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“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga”(Movie Review)

by Rosa Parra

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the titled character alongside Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, and Alyla Brown. It follows the origin story of Furiosa, who was introduced in 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” with Charlize Theron. 

As a movie enthusiast, I was excited to get a sneak peek of “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” at this year’s Cinemacon. Warner Brothers’ presentation was a standout, igniting anticipation. The world-building and visuals were undeniably impressive, setting high expectations. However, did the movie fully meet them? Unfortunately, it fell slightly short.

This installment in the Mad Max saga is expansive, building on the characters from Fury Road. Prequels often face the challenge of being redundant as we already know the character’s fate. However, last year’s “Wonka” showed that prequels can still be meaningful. Unlike “Fury Road,” “Furiosa” adopts a slower pace with less action, which allows scenes to unfold and breathe, but that contributes to its lengthy runtime. It dedicates a significant portion of the movie to a young Furiosa (played brilliantly by Brown), providing crucial context.  However, I particularly felt the impact of the slow pacing in the third act.

Brown did such a great job as young Furiosa that when Taylor-Joy finally entered, it felt like she didn’t have that spark we see in Brown and Theron. Physically, Taylor-Joy resembles a young Theron, but an element she’s missing flows in her counterparts. Taylor-Joy does a great job though, considering most of her acting is solely with her eyes, facial expressions and body language. Her minimal dialogue does play against her, because in a movie named after her character, she is overshadowed by Dr. Dementus (played by Hemsworth). 

The action sequences in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” are nothing short of spectacular. Shot from wide angles, they are visually stunning and a testament to the painstaking work behind the camera. While there are some instances of apparent green screens, they are few and far between, maintaining the overall immersive experience. 

It doesn’t escape me that this is one of the few franchises directed by the same person and that deserves respect and admiration. I wonder how this movie’s reception would have varied if it was released before “Fury Road.” After all, this movie’s script was completed before it (according to an interview with George Miller). 

Overall, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is a strong entry into the Mad Max saga. It differs from its predecessor’s approach and timeline, but I never once questioned if this belonged in this world. Sadly, the antagonist overshadows the titular character, which is disappointing.