George Miller's magic can't be replicated, he created a cult classic in the form of 'Furiosa'

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
9 Min Read

Mad Max was released in 1979 but I saw it in the theatres in 1987 – I was a student of Class 11 then. It was a revenge story with a very simple plot – just like Charles Bronson's Death Wish released in the 70s, where a lone man with a gun in his hand sets out to take revenge on those responsible for the death of his loved ones, family members. But what made Mad Max special was the fast-paced chase scenes and action sequences that looked almost real.

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This was George Miller's film debut.

The film was made in a way that there was no language barrier, the emphasis was on visuals and action rather than dialogue. And this was a quality that Miller kept improving in every new film in the franchise. I wrote notes about this film in a diary after watching it. Especially the scene of the bird flying across the screen, Mel Gibson with a blank face and the chaos in the jungle were imprinted in my mind. It was an experimental film, but it was very successful. This 'Australian New Wave' with very little dialogue grossed US $ 100 million worldwide.

After this, within a year or so, we saw 'Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior'. Despite its freshness and uniqueness, this sequel left the previous 'Mad Max' far behind. Those who watched 'Mad Max' could only guess the time and place. The director tells us that the story we are going to see is happening in the near future. Here, based on the global oil crisis of 1973, Miller had imagined a horrific future where the oil crisis is deepening after the war, social values, law and political system have collapsed.

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'Mad Max 2' included in list of greatest action movies of all time

But when 'Mad Max 2' was released in 1981, George Miller showed amazing imagination in its opening scene itself. For about 2 minutes 45 seconds, we are told in a 35 mm news reel how after the world war, there was a huge shortage of oil in the world and ecological destruction. The civilization that humanity was proud of was destroyed and the world became barbaric. The director takes us to the scorched world after the world war by holding our hands. After the news reel ends, suddenly the screen changes from 35 to 70 mm and a car with a loud turbo engine is seen running on deserted roads. It was an amazing film. Superb camera work, excellent action scenes, chase sequences, dress design, strange cars and fast-paced action, which does not let you take your eyes off the screen even for a minute. This film of George Miller later influenced dystopian films made all over the world. No wonder it has been placed in the list of all-time great action films.

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'Fury Road' became a milestone in filmmaking

This was the first dystopian film I saw. It still has an impact on me. The way of telling a story in which not only events and characters but also the atmosphere, setting and plot play an important role was really unique. After this comes 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome', released in 1985. I have not been able to see this film till now. Its budget was more than the previous two films, but the earnings were less than both of them. Despite this, Miller's work was praised everywhere. When I saw 'Babe: Pig in the City', George Miller's style gradually became clear. He had turned a fairy tale-like story into a dark-tragic drama, many sequences of this film are also very brilliant. This trilogy raised a lot of hopes and apprehensions about 'Mad Max: Fury Road' coming in the year 2015. Especially because by then Miller had crossed 70. Despite this, he once again made a great action film. 'Fury Road' once again set new dimensions in filmmaking.


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Miller performed some experiments that had never been done before

Instead of writing a screenplay for this film, he prepared a storyboard of about three and a half thousand panels. That is, drawings were made for almost every shot of the film. He prepared a very detailed story. Very little CGI was used in the film and the elderly director filmed the action scenes with complete reality. When all these scenes reached the editing table, about 480 hours of footage was ready. Anyway, the film's editor Margaret Sixel also received an Academy Award for her hard work in making this 120-minute film.

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'Furiosa' is amazing, Anya Taylor-Joy shines

Like every Mad Max film, this too had very few dialogues. When 'Mad Max: Fury Road' was being made, the background of another film was also being prepared, that was 'Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga'. Actually, Furiosa, the character played by Charlize Theron in Fury Road, caught everyone's attention. After James Cameron's 'Aliens', perhaps such a strong female character was seen in a futuristic film. George Miller's 'Furiosa' was released on May 23. This film is closer to poetry than drama. 'Furiosa' is a slow revenge film. It is the story of a little girl transforming into a young girl burning with the fire of revenge. Anya Taylor-Joy, who became famous with the web series 'The Queen's Gambit', draws attention in the role of young Furiosa with her silent face, agile body language and expressive eyes.


The girl is kidnapped as a child and her brave mother (played by Australian model Charlie Fraser) is killed. The rest of the story is how Furiosa takes her revenge by surviving the scorching desert and the violent mob.
The Mad Max series not only depicts a horrific future, but also shows how ecological destruction will destroy human civilization and culture – something we are so proud of. While the first three films in the franchise were about oil, economy and law, in the next two films it also touches upon drinking water and gender. Oil, water and women become objects of exchange. They are used as products in this devastated future world.

Every Film in the 'Mad Max' Franchise Is a Cult Classic

Despite this, Miller holds on to hope and creates a strong female character in Furiosa, a thin girl with long hair cut short by a blade and her forehead blackened with engine oil, reminiscent of the 'cool action hero' played by Mel Gibson in the seventies.
Miller has created a parallel world through 'Mad Max'. The fear that Miller weaved into a fictional story in the first film 45 years ago has now become a reality. Every film in Miller's 'Mad Max' franchise has become a cult classic. It can never be repeated. It will be watched again and again, its energy will never get old. Be it 1979's 'Mad Max' or 2024's 'Furiosa'.

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