Two things I wish George Miller had done differently in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

The Fury Road prequel is a satisfying return to the world of the demented 2015 film—but there were two missed opportunities, relating to Immortan Joe’s Wives and Furiosa’s revenge.

SDG Original source: All Things SDG

George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a blast, and, while its box-office crash and burn is disappointing on a number of levels, it’s well-made enough that I’m sure it will go on to be watched, discussed, and even studied for years. (Read my review at U.S. Catholic.)

No, it doesn’t outdo Mad Max: Fury Road’s most insane set pieces, above all the Pole-cats attacking the War Rig, defended by Vuvalini crones along with the Wives and Max himself, all scored by the Doof Warrior’s flame-throwing electric guitar. And, honestly, I wouldn’t want Furiosa to outdo the highlights of Fury Road. This is the prequel; Fury Road should play as the grand climax—and, indeed, the two films fit together so well that it’s no surprise that the stories were developed together before Fury Road was shot, with a plan at one point to shoot them back-to-back.

Furiosa’s action centerpiece—a War Rig assault that plays like an amped-up, land-based version of the Somali pirate attack sequences in the 2013 Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips—includes no Pole-cats, but the attackers find other ways to get airborne. Some viewers may also be disappointed at the heavier reliance on CGI this time around, given Fury Road’s much-celebrated focus on practical stunts and effects, though the reality is that Fury Road leaned more on CGI than has often been recognized.

What if the Wives played an active role in helping young Furiosa hide from Rictus and sending him on his way?

My own nagging issues with Furiosa in relation to Fury Road are thematic. Fury Road stands out to me as the series high point not just cinematically, but morally. The Mad Max trilogy starring Mel Gibson leaned heavily on two interrelated forms of violence: a) women suffering sexual menace and violence, and b) men raining vengeance on their enemies. On the first front, Fury Road’s feminist revolt against toxic patriarchy was a welcome corrective. “We are not things” is the message left by the Five Wives—in reality, sex slaves in a eugenic program to produce genetically normal children—of the monstrous tyrant Immortan Joe as they make a desperate bid for escape along with Charlize Theron’s rogue Imperator Furiosa. On the second front, I appreciate that Immortan Joe’s gruesome death at Furiosa’s hands is a quick, efficient bit of business in the heat of battle, not a prolonged or sadistic revenge scene.

Action, Dystopian


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