Hey all. Drunken Yoda here with another Furiosa review. Yeah, I know I’ve been MIA for a while and that is probably going to continue for a bit longer while real life continues to kick my butt. Now on to the review!

Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie I respect more than I love. I like it a whole lot. But I LOVE The Road Warrior.

The Road Warrior has the sauce that Fury Road doesn’t. So does this change the trend? Not really. Furiosa has a lot of good moments. It also has a lot of unnecessary moments. Again, I liked this movie. I will probably rewatch it. But like with Fury Road, when I have a Mad Max craving, I’m probably going to The Road Warrior.

If I had to pick a word for this movie, it’s overindulgent. This is a 100-minute movie stretched out over 2 and a half hours. It does NOT need to be this long. More than once I was saying “Get on with it” under my breath.

This is the worst in the first couple of acts, then it gets better as the story unfolds. Anya Taylor-Joy is not asked to emote much in this movie and in the early parts of the movie Furiosa is played by Alyla Browne. SHe is more natural as the young character. While I understand why she was the way she was, by the time she grew into Taylor-Joy, the actress did not do much more than glare.

Chris Hemsworth on the other hand is a revelation. While he has done well in a lot of other roles, notably Thor, I always felt like he was still a bit limited.

He’s amazing here as the villain Dementus, chewing the scenery but never over the top. He leans into his Aussie accent, adding a slight squeak that’s both humorous and disconcerting. I really didn’t think he had it in him, but then I thought Heath Ledger was a ridiculous choice as Joker at the time.

Furiosa

Seriously, he’s having fun.

 

I’m not going into a ton of spoilers, here but suffice to say her ending up with Immortan Joe was mapped out and we get a big deep dive into the world of Fury Road. Suddenly George Miller discovered continuity, being very careful to make sure this all dovetails flawlessly into Fury Road.

Dementus and Immortan Joe are in a fragile peace with Dementus running the Guzzeline Plant, another warlord running the Bullet Farm, and Joe overseeing the Citadel with the water, not to mention the entire “kingdom” as it were. There’s a lot of Game of Thrones-style plotting.

But you’re not here for that, you’re here for the action! Well, it’s good. But doesn’t make the highs of Fury Road or The Road Warrior.

It’s not that it isn’t spectacular, it’s that it’s pretty perfunctory. The action chases in all the Mad Max movies were big emotional climax moments. These are just plot points. Don’t get me wrong, they are good plot points but it does deflate them, and make them less memorable. Everything hinged on Max getting the gang away from villagers with his fake tanker which we don’t know is a fake until the end of The Road Warrior.

Here, this is just a thing for Furiosa to get to the next place she needs to be for the prequel to fall into place.

At one point she gets away because the movie says so. She’s supposed to be one of the brides but ends up getting away and disguising herself as a boy because reasons. It was almost as if George forgot how to tie the two parts of the movie together and just hand-waved it away.

Again, this sounds like I’m crapping on it. I am not. It’s a good story. Much better than the prequels could ever hope to be but it IS a prequel and has the same issues all prequels have. I know she’s not going to die. I know she’s going to end up where she does. I know she’s going to lose her arm, etc.

As for the length and overindulgence, I remember watching The Phantom Menace “Making Of” documentary. Everyone was in awe of George Lucas and I understand it. But no one told George “No.” So he went to all the worst excesses. This happened to Ridley Scott with his stupid Prometheus, and James Cameron with Avatar. These guys get too big for anyone to criticize during the making of these movies.

When they make their original classics, no one is treating them like gods. They have to struggle, they have to compromise and the movies are usually the better for it. Then they come back decades later and everyone is kissing their asses. You end up with Furiosa, an overly long story that loses impact.

Furiosa Hems Joe

I also have to wonder if George hates Max. He always treated Max like crap. It’s part of why we like Max, but really the character gets the shaft constantly. In Fury Road, it was as much as Furiosa’s story as it was Max’s. Now we have a Furiosa story where he treats the character with a lot more reverence.

I don’t know, I don’t want to scream “woke” or “feminism” or other buzzwords because it’s still a good story. But it’s something I noticed.

Overall I was “whelmed” as they say. Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed.  I can’t not recommend it, it’s quality filmmaking. And if you like the world, you’ll probably enjoy this. But this is definitely the Fury Road world, not necessarily the world of Mad Max. It’s a subtle but distinct difference in my opinion. So I’ll rank it straight down the middle since number scores are stupid but everyone demands a number.

 

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