obviously star struck). He is basically Mad Max if he were less mad and could stand being around people, and I think that’s a road patrol jacket and police blue warpaint he’s wearing. He has every quality a heroic character does, from competence to loyalty to proactiveness to compassion, and never hides it. Even so he’s acutely aware of his failure: it’s out of his hands to find a living that doesn’t involve serving Paleface Thulsa Doom. He jumps on the quest to help Furiosa escape, the same way an Arthurian knight would jump at the chance to do something great. He never says it, but he seeks redemption and arguably finds it. He aids Furiosa even with his very death, which is enough of a distraction for Furiosa to escape.

    The other is Dementus. He’s not without his charm, his ability to entertain, his quick thinking, he’s more of a natural leader than Immortan Joe for sure. I’ll admit that as I grow older, this comes from a darker place, but I get it or so I think. He probably did have at least one child, why else the teddy bear, and probably did lose his family. He has a lot of hate and rage, for how he suffered and how his life went to pieces, and wants to inflict what he feels on the world in general. (Mad Max could have been him, too, were a few details different -check out the way Dementus is rocking Mel’s current beard!) He’s the opposite of Jack in that there’s no particular purpose to him and no higher calling. He was struck so he strikes, mindlessly, on instinct. These two obviously have to come into conflict.

    So who is Furiosa’s father? It’s both of them. She can’t help but be like Dementus, full of the pain of a loss she can never regain, burning with rage (that said, I wish Taylor-Joy could burn with rage half as bright as Theron, she gives a fine performance but it’s really the best versus the rest). She is obsessed with this loss, with fixing what is broken even though it’s literally impossible, and if it drives her to madness so be it. In the end, Dementus tells her to fully adopt his worldview, kill him without restoring nothing, just to feel good for causing someone else’s suffering. Instead she chooses to follow Jack and his search for something greater, which gives us the real meat of the movie:

    As the title cards say, you must go Beyond Thun- ehhh, Vengeance. She cannot fix what’s broken and any death for Dementus, no matter how cruel, would not be enough to satisfy her. So she plants a seed in him, just so he can know what it’s like to get seeded (you thought Fury Road was feminist), but also so that his life can give the Wasteland the one thing he only cared to take, life. Furiosa gets to make a little personal Green Place, and the destroyer of the world can be redeemed into the creator of a new one, in a fashion. In the end she takes that fruit, shares it with the pregnant wives and by extension with the unborn, and sets out for the Green Place for real. There’s no hope for the generation that predates the post-apocalypse, no hope for the generation born in it, but the next? Will the generation not yet born redeem you?

  54. There’s something important I forgot about yesterday:

    FURY ROAD was pure action that ends with the quote “Where must we go, those who wander the wasteland in search of our better selves?” FURIOSA is used to fully explore that quote, and is slower with less action and more philosophy. This means that the franchise got its back-to-back REGENERATION and DAY OF RECKONING.

  55. I guess the point of showing clips from FURY ROAD at the end is to hammer into us that this is what happens next. And that means that (hopefully) the last chapter is about one Max Rockatansky, and what happens to him and the woman and child we get glimpses of in FURY ROAD. This could have happened at the same time as the events in FURIOSA, which I doubt since he’s clearly alone on that mountain top while watching Furiosa down below. And this could mean we get to see Tom Hardy again. Or it could have happened before that. Which means we will probably get a third young fresh faced actor as Max.

  56. I wish I liked this as much as everyone else here. I really feel like the CGI robbed this movie of something. I know, I know, Fury Road had a lot of “hidden CGI.” The problem with Furiosa is that it isn’t hidden. There are so many (fairly obvious) bits of CGI in the movie, where physics don’t make sense (jumping on the horse, riding a motorcycle up a dune) or the blurriness of the object screams actor on green screen with CGI vehicle/structure/etc.

    I didn’t love Faux Mad Max (why another guy who looks a lot like Mad Max – why not a woman or a different looking guy or…?)

    I thought ATJ was wildly miscast and didn’t have any of the raw power that Theron possesses (I’m not sure who I’d cast instead – Saoirse Ronan?). ATJ felt like a different actress fell through due to production scheduling issues.

    The main problem for me was how talky the movie was. Fury Road is all visuals and noise. Outside of “that’s bait” I’m not sure I remember a line of dialogue. Which is great! It didn’t need dialogue because it could be a silent movie. As already noted, this movie has 500x more dialogue and I’m not sure it helps anything. I liked Chris Hemsworth in this movie but with the fake teeth and nose and his talkiness, the movie almost undermines him. Fury Road was a “less is more” for dialogue and “more is more” for visuals. Here they also went with “more is more” for dialogue.

    As “We Hate Movies” notes, never show a better movie in your movie, which is why I thought it was wild to show highlights from Fury Road at the end. It was a real self-inflicted wound. I haven’t seen Fury Road since release and so was giving this movie grace and then they showed me clips and I thought “Oh yeah, Fury Road was great and this isn’t on the same level.” I’ve never seen a movie do this to itself.

    All that negativity aside, I’m really glad there’s another Mad Max movie. I’m glad George Miller keeps making movies. And while I’d rank this one third or fourth of the series, I’m glad that a weird Australian post-apocalyptic movie gets a major studio release these days. Maybe it’ll grow on me, maybe I’ll find more layers to ATJ’s performance. We can disagree about how good the movie is, but I think we’re all glad it exists.

  57. I do have one question, although I want to clarify it’s not from the perspective of “explain this plot hole / flaw” to me because that’s not how I approach this stuff.


    After Furiosa defeats Dementus, why do you think she returns to Citadel instead of booking it straight for the green place? I can think of a few reasons why she might make this choice, practical and thematic:

    -She needs to marshall more resources in preparation for making the trek

    -She already feels some responsibility towards the wives

    -She literally doesn’t know how to get there because she lost her starmap and needs to consult with some information that is available to her at the Citadel, where there is various technologies available to her (don’t really buy this one, I’m sure she has memorized it)

    -She views herself as somewhat ineligible to return there because a part of her does believe what Dementus told her about their similarity. She needs to find Redemption first.

    The last one is interesting to me because one way of reading her need for redemption is that she feels the need to be redeemed over revenging on Dementus, however the specific manner of her revenge took form. I mean even though the image is presented in a sort of… painterly manner, the actual implications of keeping someone alive while a tree grows out of them is super fucked up!

    But it also occurs to me that perhaps growing the tree *is* how she thinks she can attain redemption (though, by Fury Road she no longer believes it). Dementus taunts her with the fact that she cannot get back from him the things he took from her, and Furiosa basically says “the fuck I can’t… you will LITERALLY give me back the green place because I’m going to sprout it out of your goddamn belly.” She brings fruit to the Citadel and in some small iota, turns it into more of a place of Abundance.

    Just some half formed thoughts and musings on what has basically become my favorite movie ever.

  58. Of all the many, many things that deeply affected me about FURIOSA, I keep coming back to its exploration of the legacy of revenge, the hollow pursuit of it in any meaningful capacity, and the indifference to its damage.

    In relation to that, one of the things that stuck with me (I’ve only seen it once) is when we’re shown young Furiosa adopting The History Man’s technique of mapping his skin with ink (quite apart from how that feeds into storytelling or myth-making as one of, as he says, “invaluable” commodities), and she begins to tattoo the star path to The Green Place on her arm.

    I thought that this was how she would end up becoming an amputee. She would willingly disregard and destroy her flesh and the map to ensure that, as her mother directed, “No one can know of this place.” (Hugely paraphrasing sorry). She would never give those coordinates up to Dementus or any other fucker, regardless of the intimidation, threat, or abuse they inflicted upon her or anyone else.

    But instead, after years of misery and violence, her arm and the map become refutable flesh while Jack is being massacred so she can escape and fang it toward retribution. Understandably so. But these were the same constellations toward some singular paradise that her mother fought and sacrificed and died to protect. And she ditches them for vengeance.

    And then The Green Place, as we learn in Fury Road, was set upon and destroyed.

    Not by Dementus obviously, but maybe by some marauders or scavengers who found her arm, followed the tattooed stars maybe on a whim, consumed and defiled everything that the denizens of The Green Place had been cultivating and protecting, and then smashed the rest of it into the sand.

    For me, it hits like a motherfucker even more now when Furiosa eventually fights all the way back there in Fury Road only to realise that not only has the Green Place been eviscerated, but its extinction might have something to do with her.

  59. Honestly, I think it’s the “Free the wives” part, since she grew up in an all female community* and was one of Immortan’s “wifes” for a while too. So she probably played the long con and also got a supertruck that way.

    *I would love to know how this works. Do they kill all boys after birth? Are they kidnapping men for, well, “seed extraction”? Or is it just one of those things told by the unreliable narrators of the MAD MAX universe and it was a mixed gender community?

  60. CJ, men were shown in the Green Place, so it’s probably one of those Star Wars things where how exactly it works is really cool so long as it’s left up to your imagination, but once a guy named George makes three prequels showing what they were actually like, it turns out to be pretty boring.

    renfield, I’d say that in a world largely screwed by people only looking after their own self-interest, Furiosa develops the feeling that she needs to serve a larger good, like Jack did. Jack’s was getting her to the Green Place, hers was getting him to the Green Place, but once that fell through, she needed to make it so her ‘epic’ benefited someone other than herself.

    It’s interesting that the movie opens with the ‘original sin’ of Furiosa picking an apple in an edenic setting, followed by her denying refugees access to paradise (I know, it’s eminently pragmatic in the Wasteland–but it’s still not a very Babe thing to do). I joked elsewhere about her and her mother having a firm anti-immigration stance, but you kinda wonder how things would’ve gone if she’d greeted them more hospitably. Would they want to go back to scumming for Dementius if the alternative was being accepted into this loving community?

  61. Christos: Furiosa comes from the Green Place of Many Mothers, so it makes sense the Brown Place would have Many Fathers. Some of that reading is hurt by the romantic inference with Jack and Furiosa, but I like the idea of her encountering a series of bad dads. I guess Immortan Joe would be the third father, then.

    renfield: I wish the movie had placed more significance on Furiosa willingly “giving up” her map (by giving up her arm), but it’s played as more of a question of circumstance than a choice the character must make. In FURY ROAD, Furiosa speaks of looking for “redemption,” which I guess is for throwing in with Joe and leaving the wives to subjugation for a number of years. But that period of time isn’t covered much by this prequel.

    I went back and rewatched the original MAD MAX last night. Interesting how the series started with a movie about the dangers coming from the fringes of society (bikers/outsiders/the other), and these newer Maxverse movies are very much about the rot at the center of society– the ruling class/oil industry/weapons manufacturers/patriarchy.

  62. Kaplan: For that explanation, we will need another prequel about Mary Jabassa and the Vuvalini repelling an invasion of the Green Place by the tyrant Dollar General.

  63. Guys, this brings me no joy, but I gotta be Dark Majestyk on this one: I kind of hated it.

    I was worried about the prequelness of it all going in, and I was right to. The foregone nature of the narrative ended up killing it for me. This story never accrues any momentum, because its protagonist is never allowed to achieve anything. Its action scenes are not thrilling, because the characters have no particular goals, at least not ones we the audience share, and thus don’t particularly accomplish anything that moves the story forward. Cars crash, shit blows up, and we’re still in more or less the exact same spot we started in. I found it tedious, monotonous, repetitive, and redundant. In the end, it is nothing more than uncommonly well-crafted franchise filler, its story the kind of narrative busywork best left to graphic novel tie-ins and open-world video game adaptations. You get to do extended tours of familiar environments, run into a few old-favorite characters in off-brand forms, and meet some new characters whom you’re supposed to believe have been there the whole time but never really mesh. It doesn’t tell you anything about Furiosa or her world that you didn’t learn from FURY ROAD. It’s the only Mad Max movie to add nothing new to the series. If FURY ROAD was a headlong sprint, this one is just doing donuts in the parking lot.

  64. And since I’m out here spreading hate and chaos just to feel something, I might as well get something else off my chest: PIG IN THE CITY kinda sucks, too. The pit bull chase is good, and the hotel setting is cool, but the whole second half is sub-watchable. You got a movie about a talking pig and his ape friends and the climax is like 20 minutes of a fat lady bouncing around on a bungee cord. What the fuck is that about?

  65. Bill Reed: I kept waiting for the romance between Furiosa and Jack but it’s never shown, so I guess he’s the good father figure. I don’t think Joe is a third father figure in the sense that he doesn’t really shape her with his actions; in FURY ROAD she knows who she is and what she wants, she doesn’t react to what he does in anyway.

    Kaplan: the point of the Green Place, of course, is that it isn’t Eden. Eden is a lie, Furiosa just remembers the part where she was frolicking through the trees and not the part where every outsider gets a bullet to the head. We learn in FURY ROAD that the valley failed anyway, victim to climate change and possible bad management of the soil and water. Leaving the world behind is not an option.

  66. Great review of an incredible movie. Like Vern, this is one I thought about a lot after and desperately wanted to see again. And now I have, I’ve seen it in theatres twice! I saw Fury Road four times (which is a record for me), but that was when a theatre was a 15 minute drive for me. I’ve since moved and now the nearest theatre is a 45 minute drive, so going to a movie is a much bigger commitment, I go a lot less and didn’t think I’d ever go see the same movie twice… but this one changed my mind.

  67. Dreadguacamole

    June 3rd, 2024 at 4:51 pm

    Watched this one again over the weekend and hey, it’s still great! A few stray observations:

    Miller is best in business at blocking scenes. His editors are top-rate too (which was made pretty clear in 3000 YEARS, I though) but holy shit, the way he keeps track of everything going on – that bit where the rig gets attacked on its way to Gas Town, shown over Dementus’s shoulder? Beautiful.

    Small, stupid error: In FURY ROAD, the green place is relatively close to the (dried-out) sea, but here in the initial zoom into Australia, it’s shown to be smack-dab in the middle of the continent.

    Of Jack and Furiosa – this: “… he goes along with it, it shows that he’s respecting her specific identity and background…”
    I had originally taken that as a neat workaround to avoid showing whether their bond is romantic or not (which I guess is still the case) but that interpretation of it made me enjoy the movie that much more.

  68. Vince, Vince, Vince…to paraphrase STARDUST MEMORIES, I liked you better in your earlier funny stuff!

  69. Dreadguacamole

    June 4th, 2024 at 1:36 am

    The only prequelitis bit that bothered me (in an R2 in Phantom Menace way) is when they make it so that she was friends with Valkyrie – because then, in FURY ROAD, they would have completely lost their shit when they ran into each other again.

    Unless it was another Valkyrie – maybe it’s a common name in post-apocalyptic Australia, what with all the mentions of Valhalla and whatnot.

  70. I was worried about the prequelness of it all going in, and I was right to.

    To quote myself from a few weeks ago

    “Did Furiosa sell me on the the ideas of ‘prequels’? = Not really

    Did Furiosa sell me on the idea of biblical epic biker movies? = Pretty much”

    The ‘prequel’ shit was it’s weakest aspect. However, I found the rest of it so fucking bonkers that it made up for it. And while I still think it’s true that implication fires the audience’s imagination while explanation puts them to sleep, I thought the movie ultimately evened these out. In that, it implied enough new things to make up for the existing things it explained.

  71. That kind of thing didn’t bother me. There’s only so many people in the wasteland. You’re gonna run into them from time to time.

    My only problem (and it’s a big one) is that the story never for one second engaged me. I spent the entire movie waiting to give a shit. After the big FURY ROAD set-piece in the middle happened and I still felt nothing, I gave up. I just waited for it to end, which it steadfastly refused to do.

    I honestly don’t know what you guys saw in it. It was a dull retread that took the least interesting option at every single turn.

  72. Wonderful review, Vern.

    I’ve already seen this twice and I’m sure I’ll watch it again and again. FURY ROAD is one of my favorite films of all time. This may have to settle for being my fav movie of the last couple of years, but lord it’s great.

  73. I don’t really have anything to add to the conversation, I just wanted to pop by to say I loved it and look forward to seeing it again soon.

  74. Dreadguacamole

    June 4th, 2024 at 1:39 pm

    “Did Furiosa sell me on the idea of biblical epic biker movies? = Pretty much”

    Probably not going to be neither biblical nor epic (not in the way you mean, at least), but I can’t wait until THE BIKERIDERS comes out. I missed Jeff Nichols.

  75. Oh geez, I didn’t even realize Bikeriders was finally getting released in a couple of weeks

    30 years from now, people are going to look back at the summer of 2024 and say “Why the hell did biker movies randomly get big again that summer??”

  76. “Do you have it in you to make it epic?”

    Well you did, Mr Miller…mostly.

    Once I course corrected my perception that FURIOSA is THE RAID 2:BERANDAL to FURY ROAD’S THE RAID REDEMPTION, it worked for me. It’s a sweeping, epic narrative interspersed with amazing action as opposed to it’s predecessor’s non-stop adrenaline spiking thrill ride.

    A truly CINEMATIC spectacle where every frame is making sweet love to my visual cortex. Miller once again shows film-makers half his age how to frame and shoot action.

    Having said that…nitpicks, (mostly minor)

    – Furiosa is strangely not in enough of the movie and is even more strangely surrounded by characters you wanted to know more about (her mother, Jack, Dementus, Octoboss, Immortan Joe etc etc), not helped by the fact that the usually reliable Taylor-Joy plays her a little too low key and it takes an hour before she appears. And she’s filling some Size 12 boots given Theron’s star charisma and established action credentials. Also…super nitpicky….could some of the visual effects not have gone into making her…taller? Cause if Taylor-Joy is going to morph into Theron, I hope she still has a growth spurt left in her.

    -Prequels generally start off on shaky footing with me, as so far NONE of them have given me any revelatory information about the protagonist that the earlier films haven’t already given them. FURIOSA does not buck this trend. She comes from the Land of Many Mothers, she’s resourceful and resilient, she cuts her hair, loses her arm, drives the war rig….NONE of this is “Holy Shit so that’s how that came about” stuff. And on that note…Furiosa losing her arm is second only to Nick Fury losing his eye in the Lame Anti Climactic Reveal Olympics.

    -It IS too long

    -Hemsworth, entertaining as he is plays Dementus too broad, making for a villain that simply doesn’t generate much menace. It’s like the moment Immortan Joe appears on the Citadel, you practically want to yell at Dementus “Pack up and leave now mate, you’re out of your league in the Bad Motherfucker stand-off”

    Having said all that, I am exhorting as many of my friends to watch this in the cinemas as even in my neck of the world, this film simply isn’t putting enough bums on seats, which is a shame. This truly is a movie made to be enjoyed in the biggest possible screen with the most bitching sound system.

  77. Stacy Livitsanis

    June 4th, 2024 at 8:42 pm

    Too many incredible moments to list. One that just sprung to mind is the bonkers superfast zoom out on the Citadel when Smeg conducts Dementus’ horde in revving their bikes. As an Australian, I love the unabashed Aussie-ness of FURIOSA. Hemsworth is cranking up the accent, sounding like a particular type of wily but full-of-it 1970s Australian male. But nearly everyone, except Taylor-Joy, is reveling in a kind of Strayan that is decreasingly present even in Australian films. Despite the American money, I had a huge sense of cultural pride watching FURIOSA. The Mad Max films are to me what the original Star Wars trilogy is to others. It’s the series I grew up on and hold perhaps a little too sacred. Unlike Star Wars, there are no bad Mad Max films.

    One thing I’m really surprised that no review has mentioned is that Miller has consciously chosen to do almost the opposite of FURY ROAD and cram FURIOSA with wide shots and, most notably, long takes. There are a lot of long (by modern standards) take in the film that create a different sense of pace, one that grew more thrilling as the film went on. It’s not CARTER-level, but they’re there. I paid closer attention to them on second viewing and this creative choice plays a big part in distinguishing the film from its predecessors. It also necessitates using more CGI, but I can handle a few dodgy digital doubles in exchange for such a fascinating one-of-a-kind cinematic experience.

    Also, ANYONE whining that the poor box office is because “audiences are sick of Girl Bosses”, can meet the same fate as Praetorian Jack. If I had any pity left for people stuck in that frame of mind, I’d lament their pathetic, miserable view of the world. Luckily, I get to actually ENJOY things, instead of hating everything in sight in a sad attempt to get attention.

  78. What we saw, my dear sweet Mr. Majestyk, was an adrenaline filled, loud, V8 injected, fast as lightning, road warriors galore, rock’n roll, thrilling action movie with a simple straight forward story told on an epic canvas with colorful set pieces and a never stopping camera, big as hell characters played by a fantastic cast in inventive costumes, and supported by a stunt team who constantly came up with new angles, and it could have been an hour longer and we wouldn’t have minded. And we know that that’s excactly what you saw too. So you can kick all the trash cans you want and headbutt all the mailboxes to your house, but know that we know that you know.

  79. Dread – That’s completely consistent with FURY ROAD though! When she says “I am the daughter of Mary Jabassa” Valkyrie gasps, stands up, calls the others, slides down, runs to Furiosa, looks at her in disbelief, she says “It’s me,” they do the embrace we see throughout this movie, cry and hug. I always took it that they knew each other, and I’m not sure how else it could be interpreted.

  80. Dreadguacamole

    June 5th, 2024 at 3:24 am

    I stand corrected then! Even when I watched FURY ROAD right after seeing FURIOSA the first time, it seemed to me the older women made more of a fuss. Guess it was too subdued for me.

  81. This truly is a movie made to be enjoyed in the biggest possible screen with the most bitching sound system.

    And by that, you mean “the drive-in”

  82. Pegs: I feel like I am being accused of being a troll or a contrarian. I assure you, I wanted nothing more than to love it. I’m kind of gutted that there’s a Mad Max movie I don’t like. I want to see the movie you see. All of the things you describe are there. I don’t dispute that. But I don’t judge movies by technique. I judge them by effect. By what they make me feel. FURIOSA didn’t make me feel anything. It was a flat, hollow experience.

    But when movie doesn’t affect me, I do get into technique and how it failed. I think FURIOSA never had a chance with me, sadly, because of its structure. I almost never respond to movies that take place over many years. They feel superficial and stultifying to me. They’re simultaneously too fast and too slow. Depicting a life lived is not what movies are good at. Some have said FURIOSA felt like history; to me, it felt like a biopic. FURIOSA had all the hallmarks. Spend too long in the subject’s childhood so by the time you introduce the actual lead actor it’s too late to get attached. Broad impersonations of famous people (or in this case, characters from FURY ROAD, here looking like they’re costumed Disney employees marching in a parade). Really only delve into one or two famous events (Live Aid, the Gastown run) while blasting through decades of character evolution in too rapid a succession for any of it to have any impact. Introduce important characters too late in the running time for the audience to get to know them. End right at the cusp of only other big event that the audience would know about.

    FURIOSA is a biopic. And I fucking HATE biopics. It never really had a chance.

  83. Oh, and perhaps the biggest one: Well-cast lead actor giving committed performance that is nonetheless doomed because the person they’re playing is far too famous and indelible for us to suspend disbelief.

  84. I think I’ve accused you of being several people operating under the moniker “Mr. Majestyk”, and I’ve likened you to Master Sergeant “Goody” Nelson in GARDENS OF STONE (a reference NOBODY understood: “Beat the Bear”). And I think I’ve privately even suspected you of being Vern when he wants to spice up the debate. But I would never call you a troll. And we agree most of the time, so you’re not that much of a contrarian, my friend. So it’s mostly that I just can’t get my head around that ANYBODY would dislike FURIOSA. It almost makes me feel a bit sad.

  85. I accept your pity. It makes me sad, too.

  86. I’ve been rewatching the previous Mad Max films, and found myself enjoying the first two a lot more than I remembered. And I see Mr. Majestyk left this comment on Vern’s review of MAD MAX 1:

    “But a lot of people are saying that they changed their tune on it after repeat viewings, so maybe keep that in mind. I mean, I don’t think saying a George Miller action flick is an objectively pretty good fuckin’ movie that deserves a second chance once you know what you’re getting into is all that outlandish.”

    So I hope you give it another shot down the road. I am also finding these movies reward rewatching. I was cool on FURY ROAD when I first saw it, but it grew on me exponentially. So maybe FURIOSA will have a similar effect.

  87. I’m cool with Dark Majestyk. I welcome his contrarian views, cause, like I said, I LIKED FURIOSA, but I can’t bring myself to surf this euphoric tidal wave of encomiums everyone’s showering this movie with.

    And on that note, further nitpicks:

    – How did Immortan Joe, that Sex Slaver Extraordinaire, overlook the fact that one of the items he won in the deal with Dementus, a future inductee into his baby making harem, has disappeared? This from a guy who’d tear someone a new asshole for just glancing sideways at one of his baby mamas?

    – Did Jack tell Furiosa, stick with me and I’ll teach you everything you need to know, and then 3 minutes later, tell her she’s free to leave? Gives the term Crash Course a whole new meaning.

    – What should have been an epic action scene , the 40 day war, plays out as a montage?

    – Why slot your best action scene…in the middle?

  88. Bill: I will definitely give it another shot on Blu-ray. Miller has earned that much.

    Kay: My biggest beef, story-wise, was how it seems to let Immortal Joe off the hook. What’s he do to her that merits that righteous vengeance in FURY ROAD? All we see him do is rescue her from the asshole who kidnapped her and slaughtered her mother. Then she apparently doesn’t even have any contact with him at all for 20 years, except for that one scene where he listens to her, trusts her judgment, and gives her what she wants so she can achieve her goals. It even seems like she could have escaped any time she felt like it. This movie really takes the air out of Immortan’s villainy. It’d be like if the STAR WARS prequels showed how, actually, the Emperor wasn’t such a bad guy after all and it was really this other dick with a prosthetic nose who was causing all the trouble.

  89. As for the statement that people not checking out this movie because they’re “sick of girl bosses” all deserve to die miserable deaths…well, a little more nuance is required here.

    Let’s leave aside the most obvious reason why this isn’t setting the box office alight which is that MAD MAX is simply not as huge a Blockbuster IP to attract an audience who, post Covid, find theatre going to be a prohibitively expensive affair and given the short Theatre-To-Streaming window, figure they’ll check it out in the comfort of their living rooms when this drops on HBO Max in a couple of months.

    There will ALWAYS be a bunch of assholes who’ll see a poster of a woman or POC headlining a movie and say, I’m not watching that shit. They rightfully deserve our contempt but I don’t consider these lot to be in the majority.

    It is NOT unreasonable for a franchise which largely skews male to have a significant portion of that fanbase see the FURIOSA trailer and say “Wait, so the reason I like a MAD MAX movie, Mad Max, isn’t in this?” and decide they have no interest.

    The perfectly entertaining BOURNE LEGACY got an equally cold reception in spite of an on form Jeremy Renner because fans of the series had no interest in checking out a Jason Bourne flick with no Jason Bourne.

    Same case with TERMINATOR DARK FATE, where the fan base did show up initially and then told all their friends “Fuck this shit. Arnie’s T-800 is in it for 20 minutes and talks about selling drapes”.

    Equally NOT unreasonable for this same fanbase who loved the character of Furiosa in FURY ROAD to not be that interested in a solo movie about her. Or, they’d love a solo FURIOSA movie as long as Theron keeps playing her only to see the trailer and go “Wait, Furiosa’s now that chick from THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT? No thanks”

    All perfectly legit reactions and to tar them all with the same “You’re all pieces of shit” brush is uncharitable.

    Let’s not over estimate the appeal of these “Set in the same universe” installments when for many, the selling point is the headlining Lead Character.

  90. The idea that someone who claims to be a giant Mad Max fan would not want to see A NEW GEORGE MILLER MOVIE because it’s about his greatest character instead of his other greatest character is just too stupid to be worth consideration. Being an actual movie lover and having to discuss it with that person would be like being forced to take first grade over as an adult. The kindest thing we can do to that person is change the topic to something they can handle, like “nice weather we’re having here today” and then get the fuck out of there fast.

  91. Majestyk: Yup, when I saw FURY ROAD, what I pieced together was that her anger at Immortan Joe, apart from the fact that he considers women to be nothing more than sex slaves and wombs for his progeny, was that at some point, he probably bought her or kidnapped her after slaughtering her family, then kept her as a wife, then when she lost her arm, chucked her out of his harem where she joined the War Boys and learnt to drive the War Rig.

    Now, you learn, Immortan Joe won her in a deal with Dementus, and then didn’t even give a shit when she seemingly disappeared.

    For a prequel that takes pains to directly link to FURY ROAD in it’s ending and credits, that’s pretty sloppy writing.

  92. Well Vern, you do what you do because of your absolute fucking passion for movies and we’re here because we share in that passion and your knowledge of movies most likely dwarves that of most casual movie goers who reside outside our glorious little echo chamber.

    I’m saying, that in my own circle of friends, there are fans of Mad Max because they dig the character and Mel Gibson who plays him and love the action. They are fans of FURY ROAD because of the awesome action and the propulsive narrative. and…full stop. They wouldn’t know a George Miller from a Frank Miller. And absent either Tom Hardy or Mel Gibson and the character of Max himself, weren’t interested in FURIOSA.

    I’d never have in depth conversations about movies with them the way I can freely do here, but I’d stop short at calling them stupid. Movies are our Church. For them, it’s a pit stop.

    Different Strokes, Different Folks, is all

  93. I certainly agree with some of these nits (Joe just forgetting about the person he traded for Gastown leadership, did raise my eyebrow). Although,

    All we see him do is rescue her from the asshole who kidnapped her and slaughtered her mother.

    Uh, to be raped as soon as she’s old enough to bear children. What a guy!

    BUUUT I’ve seen this one a lot (enough that I’d remark), and like parents, I just don’t understand:

    – Why slot your best action scene…in the middle?

    Yeah, that chariot race in Ben Hur was exciting and all, but it’s in the middle of the movie! And the burning of Atlanta’s in the middle of Gone with the Wind! And don’t get me started on Laurence of Arabia. Ending your movie with guys bickering for 20 minutes? Who writes this stuff??

    That said, I was actually really surprised the feedback here was so overwhelmingly positive for like 60 post or whatever. Literally the first thing I said to my companion when it ended was “well, you can’t accuse Miller of making pandering four-quadrant entertainment”

  94. Except…

    Ben Hur (Charlton Heston ver, NOT that piece of shit from the director of ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER) clocks in at 3.5 hours and the chariot race roughly takes place about 2.5 hours in. More importantly, BEN HUR, GWTW & LAWRENCE OF ARABIA are not recognized as action movies. They’re broad, sweeping, romantic and tragic historical epics. Their set pieces are the cherry on a cake. For MAD MAX movies, it IS the cake so it’s not so unreasonable to question why you slot your best action scene in the middle, then just montage another supposedly epic one and end with Hero and Villain facing off in the desert yelling at each other.

    Sure, you could place the best and most epic shoot out in the next JOHN WICK right at the start then have Wick just cuss out his enemies for the next 2 hours.

    But people would be well within the bounds of sanity to question, why you be doing this shit????

  95. More importantly, BEN HUR, GWTW & LAWRENCE OF ARABIA are not recognized as action movies. They’re broad, sweeping, romantic and tragic historical epics.

    Otherwise known as stories with five-act structure.

    And here I thought the title cards were putting too fine a point on things. Shows to go you…

  96. I think there’ve been quite a few legit action movies that have their biggest setpiece in the middle (or even the beginning: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation). The train sequence in Spider-Man 2. Raiders of the Lost Ark’s truck chase (Indy spends the end of the movie tied to a post while the Nazis open a box).

    Also, I’m kinda uncomfortable with the “anyone who dislikes The Last Jedi is a pedo” school of ‘criticism’ and its cousin, “anyone who isn’t interested in [cult classic] is a pedo”. Yeah, it’s frustrating when good work goes underappreciated, but what are you gonna do? People are interested in what they’re interested in. No movie is entitled to have seven million people buy a ticket for it and this attitude that people are obliged to see The Fall Guy or have their movie lover badge revoked–it seems to me just to create a hostile, no-fun atmosphere that’ll result in even less people going to da movies, because instead of enjoying discussion about films with others, they’ll just struggle with an ongoing series of acid tests. Let’s just be cool and let a guy who doesn’t think he’ll enjoy The People’s Joker skip The People’s Joker.

  97. Having the big action setpiece in the middle is IMO not as bad as having it way too early in the beginning. (Looking at you, EXTRACTION!) But what I liked about it here was the IMO pretty clever use of it. That particular scene was pretty much a big break in Furiosa’s life, when she went from being a victim, who has to hide and pose as someone else, from someone who has a certain control of her life. In a way, the Furiosa we know is forged in fire. And that the asshole who ruined her life in the first place gets a more intimate ending than a big, explosion filled action scene, that ends with him falling from a tower into a fireball in slow motion while screaming “Furioooosaaaaaaa!” worked with me on a narrative level.

    And Mr Majestyk: You forgot that Furiosa spent her teenage years hiding in the Citadel. She may not have been personally victimized by him in a physical touch way (I hope), but she was around to see what he does to his “wifes” and how he keeps brainwashing young kids into suicide bombers among other things. Sure, it’s a bit odd how FURY ROAD presented him as the biggest villain of her life when he was just a mid-boss, but “letting him off the hook” is a statement that is as bold as it is wrong.

  98. Sorry Majestyk, but it seems like a contradiction to hate prequels for the moments where they are just laying track for the original movie, but then also have your “biggest beef story-wise” be that this prequel didn’t lay one particular piece of track the way you thought it should have been laid. The idea that FURIOSA showed Immortan Joe to “not be such a bad guy after all” because he didn’t personally victimize Furiosa enough beyond purchasing her as a child to be his sex slave is kind of a silly one.

  99. Obviously I trust that Immortan Joe is a piece of shit and literally anybody who’s ever met him or even heard of him would have ample justification to murder him on sight. But I got all of that from FURY ROAD, not FURIOSA. It’s just weird that you’d make this whole epic prequel saga explaining why Furiosa wanted to escape from him and get revenge on him and make us cheer when she ripped his face off, and then leave the entire development of their relationship on the table, while transferring all of that thematic material to a completely different guy. It all just adds to my feeling that this wasn’t a story that particularly needed to be told.

  100. I loved this movie, and I have a lot to say, but I just want to focus on the placement of the best action being in the middle of the film. (I’m assuming people are referring to the ambush of the rig rather than the ambush at the bullet farm, which, for me, had more of an emotional resonance). But I actually have come to hate the third act battle that seems so perfunctory. For so many Hollywood films, especially in Marvel films, the final climax is something of a chore. They knew they need to place some set pieces at certain points in the film to keep the audience engage, so I find that for many movies, the best action is actually halfway through the film. That’s not a problem, necessarily, but then they try to top it in some way and, for me, it just doesn’t work. Part of the problem is that the larger scale does not translate into a better action scene.

    I’ve come to prefer films like Rogue Nation or your Raiders of the Lost Ark that scale things down for the third act. The finale of Furiosa was much more emotionally satisfying to me because it’s just two people with a multiple choice ending. I really wish more action movies had the guts to forgo the final set piece.

  101. Furiosa escaping probably didn’t go unnoticed. My theory goes like this:

    1) Furiosa wasn’t around when Joe discovered she was missing. Didn’t see what happened, so movie doesn’t show.

    2) Furiosa was presumed dead, jumped to her doom to avoid a life as a sex slave. She would probably not be the first wife to do this.

    3) It would be easy to deduce Rictus was involved, he’s too dumb to lie convincingly, but Joe doesn’t look like the guy who will punish his sons for acting out. He’d kill anybody else for causing the death of one of the wives, but his kids are special and won’t be touched. He is scum and they are scum, together, is what I’m saying.

    Now, is it reasonable for Furiosa to have basically no personal interaction with Joe but still hate him this much? Yes. She met the wives, pitied them, and their pain became hers.

  102. A few more contradictions there. FURIOSA is *not* “an epic prequel saga explaining why Furiosa wanted to escape from [Joe] and get revenge on him and make us cheer when she ripped his face off.” It’s not about that, it’s about something else. You agree that it wouldn’t be worth making if it was about that. You agree for a couple reasons: you don’t like prequels that just justify things from the original movie, and you agree that “why Furiosa hates Joe” is a question that doesn’t need to be answered because it’s so obvious. So it should be a good thing that FURIOSA the movie is about something else. Yet somehow, *because* it’s about something else and not about what you didn’t want it to be about anyway, your feeling is “this wasn’t a story that particularly needed to be told.” I’m not disputing your feelings, but your logic doesn’t track.

    Putting all that aside, in FURY ROAD didn’t free the wives to spite Immortan Joe. She freed them because they deserved to be freed. Deepening Furiosa’s personal enmity towards Immortan Joe would be unnecessary and a waste, I’m glad FURIOSA was interested in other stuff instead.

  103. I’m saying that it’s weird to not tell the obvious story but then to transfer everything that would be in that obvious story to another story that’s more or less exactly what the obvious story would be, only with a less interesting and more derivative antagonist. Both options kind of suck. I would like what’s behind Door #3, which is a completely different story, told in a more engaging and surprising way.

  104. I’ll just add that, as someone who overall liked a lot of FURIOSA, I also had one of the basic questions Dark Majestyk raises – how we get from what we see in this movie to the ultra-satisfying and visceral “REMEMBER ME” moment at the end of FURY ROAD.

    Like, Immortan Joe clearly suuuuucks, but from what we see in FURIOSA he is not necessarily worse than the alternative authority bastards, and might even be better than some of them. (more organized than Dementus anyway, and a smarter strategist than the guys who run the other fiefdoms)

    Luckily, I have the option to imagine a sequel-to-the-prequel of the intervening years (call it “FURIOSA: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A PEACH TREE TO BEAR FRUIT?”) in which our hero witnesses and/or endures the horrors that would be involved in serving as the Immortan’s #1 chosen road warrior… and to see the terrible things must she have to do to rise in the ranks from Praetorian to earn the title of Imperator and get the opportunity to serve as lead driver for a War Rig run on the Fury Road…

  105. I’ll just add that, as someone who overall liked a lot of FURIOSA, I also had one of the basic questions Dark Majestyk raises – how we get from what we see in this movie to the ultra-satisfying and visceral “REMEMBER ME” moment at the end of FURY ROAD.

    The same way she meant it when she asked Dementus “Do you remember who I am?” (but in Joe’s case “Do you even realize I’m the little girl you purchased in exchange for Gastown?”)

  106. I assume Joe and friends did notice Furiosa was missing, they came up with some theory of what happened to her (or Rictus lied about it) and then many years passed and they forgot about it.

    The point I heard that did give me pause is that in FURY ROAD you infer that Furiosa’s rage against Immortan Joe and particularly when she says “REMEMBER ME?” before ripping his face off is that she was victimized by him as a “wife.” In FURIOSA, at least in my reading, she escapes before being abused in that way. And while we’re glad she doesn’t have to go through that the change does retroactively take away some of the power of a crucial moment in FURY ROAD.

    I hadn’t thought of that but I think it’s a good point so I’ve decided to take it that the History Man may have whitewashed this part of the story out of love for Furiosa and/or guilt for having supported this “marriage between dynasties” or whatever he called it.

    That was pointed out by Kyle Buchanan, author of the great book Blood Sweat and Chrome, as a guest on the Blank Check podcast. Unfortunately the episode is a total bummer because although they all three say they kind of like FURIOSA it’s a 3 hour episode that’s mostly complaining about it being different from FURY ROAD or from what they expected. In Buchanan’s case it felt tragic to me because it seems clear that having pored over every detail of the making of FURY ROAD makes it impossible to watch FURIOSA without seeing every single seam. I’m grateful for his sacrifice.

  107. “Otherwise known as stories with five-act structure.”

    So because it’s 2.5 hours long, has chapter headings and sand…FURIOSA is now LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and not the 5th installment of a venerated action franchise?

    It’s why I love coming here.

    Every day’s a fucking revelation….

  108. I am fine with a movie that’s firmly embedded inside the Action Genre (feel free NOT to hit me with “Oh but FURIOSA’s so much more than an action movie, man!” rebuttals) to have an amazing action sequence at the start, or middle, but it’s equally not unreasonable to expect that if it doesn’t exactly climax with a huge set piece, then at least one close to the climax.

    RAIDERS & LAST CRUSADE didn’t end with an epic action finale, they’re quest movies and the climax quite rightly is the culmination of that quest (opening of the Ark, discovery of the Holy Grail) but they were preceded by great action scenes.

    JW4 ends with a more sedate “pistols at dawn” duel, but what came directly before was epic.

    You watch a Kung Fu movie expecting the Final Boss Battle, or if your Final Boss is a 130 year old dude in a wheelchair, then to get to him, you expect the Epic Final Bad Ass Henchmen Battle.

    At least I do, I’m kinda meat & potatoes where my action movies are concerned.

    After the terrific Bommyknocker chase scene and the Battle at Bullet Farm, and then you expect this final epic Siege of The Citadel and then….hey 40 day war playing out as a montage with somber narration.

    I’m glad that didn’t deflate a lot of your balloons, but I reserve my right to sneak into a quiet corner and have a wee little sulk about it.

    P.S: The Marvel Movie finales got tiresome not because it climaxed with an epic set piece, but because they all devolved into a bunch of screen savers duking it out.

  109. If you think about it, “Remember me!?” never made much sense. “Well, DUH, you were the woman who I trusted to make supply runs, only to steal my breeders instead! I’ve been chasing you all day and night! Why are you asking?”

    So in a way, it kinda does now, since we know how they apparently did not remember that one kid who came to them with the Organic Mechanic and then mysteriously disappeared around the same time when Ricktus developed that strange habit of always trying to change the topic when they talked about her.

  110. Went back for my second viewing, my wife’s first. I upgraded from 4.5 to 5 stars, I usually feel like I have to see how something holds up to multiple viewings before giving it my highest rating. My wife is not as hesitant and gave it 5 stars. She declared Alyla Browne her new favorite murder child and thought that Anya Taylor-Joy’s face-acting was amazing.

    Everyone made a big deal about how few lines Furiosa/Anya Taylor-Joy has in this. I didn’t think it was that big a deal because Max had so few lines in Fury Road (apparently more than Furiosa in this one, though). What I did find really noticeable on second viewing: For the few lines Furioso/ATJ speaks, you almost never SEE her speaking, most of her lines you see her from behind. At first I thought about various (silly to me) rumors about digitally manipulating ATJ’s voice or even having Theron re-dub her, then I thought of a more satisfying style/thematic reason: Furiosa almost never speaks, we just watch her face as she reacts to the speeches, arguments, and actions of those around her. So, on those rare occasions when she DOES choose to use her voice and speak up, to make declarations or decisions, we see OTHER characters’ faces reacting to her for once.

    Stray observations: Early in the movie when Furiosa’s mom is surveilling the biker camp you can see the Octoboss’ Octo-blimp parked and floating above the camp. And during the Stowaway action scene, this time I noticed that while some crazy action is going on in the foreground you can actually see the Octo-blimp coming into frame in the distance, before its big reveal moment.

    I also randomly noticed this time that Dementus’ “cloak” is actually a re-purposed parachute, I love those little details.

    Rictus’ baby-doll design aesthetic becomes much creepier thanks to his attempted/implied actions in this movie, and this time I noticed a really upsetting detail: the bolt cutters he uses to cut off Furiosa’s chastity belt have baby doll legs on the grips, so he literally has to force the baby legs apart to cut off the chastity belt. I saw an interview where Miller said he purposely left the most explicit stuff off-screen because its more effective in our imaginations (notice the dust clouds we see instead of gore in two different execution/torture situations), mission accomplished in creeping me out with that particular prop.

  111. I feel it’s a bit early to delve properly into the politics of FURIOSA. I have to see it a couple more times before I join that philosophical debate. But since Immortan Joe represents the patriarchy in both FURY ROAD and this, it’s only natural that he stowes Furiosa away and kind of forgets about her when she’s a child. He can wait for her to become a sexual being, and then he’ll come back. The only one interested in children in that way is Rictus. And when Furiosa is forced to live as a male she becomes a respected individual that can pretty much do what she wants. She’s one of the guys. It’s only when she comes out to Pre Jack that she’s back on the radar. And as Vern says, several years have passed, not 3 minutes as I believe someone wrote.

  112. I don’t think there’s any evidence whatsoever that Immortan Joe didn’t spend fucking *years* raging and seething and abusing his underlings over child Furiosa escaping. She escapes, and then many many years pass before we clap eyes on Joe again. Could be a decade for all we know. Surely we don’t expect him still to be pouting about it by the time she’s grown into Anya?

    In the FURY ROAD comments I speculated that “remember me” was not a reference to the past but a command for what Furiosa expects Joe to occupy his time doing in the hell to which she’s about to send him. I see a different interpretation now that we’ve seen her despair over Dementus’s (initial) failure to remember her and offer her any sort of fulfillment as she’s about to kill him. It’s, like, become something of a mantra, a prayer she intones before she performs righteous vengeance upon one of the wasteland’s sinners.

    One other thing I wanted to comment on- the 40 day road war montage with the voice over. As we went into that sequence, I was kinda dreading having to process the intensity of another masterful action scene on the heels of the war rig attack and the Bullet Farm calamity. It would be too many arias, too many guitar solos one after the other.

    Instead I thought what Miller did was truly genius: now that we’re saturated in the vocabulary of what road war consists of, and how fucking mind-pulverizingly brutal 5-10 minutes of such can be, we learn that Dementus and Joe’s forces road-warred for *forty fucking days*.

    Like Jack to Furiosa, Miller has taught his audience all there is to know on the subject, and so now we are equipped to reflect on the gravity and implication of such a thing transpiring over the course of not a few minutes, but for over a month?! Pondering this as History Man ponders with us on the warlike nature of our species, ranking this conflict among the foremost catastrophes of humankind’s past… this was a far more humbling moment than I was prepared for when my naive ass waltzed into the theater.

  113. I am fine with a movie that’s firmly embedded inside the Action Genre (feel free NOT to hit me with “Oh but FURIOSA’s so much more than an action movie, man!” rebuttals) to have an amazing action sequence at the start, or middle, but it’s equally not unreasonable to expect that if it doesn’t exactly climax with a huge set piece, then at least one close to the climax.

    Well, when you make Furisoa, I’ll be sure to stick around to the end

    Until then, there’s the adage to talk about the the movie in front of you, and not the movie you wish it was. Obviously, you wanted three-acts with three minutes falling action and 15 second denouncement that Miller has made at least four times before. Evidently, he wasn’t interested in making that movie again. As I said, one can’t accuse him of making pandering, four-quadrant entertainments, and in doing so he missed your quadrant. It happens.

    As for “ya can’t make an action movie five acts!” or whatever. Okay, I won’t argue. Maybe he didn’t make an action movie. Maybe he just made a movie.

  114. Sure, in the sense that da Vinci “just made a painting” and Beethoven “just made a symphony” :)

    jk I agree with the point

  115. Renfield – Good point about “Remember me.” In my review of FURY ROAD I mentioned wondering what it means, and you’ve reminded me that I had different interpretations of it over time, including as a command, like you said. Also, you’re completely correct about the 40 Day Wasteland War.

  116. As someone whose mind remained resolutely unpulverized by the slightly-better-than-mediocre action of FURIOSA, I agree that showing the 40 Day War would be pointless. A lengthy action scene between combatants I don’t give a shit about in which it doesn’t matter who wins or loses might have just killed me.

  117. Counterpoint: Furiosa hunting down Dementius in the middle of the Forty Days War and incidentally proving herself to Joe well enough to make Imperator would at least make for a good fanfilm. You know, one of the ones that stupidly misses the point of the canon but also totally redeems itself with some sweet lightsaber fightin’.

  118. Raiders did have a big action scene that preceeded the rest, but there’s a full 20 minutes left when it’s finished. Same with Crusade.

    I always thought the Max movies were interesting because they weren’t exactly “action movies” straight up. Before Furiosa, only Road Warrior and Fury Road were traditional action flicks. The first has a big chase in the beginning and then…and then…and…….then……

    Basically small scale quckie deaths, then Max finds them and knocks over four of them right away, gets tricked and just shoots a dude, chases the bad guy in a straight line for a minute until he dies, and then chains another dude to a truck and we don’t even know if that guy dies or what. It’s a revenge drama.

    Then Thunderdome which until Fury was my favorite, has all of two (2) real action scenes…the Thunderdome fight and a chase at the end. Then a few scattered small fisticuff bits.

    Miller has no time for that formula shit.

  119. An action movie can have a little action, some action and lots of action. The varying quantities of set pieces does not compel me to re-label them as NOT Action Movies. The Mad Max flicks remain Action Movies in my book. I’m not quite ready to classify ROAD WARRIOR & FURY ROAD as the “Real Action” installments, MAD MAX as the “Exploitation/Revenge” one while THUNDERDOME & FURIOSA are Existential Longings In A Dystopian Landscape.

    Miller puts so much more into this franchise then just bodacious vehicular carnage and I fucking love him for it, but they remain Action Movies at heart for me.

  120. Yeah I would think anyone would classify them as action movies, basically…although technically Post Apocalypse sort of IS a genre unto itself. But Miller’s not interested in delivering his whammies the way Spielberg will do, or like Joel Silver…make sure it opens with a big action scene, then another 3 of various sizes…one should be BIG while two can be smaller, then the big climax. It’s basically a formula. Miller just gonna tell his story and maybe it’s Thunderdome which has very little carnage, or Fury Road which is the opposite.

    But I’m always interested in “action” movies that kind of aren’t, it’s an interesting little subset of them…like Dr. No, but “action movie” hadn’t been solidified by that point. Missing in Action 2 is a good one where it’s a straight drama for 3/4 of the running time, then you finally get a break out and Chuck blowing dudes up, and even ends with a long martial arts fight, of which Norris did few of in his career once he got past the Octogon stage of it. Fifth Element is the same…I thought it was going to be full of chases and action, but just two scenes pretty much and one is more comedic than anything. How did they have those cool trick guns and not have Bruce Willis get his hands on one, it seemed like the obvious setup.

  121. Sure the chapters of the Mad Max saga are action movies. But they are so much more, especially from FURY ROAD and onwards. They’re technological innovations, political statements, visual feasts…basically art. Action art. So of course Doc Miller will break some “rules” and come up with something different. It’s expected. When Leone did his first western it wasn’t “allowed” to show the gun in the same frame as the person who got shot, but he did it. Or when Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty came up with the idea of recording gunshots for BONNIE & CLYDE inside barrels and put blood squibs on the actors, people were disgusted.

    Question: I see that the man on the ridge is called The Dogman/Mad Max in the credits, but did anyone notice if he had a dog with him?

  122. The Dogman is a separate role. I’m not going to pretend I knew this before hearing it in the movie and looking it up afterward, but “dogman” is Australian/New Zealand slang for the worker who rigs a crane load. As Jacob Tomuri is a stunt performer, it makes sense that he played the dogman who fell to his death trying to secure the cargo on the crane when the storm hit the Citadel. When Scrotus promoted Furiosa after she succeeded where her predecessor failed, he told her that she’s “the new dogman” (or something to that effect; I won’t see the movie for a second time until Wednesday).

    Also, Dreadguacamole said above that the location of the green place in the Outback rather than on the coast is a “stupid error”, but it wasn’t ever explicitly stated that the salt flats used to be the ocean (though I’d made the same assumption), so I don’t know if it’s an error rather than a clarification.

  123. I’ve never really thought that any movie can be an ‘action’ movie – because ‘action’ is not a genre of filmmaking (or literature or TV etc.)

    A movie can be a ‘genre’ of storytelling – but that is SF, horror, fantasy, western, romance, historical, crime etc.

    However I tend to think of ‘action’ as a ‘mode’ of storytelling not a ‘genre’ – it is a way that conveys the story, but not the genre it is. ALIENS has great action – but is not an action movie. TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA has the greatest car chase ever filmed – but it is a crime thriller. SEVEN SAMURAI has some of the greatest purely physical action scenes ever filmed – but it is in no way an ‘action’ movie – it is more about the responsibility & philosophy of duty/friendship/honor than anything else. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN has some of the greatest action ever filmed (essentially epic gun battles) but it is not an ‘action’ movie.

    The MAD MAX movies have great action scenes – but they fall in the SF genre. Of course the list of genre’s is potentially quite numerous – SF could have sub-genre’s. In fact, the MAD MAX films could more accurately be termed post apocalyptic/SF films.

    Personally I think the greatest action scene George Miller has ever filmed – bearing in mind that I consider the ‘action’ in THUNDERDOME the best of the MAD MAX movies because it is 100% real – no CGI – Miller’s best ‘action’ filmmaking is in the BABE movies – the entire sequence where Babe rescues the dog at the canal in BABE PIG IN THE CITY – is incredible ‘action’ filmmaking – unequivocally expressing through physical means the entire nature of Babe and his unrequited goodness and decency – as well as numerous other universal truths about compassion/humanity. And just consider the nature of ‘action’ in the BABE movies – how much of the ending scene in BABE – of Babe leading the pigs is ‘action’ – all of it is physical non verbal visual storytelling, that’s action to me.

    And what is ‘action’ – car chases, gun battles, fight scenes – how about car racing scenes – foot chases – dance scenes – sports scenes – all involve story told primarily (and at it’s best) through physical means. Speaking of sports scenes – I just rewatched THE COLOR OF MONEY – and was struck by the kinetic energy of the pool scenes – they are very much sports ‘action’ scenes that all function as a representation of the characters motivation and psychology. Tom Cruise is show off and cue swinging and grandiose and Paul Newman is measure and precise, both physically manifest through ‘action’ the characters.

    The best directors all know that physical action should first and foremost convey something of the character/characters involved – famously the relentless nature of Popeye Doyle on the case in THE FRENCH CONNECTION was most evocatively represented through his unrelenting pursuit of the sniper in the car/subway chase. Michael Mann talks about how he designs an action scene – first and foremost it must physically convey the desire of the characters involved – in HEAT the bank heist gun battle is designed around the complete necessity of Neal and his crew to escape the closing grip of the police.

    George Miller certainly understands that aspect of filmmaking better than most.

  124. All MAD MAX movies are action movies, as physical action and movement are those that drive the plot forward, reveal things about the characters, and usually resolve the plot. It is a very broad genre with significant overlap with all others. SEVEN SAMURAI and FURY ROAD are in the same genre. They also both have an instance where a character goes off screen, does something insane, and returns with things that other characters need.

    So, having just seen FURIOSA a second time, it is definitely an action movie. I could also breathe easier this time around, and noticed a bunch more things:

    1) The chase scene in the middle is definitely not my favorite, and this time around I realized why: it’s from FURY ROAD but it has no Doof Warrior shredding in the background, I think it has no music at all even. My faves would be the opener where Furiosa’s mom proves that hi-octane blood is real and heritable (also the Green Place definitely has men, maybe it’s a matriarchy or maybe men and women are segregated), and the one in the Bullet Farm. The latter is the best, I think, because it has…

    2) Dementus. On a rewatch it’s incredible not how weird, but how human he is, how he reacts to things like a person who is basically rational. Everything he does is calculated, even and especially the things he says are not, to project charisma because he has an understanding of what his bikers want out of him. Sometimes it means pretending he can’t run Gas Town, to hide that he’s storing the fuel he pumps to siege the Citadel. Other times he comes up with horrible deaths for people who defy him, says he’s Dark Dementus etc, to show his bikers that their boss doesn’t take shit from anybody. You have to be an angel to your friends and a devil to your enemies, you know? He’s horribly distressed when he does it, but he knows he must. Very different from Immortan Joe who basically brainwashes people to die for him so he doesn’t need to wipe his own ass. Also, no offense to Vern, very different from Trump who is actually incompetent.

    3) The woman played by Elsa Pataky is a foil to Furiosa. Like Furiosa she can survive anything, can be trusted with anything, is heavily disfigured, and grows from a prisoner to a top lieutenant. If you watch the movie closely she’s at the forefront of the attack on Gas Town, and then is the one to winch up Furiosa from her broken arm. Her difference with Furiosa, though, is that she has no Praetorian Jack to guide her, it’s just Dementus helping her develop her more savage instincts. That’s probably why one ends up ruler of the Wasteland and the other becomes Roadkill #37.

    4) I figured out why I remembered the riddle of steel while watching this movie, why this movie felt so old. This is a remake of CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Beat for beat, it does everything that movie does: enslaved as a child, her mother killed in front of her, sold back and forth to various morons and losers, trained as an exemplary warrior, watched her guardian angel die by the same man who killed her mother, tracked him down and got her revenge. It is post-apocalyptic, happening after Atlantis sank in the sea in the age where the only rulers were warlords and cult leaders. The old man she met narrates the whole thing. Eventually and after the events of this movie she will become queen of the Citadel by her own hand (ie will take the throne by force).

    So, what’s the point of this story? Here we go into politics: the History Man tells this tale, like the narrator in CONAN, in the future, after FURY ROAD when Furiosa is the queen. It is a story narrated to show us precisely how and why Furiosa has got the virtues of a good leader. She is fierce and warlike like Dementus, but wants growth and progress instead of destruction. She orders people around like Immortan Joe, but was a slave herself so she only asks you to do things she’s done herself. Her mission is to bring the mythical Green Place, which only she remembers, into being. Men generally can’t be trusted, but there are examples of good men like Jack, Max and Nux, who can help women and even be friends and allies. All this could be as told, or it could be propaganda. Or maybe the best propaganda is simply stating the truth.

    If George Miller manages it, I hope he makes a third Furiosa movie, where Max (still the same age, deal with it) meets her in her old age and we get to see how much progress was made since the times of chaos, and how much progress remains to be made. Also we could get to see Charlize Theron lead some sort of cult of sacred feminity, whatever Immortan Joe had going on with the dick ornament but in reverse.

  125. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the notion there is No genre called action. It calls into questions thousands of films whose main (though not exclusive) feature is in the depiction of sequences we call “action” be it hand to hand combat, car chases, weapons duels, explosions and aerial combat. It’s a legit genre, IMHO.

    The MAD MAX movies are action movies although the trappings are Dystopian Sci Fi. Kinda like how the 28 DAYS LATER/WEEKS LATER is Dystopian Sci Fi with strong Horror elements so it’s not inaccurate to call them Horror movies.

    Was HEAT ever marketed as an Action Movie, or a Crime Drama/Thriller which happened to have one epic gunfight right in the middle? Yes, dramas and even comedies can contain very well staged action sequences, but they’re not the reason you go see them. Hence they’re not action movies in my book. Conversely a movie like FACE/OFF has strong elements of melodrama and tragedy, but you wouldn’t call it anything but an Action Movie.

    But I will agree (again) that the MAD MAX franchise is more than just a Dystopian FAST & FURIOUS and I also have zero beef with anyone who loved FURIOSA for all the “non-action-y” bits. It just didn’t touch all my sweet spots. And that’s ok.

  126. Rented it, loved it, as good as Fury Road although kind of sad we don’t get lots of new sights to see. But the story was strong.

    Regarding the discussion of action, my guess is screentime-wise, had as much if not more than Road Warrior.

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