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Furiosa (Part 1)

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Just saw George Miller’s epic film, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.” Imagine Lawrence of Arabia and Ben Hur set in a lawless wasteland. Lots of thoughts, but here’s some first impressions.

In 1979 I saw the original “Mad Max” and was suitably impressed and puzzled at the same time. It seemed to be a kind of weird combination of “The Wild Ones” mixed with a mashup of American car chase movies—Bullitt, The French Connection, Vanishing Point, the original Gone In 60 Seconds, and The Seven Ups—but very Australian, very nihilistic, and laced with some very dark humor.

It was unlike anything I’d seen before, and I wanted more…

Then in 1981 came “The Road Warrior,” Miller’s first real masterpiece. Unlike his first movie, this one was dystopian: set in a hellish desert wasteland (the Australian Outback), he created an entire post-apocalyptic world. Human war had broken civilization into nomadic tribes, all fighting to survive.

I became somewhat obsessed.

Then, in 1985 came “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” and thirty years later, 2015’s “Fury Road,” which I’ll write about in another post.

I’m not engaging in hyperbole when I say that what he has achieved with this series is a staggering example of cinematic genius—this latest at the age of 79 no less.

The detail of world-building in these last two films is so dense, it will take at least three viewings to fully appreciate what he’s done. This is a movie that will be taught in film schools, and endlessly dissected by movie nerds for decades to come (assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out first).

Here’s the upshot: it’s not for everyone, but if you love film you owe it to yourself to see it on the big screen before it hits streaming.

And prepare to be amazed.