Reel Reviews | Furiosa: A Max Max Saga

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

The origin story of the renegade heroine from the last Mad Max movie gets its screen time in, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

One day at the end of the world, a little girl and her sister are gathering peaches in an oasis in the middle of a wasteland, called the Green Place of Many Mothers.  When interlopers arrive, a young Furiosa attempts to stop them from sharing the location of their paradise but only ends up getting kidnapped and taken deep into the wasteland and far away from home.  Despite threats of death, Furiosa refuses to give the location of the paradise to the mad leader Dr. Dementus.  Eventually, she finds a way to hide herself in plain sight and learn the lessons of the Wasteland, growing into the Praetorian Furiosa.  One day she hopes to truly escape and return to her paradise home but she has to devise a plan to get away.

Written by George Miller and Nick Lathouris, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is the origin story of the character that debuted in Mad Max: Fury Road.  The movie stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa, and Chris Hemsworth as Dementus, with Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, George Shevtsov, and Elsa Pataky.  Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is directed by George Miller

The Wasteland is George Miller’s world.  He created with Byron Kennedy back in 1979 with a film simply titled Mad Max starring an unknown actor named Mel Gibson.  After two successful sequels, Miller abandoned the series and went on to do other things.  Thirty years after the release of the last film of the series, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Miller returned to the Wasteland in Mad Max: Fury Road where he introduced the audience to Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron.  Furiosa became an instant fan favorite and Fury Road received mass acclaim.

In this film, Miller gives us the origin story of Furiosa.  This time played by Alyla Browne as a child and Anya Taylor-Joy when she gets older, Furiosa’s life and trials in the Wasteland give us the true insight needed to understand her actions in Fury Road.  Miller seamlessly weaves a tale so rich and complex visually but at the same time is super simple to follow.  Yet somehow, Miller fleshes out not only the story of Furiosa in the film but also the politics of the Wasteland giving the viewers the clearest understanding of that dystopian world.

The acting is fantastic.  Anya Taylor-Joy makes the character of Furiosa her own.  Even in the short moments of her weakness and vulnerability, Taylor-Joy shows us Furiosa’s true inner strength and the ferocity she develops through her time and trials.  Despite her stature, she plays Furiosa as larger than life with a dedication and intensity that derives from her name.

Hemsworth who most people recognize as Thor from those Marvel movies, is completely different in this movie.  He is maniacal and irreverent even when he is trying to be nice.  Most incredibly, he carries an unrecognizable voice in this film.  While the acting is a hard enough job, creating a voice and holding it through an entire film is a feat of acting accomplishment few can pull off.  Hemsworth does it here extremely well.

The main character and tried and true trademark of all Mad Max movies is the visionary work of George Miller.  Each scene in the film is full of lushness whether it be a wide sweeping desert filled with ravines and harsh topography or the gorgeous, Eden-like Green Place from where Furiosa hails.  The action scenes are so well detailed and executed, the movie is a stunt person’s dream.  Additionally, the film so seamlessly ties into Fury Road that the end of this movie could be the start of the first movie. The only question is why didn’t Miller do this movie first?

Rated R for sequences of strong violence and grisly images, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a sweeping, epic odyssey that illuminates its audience with the life of an important figure of the Wasteland and prepares us for the next story in the series. It is easily the best movie of the year to date.

Grade:  A