Furiosa, George Miller’s box office failure

Furiosa, George Miller’s box office failure
Furiosa, George Miller’s box office failure

Reaching the middle of the year, the specter of box office failure becomes increasingly present: It will be a bad year for Hollywood. “Furious: From the Max Mad Saga” It premiered with the worst box office of the year. Memorial Day (Holiday in the United States) in three decades. “Garfield”, “Planet of the Apes” and “Imaginary Friends” They are crashing rapidly and it seems that the box office hits will not make an appearance in 2024. Hollywood has a problem.

Although we must be fair with George Miller. No movie Mad Max has had a phenomenal release in theaters. The Australian has raised more with Happy Feet than with crazy violent cars. Despite this, the Mad Max saga has become a cult story, from that experimental motorcycle gang film in 1979 to the dizzying and frenetic Fury Road in 2015. The Mad Max universe is expanded with Furiosa, the spin-off. off character Charlize Theron.

The first thing is that it is impossible not to ignore Mad Max: Fury Road when reviewing Furiosa. The 2015 film is the best action film of the century and the impression it made on viewers is hardly comparable in recent times. A feast of action, lack of control and excesses choreographed in a highly stylized way. An action ballet, as if Boris Asafiev had added electric guitars that shoot flames from his necks.

Miller smartly changes the tone for Furiosa. The film is not a constant chase, it is a revenge story separated by chapters. The origins of Imperator Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) are told through constant ellipses. Taylor-Joy embraces the character and plays one of her best roles so far, in complete harmony with Tom Burke, who would be the Max of this film, and with the villain Warlord Dementus, played by Chris Hemsworth.

Here appears what could be the first conflict of the film. Hemsworth’s character is extremely curious and conflicted. He is unpleasant and akin to almost pornographic violence, but he is also loaded with very strong black humor, confirming Hemsworth’s ease in creating humor. In X, he read a user who said that you could replace Dementus’ minions with Muppets and the movie would not change anything. And there is some truth in that premise, the villain (as opposed to Immortal Joe) seems to be a parody villain, a gore overexploitation of a Fury Road baddie. Me? I think it’s phenomenal.

The film starts at several kilometers per hour, with the engine at its limit, a fascinating beginning and with a tremendous staging, but as the two and a half hours of film go by, the story slows down and reduces speeds, to accelerate again later. It is these changes of pace that give the story an erratic character. Closer to the pace of the first two films, Furiosa drives between different peaks of tension and action.

But Furiosa’s big mistake is excessive digital work. Miller, between Fury Road and Furiosa, made “Three Thousand Years Waiting for You”, a kind of fable close to One Thousand and One Nights. In this story, Miller experimented wildly with the use of CGI and computers. I think for convenience he decides to replicate several of those technologies in Furiosa (unlike Fury Road, which was filmed in the desert in a more practical way). At times, Furiosa looks ugly from the front.

Why then does a good film, by one of the best living directors, with two great and well-known actors, fail spectacularly at the box office? There are many reasons, the terrible marketing strategy to sell the film or the mixed reviews it received at Cannes. Impossible to ignore the damage caused by streaming services. If “Furiosa” is coming to Max in another month, why go to the movies? Movie theaters are experiencing a bad season and given the reactionary inability of the studios, it will be the fans who will have to save the experience of watching a movie.

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