George Miller Is Ruining Movies For Me

By Zack Zagranis | Published

I have a bone to pick with George Miller. Between Mad Max: Fury Road and now Furiosa, the guy is completely ruining the movie-going experience for me. No, I’m not the one edge lord who thought Fury Road was “mid” or anything, but quite the opposite. My problem is that Miller’s last couple of films were too good. Everything else looks like crap by comparison.

There Is A Such Thing As “Too Good”

When it comes to legacy sequels, nostalgia seems to be the driving force. If you’re lucky, you get a serviceable “Pepperidge Farm remembers” kind of movie like The Force Awakens. If you’re not lucky, you get something unwatchable like Zoolander 2. And yet, I continue to subject myself to these greatest hits remix movies because of George Miller.

What business did the Aussie director have coming back to a franchise he left 30 years ago, and not only making arguably the best movie in the series—The Road Warrior and Fury Road are seriously just about neck and neck for best Mad Max—but one of the greatest action movies of all time? Especially at 70 years old, and especially after decades of directing children’s films like Happy Feet? George Miller raised the sequel/soft reboot bar so high that every other legacy sequel can’t even see it.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Is No Fury Road

ghostbusters afterlife 2

I liked Ghostbusters: Afterlife. It was fine. Truthfully, I could have just skipped it and my life wouldn’t be any worse for it, but I didn’t. That little voice in the back of my head kept whispering, “What if it’s another Fury Road?” until I finally gave in and went to the theater. Spoiler: Afterlife was not another Fury Road.

George Miller Ruined Dial Of Destiny

harrison ford

When Indiana Jones and the Dial of Senility—sorry—Destiny came out, I actually stuck to my guns and didn’t go to see it in the theater. I didn’t intend to watch it on Disney + either. My plan was to go my whole life blissfully unaware of the creepy, de-aged Harrison Ford Disney got on loan from the Uncanny Valley.

Eventually, I caved, and thanks to George Miller, I had a really bad time watching Indy 5.

Had Fury Road not existed, I would have watched Dial of Destiny and thought, “meh.” I would have come to the conclusion that Dial, like The Force Awakens, was the best you could hope for in a legacy sequel. But Fury Road does exist, and thanks to stupid George Miller, I know how good a legacy sequel can be, and frankly, that knowledge ruins all the other legacy sequels for me.

Hollywood Branding Versus Sincere Storytelling

star wars

I have to accept that there will never be another Fury Road because Hollywood and George Miller have two different motivations. Hollywood sees a movie series as a brand, something they can squeeze revenue out of. The Force Awakens was made because a corporation blew $4 billion on one of the most recognizable IPs in existence and needed to start making some of that money back.

Fury Road was made because George Miller had a vision that took decades and gallons of blood, sweat, and tears to realize. He had a story to tell and didn’t include any callbacks to Thunderdome or Road Warrior because they weren’t part of that story. Miller, unlike Disney, doesn’t care if his audience sits up during his movies and starts to point at the screen like the Leonardo DiCaprio meme.

Furiosa Sets The Bar Even Higher

And now the mad lad has done it again with Furiosa. Now, instead of writing off every half-baked prequel I see being advertised, I’ll have to stop and think first, “Wait, what if it’s as good as Furiosa?” George Miller has no right to give me that kind of hope. No right at all.

George, I am personally begging you to make the next Mad Max a mediocre, generic action movie so I can stop judging every sequel, prequel, reboot, remake, and reimagining against your work. I just want to be able to enjoy the crap Hollywood keeps churning out for what it is, but I can’t.

Not when George Miller keeps showing me what it could be.