Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)
May 22, 2024 2:56 PM - Subscribe

The origin story of renegade warrior Furiosa before her encounter and teamup with Mad Max, from the director of "Babe: Pig in the City". Previous discussions about the film trailer, disability representation, and film editing.
posted by autopilot (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My hot take: it was ok, but not as good as the original. My main complaint is that there was too much talking -- "Fury Road" worked as a silent film without any dialogue, while this one had near constant monologuing. There is far too much "explain things for the audience" where the other film left the world-building in the background and assumed the viewers were smart enough to pick up on things like the religious aspects of the V8 gesture and the cry to WITNESS ME.

Plus it contradicts the sacred timeline I mentioned in the trailer discussion:
During the before times, Furisoa was Lorraine Broughton, a Cold War espionage agent who learned hand to hand combat while undercover in East Berlin. In the years following the fall of the Wall she became disillusioned with the government agencies and went freelance as a super villain. She changed her name to Cipher and, after a tangle with Dom’s team involving a nuclear submarine, she joined the family and he taught her to drive fast and furiously. When the collapse happened, her fighting and driving skills brought her to the attention of Immortan Joe who offered her a job. She changed her name again and started driving the war rig, which is where we met her in Fury Road.

posted by autopilot at 3:03 PM on May 22 [6 favorites]

There was too much cruelty and not enough epicness, as though they assumed the cruelty is what made it epic, but it just made me want to walk out of the theater, especially considering the world we’re living in now. The first one mostly implied but did not show that sort of thing, this one gloried in it. I think they did a disservice by showing all the iconic scenes from the first one at the end of this one because I was all like, yeah, why couldn’t we have had more of that?
posted by antinomia at 8:35 PM on May 22 [7 favorites]

After more thought, I'm in agreement with antinomia that the unnecessary cruelty in the Furiosa movie is the biggest failing. Fury Road was violent and brutal, but survival was the most important part of their actions. There is probably a sixty minute film that could be cut from the three hour runtime, excising most of the dialogue as well as re-editing scenes to not dwell for so long on the torture-porn framing.

In the article on editing, Miller credits his wife Margaret for making Fury Road the tight movie that it is:
What some editors do is just put everything in, and you end up with a five-hour movie, and then it becomes a struggle to edit that down. All the fellow-collaborators [are] saying, “Why did you cut that? That was my favorite shot!” We had to just forget all the noise. I’m pretty good at that, but Margaret is fantastic. She has a very, very low boredom threshold. She will sit in a movie with me and I’ll see her fidgeting and I will ask her what’s wrong, and she will say, “My God, we already know this! We’ve already been there.” She was the only one who could say this to me. Because I completely trust her. And, I have to tell you, I think it made the movie.
A later question asks about editing Furiosa:
“Furiosa” was shot back in Australia rather than Namibia. Did that change the way it was edited? Eliot Knapman is credited as the lead editor, rather than Margaret.

We had bought a farm in a valley outside of Sydney, and Margaret had been working strenuously on it during severe flooding. So that held her up from coming to the shoot. [...]
I wonder if some of the poor editing choices and extended runtime are a result of not having Margaret on-set and handling the lead editing. There is so much that falls into the "we already know this!" sort of category. One example that really struck me during watching the film is the Bommy Knocker: we don't need to be told that they have added something to the aft end of the war rig, we don't need to have a character ask three times if they can turn it on, and we don't need someone shouting "turn on the thing!" finally when it is needed, etc. That's just one minor thing among the many shots that felt unnecessary.

I don't know if I'll ever watch Furiosa again, although I will definitely re-watch Fury Road (Black and Chrome) many times since it is the near perfect movie that I really wanted to see.
posted by autopilot at 1:49 AM on May 23 [6 favorites]

Sounds like Mad Max is following the Star Trek Even/Odd Movies rule
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:16 AM on May 23

that was about as good a movie as it could have been given that it was an unnecessary prequel. for what it's worth, i think all prequels are unnecessary and i can't think of one that matched the original. that said, it was well done; i enjoyed watching it. I'll probably see it again in XD just to compare it to the regular version.

i thought the child Furiosa was good and Anya Taylor Joy was great. when she spoke, i wondered if they had Charlize Theron saying the lines because they sounded so similar.

the car sequences didn't feel as real as Fury Road and i wondered if they used more obvious CG and maybe even green screening, though there was also sped up sequences and other camera tricks that may have been going on.

there were plenty of nods to Fury Road fans and mostly it didn't feel like lampshading. i do kind of wish Furiosa kept her arm and it was lost between the movies and we never ever found out how (because it'd have been a poke at the audience about expectations).
posted by kokaku at 9:08 PM on May 23 [1 favorite]

They misdirected me a couple times on the arm, in a way that I think I liked?

Three arm-related plot points + a question. Spoilers and also kinda gross (but no grosser than anything else in the film IMO
When she started tattooing the map, I thought she was going to end up having to remove the arm so that Dementus et al couldn't use it get to the Green Place.

Then when she was in disguise in the citadel and Rictus almost saw it, and would have identified her, I thought she was going to remove it then, to stay in disguise. (OTOH she didn't even cut her hair to stay in disguise -- WHY? All the war boys and blackthumbs and everyone else must have been cutting their hair too, so it's not like she had to hide the fact that it was growing ... ??)

THEN I thought it would be severed completely right when the injury finally happened.

Do we think she chewed through it???

posted by librarina at 10:39 AM on May 24

plot detail
i think, since she was hanging from the arm, she put weight onto it and wriggled/twisted until it severed

posted by kokaku at 10:48 AM on May 24

Amazing film, juuuuuust not *quite* as amazing as Fury Road. 100% Anya Taylor-Joy is doing her very best Charlize impression - have to wonder if there was any post-processing there. Several huge action sequences had me literally bouncing in my seat from the joy/amazement/excitement/horror/thrill. There needs to be a stunt Academy Award yesterday.
posted by ssmith at 8:22 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

It took me a second screening to warm up to 'Fury Road' at first, as my first impression of that film was that it seemed tonally and chronologically disconnected from the earlier films, but I had no such hesitation this time. Possibly as a consequence of avoiding so much as a trailer, 'Furiosa' was a complete joy (pun not intended) right from the title cards where we heard 000 being given primacy over 999 or even 911 as an emergency number. Definitely going back to see that again, and probably soon. Taylor-Joy not only doing a solid Theron impression but also a great performance in every scene up to that transformation. Hemsworth looked like he was having a great old time every moment he was on set. And I was so glad to have seen David Field early on; he's such a great character actor who absolutely excels at playing the kind of menacing low-level underworld scumbag that naturally would have ended up as a wasteland marauder.

This George (Miller) succeeds where the Other George (Lucas) was too ham-handed in making his second trilogy "rhyme" with the first. It had delightful echos of the first film in particular that manage not to feel too much like blatant fan service, working perfectly well even if you don't pick up on them; the mechanic in the underground garage eager to show off his creation, but though he'd got a piece from here, shortages meant he hadn't got a piece from there; the mannequin on the bike; the charismatic and loquacious biker leader who even channels Paul Keating; the arm dangling from the chain (just like Kundalini, I'm sure that Furiosa wants her hand back).

There were also some wonderful resonances with 'The Road Warrior', particularly where Miller holds up Dementus' gang scoping out GasTown as a dark mirror to the scene where Max and the Gyrocaptain reconnoiter the refinery compound from their rocky outcropping. Little costuming details, too. Dementus didn't have a knee blown out, so instead of using a metal leg brace, he had someone *else's* leg bones lashed to the outside of his pants.

In fact, the only moment that felt noticeably tacked on was the inclusion of Max himself next to his freshly rebuilt Pursuit Special, watching Furiosa stagger back to the Citadel. Though between that shot and the inclusion of Scabrous Scrotus, Miller seems to be reinforcing the cannonicity of both the 'Fury Road' tie-in comic series where Max finishes building up a new XB, and the 2015 game in which Max *again* loses the Pursuit Special.
posted by MarchHare at 6:38 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]

In fact I just realised that the mechanic that gives Furiosa her… car is Chumbucket from the 2015 game!
posted by MarchHare at 7:52 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

There were some cool parts but the story of this movie wasn't much of an origin story for the character we met in Fury Road.

They even skip directly to her Fury Road storyline at the end, portraying her in a heroic(or at least non-offending) light throughout. In Fury Road she was doing a heel-face turn. She was on of Immortan Joe's top officers, it was unthinkable that she would betray him. Think about the Immortan and what she would've had to have done to attain that status.

This movie made it seem like she was working for Immortan Joe by shear coincidence without him even really knowing who she was. She kills his biggest enemy and they don't even show her wreathed in glory at the citadel.

This story is really trying hard to keep her clean but she's supposed to be a BADass.
posted by yonega at 3:23 PM on May 25 [8 favorites]

None of the above is to say I wasn't entertained but I feel like I would have enjoyed this movie more having never seen Fury Road.
posted by yonega at 3:43 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]

Loved this moving picture, it answers the question, what if a David Lean film, but balls to the wall action?

Enjoyed it far more than Fury Road - as a lover of the original three Mad Max films Tom Hardy never clicked for me, I always was aware that, “hey, it’s Tom Hardy.” Whereas, in this picture as soon as I saw Tom Burke as Praetorian Jack as I was all, “my god, if they made Fury Road now this guy would have been Max - he has the total world-weariness down, whereas for me Hardy always seemed like he just stepped out on the pavement after a heavy meal at Musso & Frank’s.

So I bought into it right away, unlike Fury Road. The action for me was better, loved loved loved the Paraglider chase, stunning action.

Also, folks who are more knowledgeable than me re: film history, can answer this - has anybody played around with frame rates, (speeding up / cutting out frames), the way Miller has? I hated the speeded up shot of a tent being ripped off revealing a copulating couple in Mad Max 2: always bothered me in the way that trying to fix things in post by speeding up or slowing down reveals lack of planning/solid conceptual feeling for a scene, (The 6th Day is terrible in this regard), but here it’s like Miller has uncovered a whole new tool that could have existed since the dawn of cinemas but has never really been used, (just like how the ‘bullet-time’ effect could have been ‘realized’ right from the first days of the movies but nobody seemed to think of doing it).

Lastly, the main thing the generates such interest in me about this film is the ‘Beyond Vengeance’ chapter. In the first Mad Max, Max’s horrific revenge on those who killed his family doesn’t make him whole, in fact it makes him a “burned out husk of a man”…that film kind of works as a counterpoint to Walter Wink’s idea of the Myth of Redemptive violence - so many stories say violence redeems, (killing Hans Gruber in Die Hard gets John McClane back together with his family in Die Hard, for instance), yet violence doesn’t heal in the real world. So was curious what Miller was going to do here - and we seemed to go ‘Beyond Vengeance’ - instead of killing Dementus, he becomes the life force for an apple tree, which helps feeds the women Furiosa liberates…that’s an interesting way to move the conversation forward I think, (am I misremembering, or did seem Dementus seem grateful at the end?

(Also this film has the best transition between younger actor and older playing the same character - perhaps computer trickery was involved?).
posted by jettloe at 5:52 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]

peach tree if it was grown from the pit she was carrying around for however old she was by that point
posted by kokaku at 4:42 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]

I thought it was excellent. The child actor was great, and I bought Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa much more than I expected to. I thought her presence was excellent.

I have to disagree about the comments calling portions torture porn. They definitely made the viewer aware that terrible things were happening, but they never explicitly showed the thing. I am thinking specifically about the death of Furiosa's mother, the death of that guy chained to the motorcycles, and the death of Praetorian Jack - they cut away from the actual violence and gore, and it wasn't shown. The most gory scene, in my eyes, was the maggots in the arm.
posted by hepta at 9:13 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]

I have to disagree about the comments calling portions torture porn. They definitely made the viewer aware that terrible things were happening, but they never explicitly showed the thing

My wife and I just got home from seeing it and were discussing those specific comments and they confused us because, exactly as you mention, nothing (aside from a single shot of some maggots) was at all gratuitous.

As you said, everything else is implied, but very deliberately not shown.

Anyway, I didn't love it quite as much as Fury Road, because, well, Fury Road already exists and once you've witnessed a thing like that you can't witness it for the first time over again...

But that said, I really enjoyed this movie a lot.
posted by kbanas at 3:32 PM on May 27

fwiw Miller handles violence to main characters the same in Fury Road... we see the seed Vulvalini's neck get cut but we don't see the gratuitous bloody shot you'd see in most movies (that moment really stood out for me because it's such an awful trope at this point); we see Angharad fall and the cut away is so close but afair there's no gratuitous shot of her going under the wheels... we hear it from Max that he saw it happen
posted by kokaku at 4:15 PM on May 27

Saw it last night. I thought Anya Taylor-Joy did her job well, but unlike Fury Road where it was 100% Theron's movie (sorry Thomas Hardy, you diva asshat), some points need to be given for Chris Hemsworth here, he was incredible as Dementus.

Between this and The Fall Guy, if you're into stunting this is an amazing time.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:10 AM on May 28

I wanted to love it! It had the right ingredients, but then also a bunch of other stuff that muddied the taste, so to speak. I missed the incredibly tight editing of Fury Road the most, the show-don't-tell nature of the story. The fact that the audience was spoon fed a lot more in Furiosa made it feel like another (quite good, but nothing super special) action flick. The sheer spectacle of practical effects in Fury Road shine even more in comparison, as well.

Alyla Browne as young Furiosa was perfect, but Anya Taylor-Joy (who I love in all things) wore a single face the entire time. Theron was stoic and hard, but somehow also more expressive. And this was supposed to be the making of that character, not the immediate "and here I am, this is me forever" sort of thing. I don't know. I think I just don't buy it - the story, the character development, etc. I don't see how this Furiosa works closely with Immortan Joe for the next few decades, I didn't need or want the weird mentor/lover relationship with Praetorian Jack (Furiosa had enough revenge motivation as is), and honestly Dementus was just too much comedy and didn't work for me. The world design itself is so over the top that it provides enough humor and amusement in itself, I personally didn't need a "aren't I wacky?" villain thrown in, with SO. MUCH. TALKING.

IMO it's good, and it's worth watching. But it doesn't have the heart and soul that Fury Road did, and now thanks to autopilot's comment I know I should be thanking Margaret Sixel for that experience!
posted by It Was Capitalism All Along at 2:43 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]

I'm at about 99% agreement with author Chuck Wendig's take. In essence: 1) Good, but not great film 2) The stakes were too muddy throughout the film 3) Prequels are really hard 4) There's *some* new world building, but it's mostly just (needlessly) filling in some of the cracks from Fury Road.

Again, really good action movie. Genuinely with this article – and my own personal sentiment – the heaps of criticism are all out of love for the two films.
posted by ssmith at 6:49 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]

I saw it yesterday and did not love it. It was not *quite* torture porn but honestly I have no stomach for anything even close right now, and that's a me thing but it definitely colored my reaction. But the biggest problem is that it didn't answer any questions about Furiosa that I might actually have asked - I would have assumed she had a shitty childhood and a violent adolescence etc. I don't... care? Really? about the details.

I did like the expansion of the worldbuilding and I thought Dementus was delightful as a horrible incompetent villain (one of the thing that worked for me about both this and Fury Road is how ultimately futile and unsuccessful the strong-man megalomaniac villain is at holding together a community) but I felt the entire first third of the movie, before Furiosa is in a position to have agency, to be both needless and unpleasant.

And good god I hope using that AI firm saved a *lot* of money because I could tell which shots were AI and they looked so bad. (I know they must have been AI because CGI hasn't looked that bad since the 90s.)
posted by restless_nomad at 9:35 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]

Wendig's idea to focus on moving forward would have made a more compelling movie since it would have provided stakes for Furiosa (and removed every known character's invincible prequel armor):
Imagine if this film had taken Furiosa’s story forward, instead of backward? Holy shit, at the end of Fury Road she took over the citadel. Insert Dementus into that situation — hell, you could even make it so she knows him and he is, in fact, the one who killed her mother — and now she’s got this Human Chaos Bomb Wasteland Surfer Cult Leader Fucko to contend with, trying to figure out how to counter him before he blows up the stability she only just managed to secure?
There could be a few prequel-like scenes where we see glimpses of Furiosa's backstory and the rest could have focused on how, together with the remaining Many Mothers and Five Wives, they are going to rebuild the citadel's society while dealing with what ever wild enemies the wasteland throws at them.
posted by autopilot at 9:57 AM on May 30

Watched it last night, and I'm also with Chuck Wendig. Lots of great spectacle and action, but a lack of ongoing plot.

Also it's hard to care that much about a war between Dementus and Immortan Joe. There's not really a good guy to support. Both sets of followers seem highly enthusiastic, so it doesn't seem that tragic when they die in the wars they wanted to fight.

Great visuals and inventive vehicles though, loved the War Rig and the six-wheeled monster truck.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:17 AM on May 31

Yeah Wendig's right, I think.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:36 AM on May 31

Great for a prequel! So, pretty good, not great, overall. Enough weird little guys to keep me entertained.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:39 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]

It was . . .fine? I felt the seams way more than Fury Road. I saw it in a theater with like 3 other people. IDK I wanted to like it more than I did but some choices really kept bringing me out. That narration about was towards the end, why? But yeah Anya Taylor-Joy was solid, the young kid was great, and I was happy I saw it.
posted by Carillon at 9:50 PM on June 1

Saw this last night at an traditional theater in 70mm with top sound system. Enjoyed. Lots of fun moments, and "is this where she looses her arm, fake outs. Not a fan of Fury Road (drive out in the desert killing pursuers, find nada, turn around and go back - entire plot?) this was over the top and just gratuitously wacky enough to be continually fun. Actually I want a sequel to Fury Road with Miss Taylor-Joy showing the crazy rebuilding of a post apocalyptic society is doable. As in the end they showed different versions of Dementus killing, explicitly giving different stories in the same story, perhaps a film with both Taylor-Joy and Theron playing different versions of the same part in different intermixed stories. And somehow meet at the end.
posted by sammyo at 6:42 AM on June 5

I don't think this was good, it felt like Miller started work on it then handed it off to an intern to finish.

As a prequel, it clashes with Fury Road. How is everyone is ok about this woman hidden in their midst in an overly patriarchal society? That seems incredibly odd that no one even remarked about it as far as I know (did take a quick bathroom break)

I don't feel like I learned much about Furiosa, other than some vague explanation of why she trusted Max in the first film. But I also didn't need to know that. Part of what made Fury Road great was their chemistry.

The film was violent, more violent than Fury Road in the sense that it showed people being tortured, by you know, tastefully. That's a weird line to navigate and you can't do it too much because it becomes really obvious and clumsy.

Also, it didn't seem to make much sense at times. Furiosa just disappears from the center of a circle that people are riding motorcycles around, how is that possible? There were multiple other narrative moments like that that don't make much sense upon reflection.

The movie wasn't bad, I don't think Miller can put out a bad film, it just didn't make much sense. The whole point seemed to be establish Furiosa as some mythological being in human who was born the way she is. It felt like watching a slideshow of how awesome someone is without knowing details of the decisions that made to get to the point of being awesome

Shout out to the Immortan Joe portrayal, it had even more menace than Fury Road and you had no doubt why people feared him. But Chris Hemsworth needs to lay off this form of comedy. It was terrible in the Thor movie and it's even worse here. In Ghostbusters it was pitch perfect, but here it felt like overdone, self indulgent character acting that made all his followers seem foolish for taking his orders.

Finally, don't make another Mad Max unless Margaret Sixel has full control and has the time to focus on the project. It was unbearably long for no good reason.

Don't get me started on some of the terrible green screening.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:07 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]

The Tell of Us All: History and the World of Mad Max. (Spoilers for all Mad Max movies).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:56 AM on June 21

One thing I’ve loved about all the movies is the language, it is so beautiful at times, down to even the name of places. “Bullet town”? That’s so genius, yet feels so right, like something people would say in that wirld.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on June 21

Whoops, it's Bullet Farm, not town. Gas Town was the other spot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 PM on June 21

I liked it quite a lot, the kind of hyper realistic CGI / frame rate stuff threw me off for a bit but I really sunk into the world in the best Mad Max tradition. Cool vehicles, loud motors, big action sequences that felt real. Like how was I worried about Furiosa knowing by the logic of prequels she must be alright? It's a tribute to George Miller's visual storytelling.

I thought the ending with Dementus was a metaphor, a story she told to the Memory Man, not a literal tree growing for years and years out of a living corpse. How did she gain Immortan Joe's trust? Furiosa went beyond vengeance, she brought Dementus back and out of his body she grew the tree of hope.

To me the prequel wasn't really answering, how did she become an Imperator, it was asking, why did she save the wives? How is she a hero in a world of dead men? I'm not sure the movie was fully successful at answering the question but Miller is always ambitious in the attempt.
posted by muddgirl at 9:47 PM on June 21

It was fun playing spot the cameo - Tim Rogers, Danny Lim, Ian Roberts and an Umbilical Bro
posted by onya at 3:46 AM on July 11

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