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Furiosa revs up without Mad Max

Updated: Jun 13

The movie Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga revs up the series’ high-octane power while switching gears with actors and timelines.  Deciding to look into a period somewhere between Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and 2015’s Fury Road, writer-director George Miller creates an epic backstory for the woman first played by the screen stealing Charlize Theron, complete with shaven head, greased black facial highlights, and a gearhead’s dream of an artificial arm. Moving back to Furiosa’s life as a happy 12-year-old in a peaceful Eden requires a change in performers, putting both Alyla Browne and Anna Taylor-Joy in the role. With huge eyes that indicate watchful intelligence and lithe grace, both seem made for evolving into the dominating Fury Road figure.  Browne demonstrates the ingenuity and survival skills smoothly taken over by Taylor-Joy about an hour into the film. Both stand up to the competition around them—the signature muscle car chases that define the series, dramatic wasteland locations in Australia plus crazy make up and costumes.  They also face the thunderous power of Chris Hemsworth shucking his Thor heroics to play a bad guy not so subtly named Dr. Dementus. Few sagas require subtlety, and director Miller never shies away from the outrageous, part of the reason his series plays so well. Even so, Miller demonstrates thoughtfulness with Biblical references and commentary about humanity and war plus throws in a few Easter Egg nods for fans to spot, including a whiz-by moment of Max and his car.  Just as Mad Max sprung from vengeance, Furiosa seeks retaliation, and both lose use of a limb in the process.  But Furiosa finds purpose beyond all that, giving her film the strength and resonance of its main character.



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