Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Start your engines.” Dementus (Chris Hemsworth)

One of the two best movies of this early summer and of the year, that’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. Co-writer/director George Miller has been here since the Mad Max inception, and while he has become an old man, his movies retain a young man’s enthusiasm for ingenious, robust shots, the emotion that parallels them, and the vison of a better world. He’s been compared to Sam Peckinpah and Charles Dickens, not bad company.

A prequel to 2015’s Fury Road, Furiosa takes its titular heroine (Anya Taylor-Joy) on her odyssey, 45 years after the collapse, from witnessing her mother’s execution at the hands of Dr. Dementus to her seeking outright revenge. Along the way are classic Miller chase scenes with souped-up trucks and nimble dirt bikes involved in getting dominance of the “wasteland” as this arid piece of Australian desert is called.

Beside the stunning visuals is an emotional subtext that dares to be different from most adventure films. Dementus as tyrant could depress anyone sensitive to current dictators, with the thought that no matter the apocalypse or its time, evil will out. As the dictator with a sardonic attitude and admiral verbal gifts, Dementus is a worthy bad guy, a substantial foe for Furiosa.

Despite the grimy, muscle-bound bad boys. oil-soaked machines, and arid “wasteland,” Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a song of hope for a better world to come while it struggles to preserve what is good about the Apocalypse. Furiosa herself bellows: “MY childhood, my mother, I want them back.” In the best superhero films, the goal is to reclaim family with a worthy life earning happiness.

George Miller continues to bellow his own vision that moves from chaos and evil to a better world like the cloistered “Abundance” that Furiosa seeks to reclaim. Not bad for a future that right now is dominated by dictatorial, self-centered, hedonistic leaders.

If we can fuel our machines, we will eventually seek a “newer world.”

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Director: George Miller (Mad Max, Happy Feet)

Screenplay: Miller, Nick Lathouris (Mad Max)

Cast: Anya-Taylor Joy (The Witch), Chris Hemsworth (Thor)

Run Time: 2h 28m

Rating: R

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts NPR’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics as well as podcasts Back Talk and Double Take (recently listed by Feedspot as two of the ten best NPR Movie Podcasts) out of WCBE 90.5 FM, Columbus, Ohio. Contact him at


John DeSando