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“Furiosa” has less diesel oil than sand in the engine [RECENZJA]

“Furiosa” has less diesel oil than sand in the engine [RECENZJA]

George Miller returned with a new post-apocalyptic film from the “Mad Max” universe. For the first time in 45 years, the main character is not crazy Max, but Furiosa, created in 2015. Is there anything else here apart from explosions and the roar of engines?

On Friday, the long-awaited “” by the creators of the Mad Max universe hits the screens of Polish and world cinemas. The director cast one of the brightest stars of the young generation – the big-eyed Anya Taylor-Joy – for the main role. His “Furiosa” is a completely different film than the earlier “Mad Max”. And this is probably the main problem – we get something completely different than what we have been accustomed to over the years, and at the same time, paradoxically, it is still exactly the same, not even new.

Furiosa’s Paradise Lost

Before Furiosa becomes the empress of the desert wastelands, which we first saw in 2015, we need to find out what path she has taken. We start from childhood. Little Furiosa lives in one of the few forested enclaves in the nuclear-ravaged Australian outback. The happiness does not last long, because she is kidnapped and ends up in the hands of Dementus, the brutal and slightly crazy leader of a large group of bandits. He does not limit himself only to kidnapping the girl, his cruelty goes much deeper and forever marks little Furiosa with the desire for revenge.

Furiosa does not stay among the gang of kidnappers for long – she becomes the property of the famous Immortal Joe, who sees the girl as a future breeding female. She manages to avoid this fate thanks to her wits and luck. He joins a crew of technicians, and later a team of one of the Immortal’s best warriors. There he climbs the career ladder, but he doesn’t forget where he comes from and where he wants to return.

Charlize Theron was replaced in this part by a younger Anya Taylor-Joy. – and indeed, Taylor-Joy is mostly silent in “Furiosa”. Her fantastic, big eyes play a role in this. Furiosa’s archnemesis, the cruel Dementus, was Chris Hemsworth, who so far hasn’t had the opportunity to show himself in a more serious production in which he won’t have to show off his naked torso. In “Furiosa” there is quite a lot of torso, but Hemsworth has reached the heights of dramatic and comedic skills and his Dementus is an exceptionally bright star in Miller’s constellation of characters. However, there is a problem with “Furiosa” other than the acting one.

‘Furiosa’ / Anya Taylor-Joy Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Empress of nothing

Already at the level of the previous “Mad Max – Fury Road” in 2015, Furiosa is referred to as the “Empress”. The second or third person in Immortal Joe’s community, ruthlessly brutal, deadly effective – all this sounds worthy and extremely interesting. Meanwhile, the character of Furiosa that we get in the latest film is a shell. It is an empty balloon inflated with promotion and big slogans “odyssey”, “legendary”, “saga”. My expectations for Furiosa were really high, considering how good Fury Road was and how Mad Max had been built and added to over the years. “Furiosa” left me with a feeling of absolute dissatisfaction.

Basic problem – George Miller’s Empress Furiosa is nothing special as a character. Yes, he can keep his cool in crisis situations and is quite good at aiming a gun. But these are its only advantages. Every decision she made was – according to the events in the film – completely wrong and resulted in catastrophic events later. She was driven by the desire for revenge, but its implementation leaves only dissatisfaction – it is not her intentional action, but the result of other people’s actions. She was inactive at no point except for her escape at the Citadel. For the Empress – these achievements are a bit weak. But maybe Immortal Joe simply didn’t have better people (and considering who he surrounded himself with, Furiosa was probably his best option).

And this is not an accusation against Anya Taylor-Joy and her other actors. This is a complaint solely against the person responsible for creating the character of Furiosa. She is simply weak and does not achieve anything groundbreaking, which would later give the promotion the right to call her path a “legendary odyssey”. Yes, this is an odyssey, as Furiosa does indeed make unsuccessful attempts to return home. However, each of these attempts results in the death of bystanders. He doesn’t learn anything from any Furiosa. She makes exactly the same mistakes as at the beginning of the film, when we meet her as a little girl. Ultimately, everyone around them turns out to be more effective, which is frustrating because we are talking about a character who is supposed to be legendary. What’s worse, even in the finale, which occurred in the earlier film in 2015, she is so ill-prepared that without Mad Max’s help, her plan would never have succeeded. In the end, it doesn’t work either – Furiosa returns to her home, which is ashes and ruins, and once again someone else presents her with an idea to solve this problem. Yes, he is a tragic figure, but is he really legendary? A metal hand is a bit too small.

'Furiosa' / Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke‘Furiosa’ / Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Burke Jasin Boland / JASIN BOLAND

Chris Hemsworth in glitter

Against the background of the silent Furiosa, the main villains of the film look fantastic and coherent. Immortal Joe is as cunning as a fox, playing everything and everyone according to his intentions. Although fate has given him not very wise offspring, he himself is not going to the grave yet and hopes that the next child born to his parents will finally prove worthy of his legacy. Lachy Hulme, just like Taylor-Joy, plays with her eyes, and when she speaks, the viewer is filled with pure horror. He doesn’t even have to kill anyone himself, he doesn’t have to prove anything anymore. We remember him from the 2015 film and the horror is no less, even though Joe is younger now.

At the other extreme is Dementus, who still has to show direct cruelty and a large dose of unpredictable behavior, because only this deters his competitors from taking power from him. Unstable, talkative, tragic and comic at the same time, Hemsworth couldn’t shine more even if he bathed in glitter. The only blame can be placed on the make-up artists who decided that the actor’s nose required a prosthetic, which resulted in something very strange growing in the middle of Hemsworth’s face, which has nothing to do with the nose. Hemsworth juggles jokes and his pain, thanks to which his Dementus gains more depth than the “brutal madman” label. As a leader who is constantly at risk of rebellion, he makes difficult decisions and sometimes lets go of the guardrail in unpredictable ways, completely disorganizing his opponents. The initial relationship with Furiosa is fantastically written and credibly reflects Dementus’ motivations – his dual nature forces him to treat the girl brutally, because the world they live in does not recognize weakness. At the same time, deeply hidden memories from the times before the Holocaust come to the fore when he protects her by locking her in a cage and saves her from death. There are two wolves in him who are constantly biting each other, but although he behaves like a madman, he is not – he expresses this in his last conversation with Furiosa.

'Furiosa', Chris Hemsworth‘Furiosa’, Chris Hemsworth JASIN BOLAND / JASIN BOLAND

Hemsworth is Mad Max on steroids in “Furiosa” – this is what Max would have become if he had created his own gang in the second film in 1981. George Miller had a different idea for Mel Gibson’s character, but he clearly explores this option in Hemswort: what would happen if Mad Max chose the path of anger and cruelty, rather than striving to preserve the remnants of humanity. If “Furiosa” is not the director’s last word, I would be happy to watch the beginnings of Dementus or Immortal Joe – that’s where most of the action happens, and not with the rather shallow Furiosa.

Sand in the gears

“Furiosa” is also another title in which we move to an endless desert in 2024. Simon Duggan is responsible for the cinematography here, and he wonderfully conveyed the power of the wasteland. However, there are things here that irritate. George Miller in “Mad Max Fury Road” already tested intentionally speeding up shots, which made the action seem even more rapid. Now he repeats this procedure, which gives us almost the same chase scenes. Let us add that we have been watching them in an increasingly improved version since 1981 (I do not count the chases from the first film, because it is a completely different production). Once again we have the same fancy cars that go “wrummm” and basically the same special effects and stunts. Of course, these are beautiful and deadly machines, but it’s the same thing again – as if Miller couldn’t decide whether he wanted to pay tribute to Furiosa or to the machines. As a result, we get a mish-mash of both, which ultimately weakens the story behind man – machines distract attention from him. The director gives a wink to his most loyal fans who were delighted with the sound of the engine and bathing in diesel fuel in his earlier films. If the previous films offered something new with each installment, even though they borrowed familiar motifs from the previous parts, “Furiosa” has nothing new in terms of action.

Miller’s obvious problem is also something else – he has become so attached to the desert that now he can hardly show other spaces in a realistic way. Every shot of greenery and nature looks artificial, the trees resemble models, the green grotto is a studio adapted for the needs of the film. Perhaps this is the downside of a screen that is too large and too bright, but it is a production designed to be watched in a cinema, not on a TV set at home. The scenes with greenery should be even more impeccable because they are crucial to the film’s plot. Fortunately, there are so few of them that they are a minor inconvenience to the eyes.

“Furiosa” is also a completely different film than the previous “Mad Maks”, exactly the same as we already know – mainly because of the unreliable heroine, who compared to “Mad Max” is quite pale. George Miller continues to show, in a thinly veiled way, what will happen to us when the end of the world and civilization occurs – let’s not have any illusions, it won’t be otherwise. But if “Mad Max” is a series to which fans passionately return, discovering new references to previous films, details and details within details and details, cherishing certain lines and scenes, “Furiosa” – although it also partially pays tribute to the first three “Mad Maksom” is a step completely away from what we have seen before. Will you come back to it the same way? I think not necessarily.

'Furiosa' / machine in the main role‘Furiosa’ / machine in the main role Jasin Boland / JASIN BOLAND

“Furiosa” will undoubtedly delight some people – if you are tired of the repetitive plot with the taciturn Max proving that behind the mask of a tough guy and a madman there is an empathetic, but at the same time opportunistic creature, “Furiosa” offers a new deal and a different path for the main character. Fans of chase scenes, explosions, desert dust and general mayhem will also be delighted. There is also something for fans of romances set in unfavorable natural circumstances. In short – something for everyone. And yet I left the cinema feeling unsatisfied. I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching Furiosa, but I also think the world wouldn’t be poorer without it.

Everything seems to be fine here – the duo of Taylor-Joy and Hemsworth is a great duo, there are the same chases that bought us in “Fury Road”, there are the same disgusting characters… And yet you can leave the cinema and shrug after “Furiosa” . The main character’s revenge leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction – compare it with the revenge planned for years in “Kill Bill” – and it was supposed to be a driving force next to the desire to return home. We also already know how this desire to return will end. For me, “Furiosa” is a step back in the universe and I do not intend to return to this part of “Mad Max”. The advantage of this film, however, is that thanks to “Furiosa”, “Mad Max – Fury Road” will most likely be released in cinemas again – and it was a visually stunning picture.

Source: Gazeta

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