Tag Archives: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

A little more on Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)

Way, waaaayyyy back in 1981 I was in High School and the movie The Road Warrior appeared in theaters. This movie, better known around the world as Mad Max 2, genuinely rocked my world.

I freaking loved it.

The action was intense, the stunt work mindbogglingly good -and scary! The climax had me on the edge of my seat.

The film was very low budget but not quite as low budget as the original Mad Max, which I would find and see later on. The film helped put Mel Gibson on Hollywood’s radar and he would soon after appear in Lethal Weapon and was well on his way to becoming a Hollywood superstar… before, of course, everything went bad.

When Mad Max: Fury Road appeared, I was very much there to see it and loved it… even if I felt Tom Hardy was somewhat miscast in the Max role. It just felt like the character was written as an older Max, which would have fit well with Mel Gibson’s age at the time the film was being made.

Still, this wasn’t a fatal problem and I enjoyed the film… even as I feel The Road Warrior remains my favorite Mad Max film.

Fast forward to the news of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and I was certainly curious but, I have to admit, I wasn’t dying to see it.

Yesterday I wrote about how Furiosa is seriously underperforming/bombing at the box office and offered some ideas as to why this might be. Truthfully, I feel there has been a shift away from the movie going experience and I genuinely wonder if this shift might prove permanent in spite of movies here and there succeeding.

But after posting, I wondered why I, a fan of the Mad Max films (generally!) wasn’t feeling all that crazy about going to see Furiosa myself.

Granted, I’m at a point in my life that it’s tough to carve out time to go see a film. I could do so, mind you, but I have other things I’m focused on. Truthfully, I don’t see television as much as before either.

Regardless, I was curiously unenthused to go see Furiosa and, rather than focus on why others may not have wanted to go see the film, I wondered why to me it didn’t feel like a “must watch”.

Let me start with the advertisements/trailers. They didn’t do all that much for me, frankly. They sure did look like director George Miller was repeating himself. The “look” of the film was almost the same as that of Fury Road only more CGIed… which was a turnoff.

I know, I know: What did I expect from a film that was supposed to be a prequel to Fury Road? Things couldn’t be radically different looking, could they?

I suppose not but still… it didn’t feel like there was anything terribly new to see in this new film. Certainly nothing we hadn’t seen in the last.

Then there was the issue of the story being a “prequel”. Somewhere deep in my mind this too was a turnoff. Did I really want to see how Furiosa came to be what she was in Fury Road?

As someone who has written a novel series that bounces around in time, I wanted to make sure any/all of the novels offered a unique and new experience.

In the case of Furiosa, there’s not much “there” there with regard to her story. I figured we’d see how she lost her arm and became a valuable driver. I figured we’d find the paradise she was stripped from and wanted to get back to in Fury Road.

But, again, was that enough to justify a full 2 hour and thirty minute long film?

It seemed a little much, frankly.

Here’s the thing about writing stories: Authors fall in love with their works. Given the amount of time it usually takes to write a story one is satisfied with, one has to love one’s works.

However one also has to be cold about the process. One should second guess what they’re doing constantly. Does this work? Does this not?

You can’t just type away -a form of verbal diarrhea- and expect everything will work.

When I write, I tend to be very cold about my works. I tend to cut things out and, yes, there have been passages I’ve loved which were eventually deemed unnecessary and were stripped away and likely will never be seen.

I fear that Furiosa is one of those fancy concepts that, as Miller was coming up with the idea of Fury Road, he came up with the back story for Furiosa and so loved it he wanted to bring it to life.

The problem was that as good as these back story concepts were, Fury Road was successful -indeed terrific!– without the need to delve into all that minutia.

Hell, Max’s “origin” is presented in Fury Road in a crisp thirty or so second fever dream and we don’t really need to see much more.

Was it really necessary to give so much time to Furiosa?

I will eventually see the film. Hopefully, I’ll find myself on the side of those who felt the film was damn good.

Still, I wish George Miller pushed the story forward and gave us something set further in the future of Fury Road rather than looking back.

The Fate of Furiosa (2024)

So a few days ago Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga was released and the box office it’s making for the Memorial Day weekend isn’t just weak… it’s dire.

So far, and we’re on Sunday the 26th now, the film has earned a weak $31.9 million and is running neck and neck with Garfield… But the bottom line is that the box office for the Memorial Day weekend is the worst its been in decades.

You can read more about it from Hollywood Reporter:

Box Office Meltdown: Garfield Claims Victory Over Furiosa With Worst No. 1 Memorial Day Opening In Three Decades

Once again I’ll quote screenwriter William Goldman and his famous thoughts on movie making and those films that succeed versus those that fail…

Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.

So, of course, I’m going to offer -for what little its worth- my own thoughts on what’s happening here. Again, though, I strongly suscribe to Mr. Goldman’s quote so I could be just as wildly off about this as everyone else.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, the older I get the more I realize change is a constant in just about everything but especially in the entertainment industry.

When I was very young, Disco music was incredibly popular. Saturday Night Fever made a superstar out of John Travolta when it was released in 1977 and made The Bee Gees household names. Three years later and in 1980 the movie Airplane! comes out and, among the avalanche of jokes you can find in it, we have parodies of Saturday Night Fever and a sequence where the endangered airplane strikes a radio station’s tower as the host announces this is where “disco will live forever”.

See, just a few short years after its golden era, Disco became a pariah musical taste and was scrubbed from most people’s interests. The Bee Gees were viewed as laughable, what with their high pitched singing, and the suits they wore to the Disco were viewed as tacky.

What happened?

I recall a teacher I had way back then opined that what did Disco in was the fact that older people liked the music and started to show up at the Discos. Young people, aghast, fled and, for good measure, ridiculed the whole thing as they moved on to other music.

In the 1980’s we had alternative music, perhaps mostly derived from David Bowie’s work. We had the rise of heavy metal. In the 1990’s that went away and we had the rise of Grunge music. By the 2000’s we had rap/urban music and glitzy boy bands and Britney.

The point is that things moved on.

Which brings me to this: I fear that maybe –maybe– the era of going to movie theaters and seeing films there may be going away.

Not permanently, mind you, but a confluence of things have come together to hurt the box office.

Just to be clear though: I’m not saying that the apparently box office failure (and indeed it seems like it’s happening) of Furiosa -and The Fall Guy’s release and weak box office just a couple of weeks before that movie- portends bad things for all movies. But it does, I feel, expose the things that are hurting movie theaters and movie releases in general.

We went through COVID and entertainment companies began branching out into streaming services. We also have reached a point where we can own -for a reasonable investment- truly gigantic and beautiful TVs in our homes. I strongly suspect these things, in conjunction, have made people realize they don’t have to go to theaters to experience top movie entertainment. Hell, the rise of TikTok may have made people also less patient to sit through two hours of any work when they can be entertained for those same hours with a feast of smaller video bites.

Furiosa also, I fear, had too many expectations for a film series that for the most part was a cult thing. Yes, Fury Road and, before it, the original Mad Max and The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2) did well at the box office but the later two films were made with a minuscule budget and therefore made money quickly. Plus, there simply wasn’t anything like them. Fury Road came out decades after the last Mad Max film, Beyond Thunderdome, and benefited I feel from the element of surprise as well as having Charlize Theron -a usually bankable star- playing the lead along with Tom Hardy’s Max.

Thing is, Fury Road came out in 2015, nine years ago and maybe a movie featuring Theron’s character but not Theron in the film itself might have been a mistake. Making it a “prequel” might also have been a big mistake.

We kinda know where Furiosa -the character- wound up because of Fury Road. Was there really any big interest in finding out how she got there? Part of the problem about making prequels is that we know where certain characters will be. We know, for example, Furiosa will survive to appear in Fury Road so whatever dangers she faces in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga we know she’ll survive to fight again.

There’s one other element which has to be pointed out, too: While there are many who loved the film, I’ve also noted there were many who thought the film worked in spurts. They may feel the film is good but not as good as Fury Road.

Could word of mouth be hindering things as well?

Again, “nobody knows anything”. My opinions are just that and maybe I’m very off. Maybe there just aren’t that many people interested in seeing more movies set in the Mad Max universe.

I hope it doesn’t portend to darker realities regarding movie theaters and movie releases, but only time will tell.

Things, as I said before, have a way of changing over time, whether we like it or not.