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Big and grand, but not the hit they were aiming for
Smells_Like_Cheese22 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I saw Australia back in December, so I'm a little rusty, forgive the late review. But looking back on this movie and just thinking about it really did help me in looking at the film and it's story. Australia was a movie that really tried to be the next Gone With The Wind for the millennium's audience. While it's a good movie, it definitely wasn't great and went way over the top. It's a little lengthy in the time and the writing was a little over done, BUT nevertheless it was still a good movie. It had terrific sets and was a beautiful setting, it felt like watching one of the old classic movies that made you feel good. Well, it was kinda like Titanic with the emotions, you were up, you were down, you were laughing, you were crying, well you get the idea. The story is a bit much, so I'm going to do the best I can to give you a decent summary.

In 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley travels from England to northern Australia to force her philandering husband to sell his faltering Australian cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover , called simply "Drover", to Darwin to transport her to Faraway Downs. Lady Sarah's husband, who has been working hard to sell 1500 head of cattle to the military, is murdered shortly before she arrives. Meanwhile, treacherous FD cattle station manager Neil Fletcher is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs, so that neighboring Lesley 'King' Carney can have a cattle monopoly in the Northern Territory, which will give him negotiating leverage with the Australian army. The childless Lady Sarah is captivated by the young boy Nullah, who was born to an Aboriginal mother and an unknown white father. When Nullah and his mother hide from the white authorities by entering a water tower, his mother drowns. Drover is friendly with the Aborigines, and therefore shunned by many of the other whites in the territory. Lady Sarah and Drover develop a romance, and she gains a new appreciation for the Australian territory. But Carney's men poison all the water sources along the cattle-drive route, so the group risks driving the cattle through the dangerous Never Never desert, which they accomplish with the help of "King George". Two years later, Drover and Lady Sarah have lived together with Nulla. But Drover, who has been quarreling with Lady Sarah and has gone droving apparently never to return, hears that she has been killed in the bombing of Darwin. Drover finds out about Nullah's abduction to Mission Island, and sets out with Magarri and Ivan to rescue Nullah and the other children from the island using a sailboat.

Whew, OK, I hope that summary is a good description of the movie since I haven't watched in a while, but I did the best I could. So in a quick sum up, the movie is worth the watch, for the background, it was worth watching in the theater. But you get the same effect if you watched it at home if you have a big screen TV and surround sound. Nicole and Hugh were a beautiful couple together, they did the best they could for such a lengthy story. But the chemistry was on and the movie did work, I think they just went a little too over the top on trying to make this movie into a classic or some kind of love fest for the Oscars. It's worth the watch, but I'd recommend just watching it at home, I don't think I can sit through a 3 hour movie again in the theaters, I'm really loosing my touch.

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Crikey! More Cheese than a Farmhouse Stilton.
isabelle19558 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I have no idea what to make of Australia. It can't possibly be a serious movie, right? It certainly starts as a camp comedy, then lurches into a clichéd action romance adventure, before descending into an attempt at World War Two melodrama and finishing with a dubious helping of Elgar over a rather uncomfortable attempt at serious social commentary. Elgar? I mean why? My dictionary defines a farrago as a confused mixture, a hodgepodge or medley. That sums up Australia perfectly, a farrago. It has no idea what it wants to be so it attempts to be everything to everyone and fails at almost all of it. You can only get away with this stuff if you are really clever and have a well honed sense of irony and your tongue kept firmly in your cheek. Australia is neither clever nor ironic enough, which is a pity, because I loved Moulin Rouge, but after watching The Man with One Noun, The Drover, send a band of wild horses galloping past the ranch house yet again for no discernible reason, I turned to my companion and said I thought Australia might be Bonanza meets Monty Python.

I'm sorry if this sounds cruel, but when this much money is thrown at a movie and it turns out to be this inadequate, I actually feel quite miffed. Had it cost $10M, it might be excusable. At $100M plus, it isn't. I never, ever thought I'd find myself saying this, but Nicole Kidman is probably the best thing in this film, and the reason for that is because Kidman is actually quite good on the camp level (see her in Moulin Rouge or Practical Magic) – I have a problem with her as a serious actress (The Hours, Margot at the Wedding.) Had director Baz Luhrmann stuck at the camp tongue in cheek genre, we'd all have been better off. Instead he gets serious and we get a script in which - especially in the second half - every other line of dialog is a grating cliché and competing story threads lead to superficial treatments of what could, taken individually, be quite interesting plots. I will say upfront that I don't blame any of the actors, I think they all did a reasonable job given the material. I get the feeling that Kidman, Jackman, Wenham et al all took a deep breath, tightened their belts, firmed their jaws and said "OK, we've been paid for this, let's give it our best shot." There's an enthusiastic "let's put on the show in the barn" feel to the acting. Or maybe it's me?

The (multiple) stories: there's an aristocratic woman arriving in an alien hot land to take control of a ranch which was her husband's purchase (think Out of Africa but without Meryl Streep). There's a cattle drive across the Outback (again heavily borrowed from Out of Africa) and the criminally wasted diversion into the desert to try and find water, which could, if handled properly, have led to some quite interesting drama. The heroine can't have children (O of A again) and takes up with an attractively roguish man (Robert Redford / Hugh Jackman) while taking on responsibility for the Kikuyu/Aboriginals who inhabit her land because unlike 99.99% of the other white colonizers, she has a conscience - surprise surprise. There are aerial shots of the Australian Outback – compare to the aerial shots of the Rift Valley in O of A - there's the pantomime villain Neil Fletcher played by David Wenham (apparently picking up where he left off in The Proposition playing an identical character, called Eden Fletcher – is there some significance to the name that a non Australian doesn't get?) then we lurch into the bombing of Darwin and the rescue of the lost children. If there are movie awards for plagiarism, Australia is in the running. It's an understatement to say it lacks originality.

It's also far, far too long, falling into a genre I'm beginning to call the 'Depends' movie, after the adult diapers required to sit through it - especially necessary when you realize that the only really acceptable way to watch Australia is after several drinks. Combine this with CGI which barely attempts to blend into the live action, an almost unbearably cute kid (Brandon Walters is heart melting) plus a cast which features every Australian actor who's graduated drama school since WW2, and what exactly is this movie supposed to be? Even as an advert for the Aussie tourist industry I doubt it works as well as The Proposition, which had better shots of dramatic Outback scenery. And how many visitors go to the Northern Territories to watch cattle droves? If Luhrmann really did edit this down from many more hours of film, then possibly he can re-issue a director's cut which works better. I see it working as a musical, along the lines of Moulin Rouge. The corn is certainly as high as a kangaroo's eye.

I went with a (female) friend who is a Hugh Jackman fan and I will, if cornered, admit to being a closet David Wenham groupie, so we were well primed to enjoy this, two girlies on a Friday night out - probably the target audience. But even Jackman taking his shirt off couldn't save it (and believe me, I've seen other movies where a Jackman shirt removal certainly did save the day.) I have no idea how much they paid David Wenham to make this, but it probably wasn't enough. It's not as bad as their other foray together, Van Helsing, but that's not saying much. And OK, the costumes were pretty. But the rest? Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear
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A 17 year old schoolgirl's opinion!
TheLittleSongbird12 July 2009
Australia was actually much better than I expected, after hearing some rather uncharitable things about it. Yes it is flawed, but you can't help think there are a lot of good things about it. Visually, Australia is absolutely striking, and captured beautifully on camera by Mandy Walker, the first five minutes especially. The music score is absolutely beautiful, and is careful not to overshadow the most dramatic of scenes, particularly the scenes with the cattle. I would also like to say, that despite talk of trouble between Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, both stars turn in very believable performances, and David Wenham is good as Neil Fletcher; though I had a problem with the way he died, I will confess I was expecting him seeing as he had a spear in his body to die quicker than he did. But Brandon Walters is simply brilliant as Nullah. At first, I was put off by the length, but the length wasn't actually the problem, as it is supposed to be an epic. One flaw I had with the movie, was that there is a fair amount going on, like the love affair, the moving of the cattle, even a couple of murders; the problem was I never quite understood what the film's main focus was supposed to be, though in the film's defence some scenes are very well developed, and raise a couple of tearjerkers. When I first heard the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow,this is in no way a criticism, but at first, I wasn't sure what the significance of the song was, then as the film progressed, it was like a communication of hope. I will say that my main problem with the film was the ending. The scene itself was beautifully shot and quite moving, but it was the music that bothered me. As much as I like Nimrod by Elgar; it is a beautiful piece that reduces me to tears, however the film is about Australia, so I wasn't sure why they decided to use a piece of music that is actually British, so was rather irrelevant to the film's context. Despite the flaws, I did like Australia, enjoyed is probably inappropriate for the film's genre, and me, my mum and dad were left streamy-eyed at the end of the film. 8/10 Bethany Cox.
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Tremendous Romantic Adventure - Forget The Cynics!
intelearts25 January 2009
Australia is a totally unashamedly romantic adventure film painted on a huge canvas.

We totally enjoyed every minute: it is what cinema can be - stirring, fun, involving - and made us forget the world for nearly three hours.

If Spielberg had made this (And it really looks like he could have) it would be called a masterpiece - Luhrman has done a fantastic job and if it needed reediting then they got it right.

It is fun, big fun, with a real sense of adventure and romance and we loved it.

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman are well supported by an excellent cast and produce great chemistry.

All in all in a sea of serious films this stands out as being tremendously good entertainment and a marvelous film.

We love it.
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Baz Luhrmann Stumbles Through This Sweeping Australian Love Story
jaredpahl29 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Australia is the kind of grand movie romance that defined classic Hollywood. It's got all the important ingredients: A pair of movie stars, exotic locales, and a heaping helping of melodrama. In the capable hands of Aussie director Baz Luhrmann, who knows a thing or two about movie love stories (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge), Australia had 'classic' written all over it. Maybe with expectations that high, Australia was bound to disappoint. In any case, Australia is certainly not all it can be.

Much like Gone With the Wind, Titanic, or Out of Africa, Australia is a romantic epic that tells the story of an upperclass woman who falls for a dashing rogue. And that's not where the story similarities stop. Australia also takes place in a unique natural landscape and it's set against an important historical event. Australia is not just similar in story construction to these Hollywood classics, it is a direct variation on them. I don't hold that against Australia. The formula obviously works, and if you can put a worthwhile spin on it, I'm all in. Australia has a distinct Aussie flavor, and it's commentary on Australia's Stolen Generation is something we haven't seen in mainstream Hollywood. The cast is made up of just about every major Australian actor working, with welcome turns by David Wenham, Bill Hunter and Ray Barrett to highlight a few . Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star, and they are exactly what they need to be. Kidman does her thing as the uptight English outsider, and Jackman was born to play the bushman with a heart of gold. There is almost nothing I can say against the structure of Australia. This exact story has been done before, and done very well.

As much as I hate to admit it, because I really like him as a filmmaker, Australia's problems start and end with Luhrmann. I suppose he must have had a passion for telling this story. He is Australian, and I'm sure he felt an obligation to do justice to the country's history, specifically the Stolen Generation, but you can't really see that passion on the screen. This is a sloppy piece of work. For starters, Luhrmann never quite finds the right tone for the story. The introductory scenes are kind of playful and more than a little humorous, but as the film moves along, the melodrama begins to take hold. It gives the film a jittery back and forth feeling, as if competing ideas of what type of movie this should be were all thrown in together, elbowing each other for space.

The bigger blunder from Luhrmann is the look of the movie. The Australian Outback is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It doesn't take much to translate that beauty to the screen. And while there are, by sheer volume, plenty of breathtaking vistas on display in Australia, there are far too many ugly ones. Luhrmann relies heavily on sound stages and CGI backgrounds. Digital enhancement is, of course, not a dealbreaker in itself, but the CGI here is so bad, pervasive, and needless that it almost does spoil the rest of the film. There is absolutely no need for this much CGI in a romantic Hollywood epic, especially CGI that looks like a PlayStation 2 game. There is a long, pivotal, cattle driving scene in the middle of the film, and I didn't believe that environment for one second. This is a production that is calling out for old-fashioned filmmaking, and Luhrmann it seems, doesn't have that in him. At least not fully. He tries to have his cake and eat it too when it comes to balancing the art-house elements he's famous for and the traditional elements the material calls for. The result is a movie that is not artsy enough to separate itself from its obvious inspirations, And not traditional enough to stand alongside them.

This is a movie stuck in, well, No Man's Land. Luhrmann wants Australia to be a grounded drama about Australian history but he also wants a magic realism tale about an aboriginal twilight. It is not impossible to do both, but Luhrmann only gives half his attention to each. I'm being hard on Australia only because I know it could have been great. The final product is not a bad movie. There is a surplus of ambition and conviction in both leading actors, Kidman and Jackman, and in Luhrmann as the director. This is a solid tale with enough admirable craftsmanship to get a pass from me, but given its potential, Australia is a major disappointment.

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Dreams be dreams
jpschapira13 January 2009
It seems just about right that Baz Luhrman waited seven years after "Moulin Rouge!" to bring us "Australia". Not because it is a better movie, but because it's very different and a lot more ambitious. Of course that this has a downside, and it's fair to say it as soon as possible: "Australia" is flawed and longer than it should be, and maybe (just maybe) one day it will be viewed as the dream come true of a man very much in love with cinema, and-let's not forget-with love.

We shouldn't forget that we're talking about Baz Luhrman, we should know what to expect sometimes. Therefore, if the beginning of this film disappoints you a bit, it's completely understandable. We meet a little boy named Nullah (the very promising Brandon Walters), who talks about races and unnamed countries, about a lady everyone calls Mrs. Boss and the road that got her to Australia and more specifically to a place called Faraway Downs in the company of a man they call the Drover.

Yes, it's all quite confusing, even more when Luhrman throws in a historical context that, I suspect, he doesn't really care much about. But everything is fine because we get to meet the stars of the show. Mrs. Boss is actually called Sarah and is played by Nicole Kidman with the same air and tone of voice she's been giving us the whole decade. Her job ends up being less risky than Hugh Jackman's, who plays this Drover as a successful combination of what he's been giving us since he came into the scene: the action hero, the tough guy, the romantic and sensitive lover and the sexy man who makes women scream.

Maybe I'm not being critical enough, but there's a scene in which the Drover appears dressed up in a suit, clean-shaven…I promise you that every women in the theater exhaled. Does this mean something to you? To me, it means that Luhrman's dream is a reality. Three hours of film and not getting tired one minute? Not feeling disgust when listening to cheesy phrases and watching excessively dramatic moments? "Australia" is pure melodrama, and I compliment its director for making it look that way without any shame. The keys can be seen all along the ride: the repetition of clichéd phrases, the intense close-ups, the slow-motion parts of the characters, the epic proportions of David Hirschfelder's score, the establishment of a song that accompanies the characters through their endless journey and the use of narration in places it didn't need to be; the same with some images.

However, the movie is one wonderful image after another (cinematographer Mandy Walker, from Australia-the country-; best of luck with the Oscar nomination you deserve), and it wins the audience like few movies out there these days can, providing delightful entertainment; you may discuss if it does this fairly, or if it cheats and it manipulates. You may also discuss the ambiguous ending.

One more thing. As with any dream, there's a moment in which we wake up; and that moment for Luhrman has to do with believing his picture could get to the race of Best Picture contenders, like his fantastic "Moulin Rouge!". But as I said, this movie is very different from the latter one, and Luhrman is no James Cameron…That one really had it the whole way.
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More Bazamataz!
asda-man18 July 2011
Baz creates another super enjoyable, visual spectacular! Although maybe not as good as "Romeo + Juliet" or "Moulin Rouge!" it certainly isn't much worse. "Australia" is a hugely enjoyable epic romantic adventure with plenty of exciting set pieces to keep you watching. I don't quite understand why nobody enjoys this? If Australia was made around the same time as "Gone With the Wind" I know that everybody would be drooling over it saying, "Oh it's the best film of all time!" Or whatever you call "Gone With the Wind" (I haven't seen it) because Baz has created a love-letter to those old epics and it's a welcome breath of fresh air to our screens.

At a hefty 3 hours long, I was expecting to find myself getting a bit bored along the way like parts in "Titanic" and even Peter Jackson's "King Kong" seemed to drag a wee bit at the start. However not once did I feel bored or restless during "Australia". This film isn't slow! It paces along beautifully, don't expect a high octane shoot-out because it's a romantic drama for God's sakes mammy! The screenplay (like all good epics) manages to make you laugh, manages to make you cry (no I didn't cry, but you might!) And it also manages to transport you on the journey with the characters. I found "Australia" absorbing and captivating.

The best part for me was the gorgeous cinematography. The whole film is magnificently shot, with some awe-inspiring scenery. Baz also shows off his incredible directing once again, one of the highlights being the exciting cattle herding across the desert. Baz injects that wonderful life into the film once again, as well as projecting a great story about a boy and his love for Nicole Kidman (no don't be silly!) And Hugh Jackman who sort of act as his surrogate parents. It's also about the love between Nicole And Hugh, although I think I would've liked to have seen better chemistry between them. It seemed like the hated each other at times when they were supposed to be madly in love! "Australia" also boasts a really evil villain! Almost on the same lines as Christoph Waltz in "Inglorious Basterds".

So with some great characters who we can care about, and also with some really exciting and beautifully shot scenes. "Australia" is another Baz masterpiece. It has all the ingredients for a superb epic romantic adventure. So why am I the only one who likes it?
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A massive helping of Terrible
fertilecelluloid1 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Australia is a big country with skies and deserts that go on forever. The film of the same name is a big pile of cinematic excrement that should not have even started, let alone been allowed to go on for as long as it does. Baz Luhrmann, possibly the most overrated director in the world, was given $180 million to create this overwrought, schmaltzy garbage starring ice queen Nicole Kidman and bland-as-batsh*t Hugh Jackman. Fancying himself as the reborn David Lean, he went for epic and got Epic Stinker. He throws in the Australian government's disgraceful treatment of its indigenous people, a romance, a cattle drive, the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese, and a subplot involving a little boy with parents of both colors. The result is a mess. The CGI of cattle racing towards their doom is completely unconvincing and the bombing of Darwin, which can only be described as 'Pearl Harbor Lite', is directed with spastic indecision. As a romance, it's a complete failure. As history, it's totally shallow. As social commentary, it's all surface. If Luhrmann is doing anything as a filmmaker (in addition to running his career with one ballet shoe firmly in the closet), he's channeling the spirit of the late, great Liberace with his over-the-top bonanzas of glitter, camp and intolerable clichés. Unlike Liberace, he doesn't know when to stop playing. "Australia", by any measure, is a massive helping of Terrible that would make even dear old Liberace nauseous.
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Uneven, hulking monster of a film
NonSequiturL25 January 2009
This film struggled throughout its epic length to stay upright. Unfortunately at the end it stumbled and fell like a pile of bricks.

It tried to juggle so much but in the end, it all turned out to be too little. The film starts like a corny slapstick comedy, turns into a romantic fantasy, then into an outback adventure, then into a war movie, a heartfelt drama, a comment on the stolen generation, a comment on racism... etc, etc. It's just too much. Yes, it's supposed to be an epic, but things like this need to be handled with finesse. Unfortunately, it isn't in this case. The themes were too muddled, the script too stretched - it's a mess. The characters are cardboard cutouts, the acting is over the top and cheesy, the pacing is off, the bizarre use of Somewhere Over the Rainbow... It's just a broken film.

Being an Australian, I did hope that this movie would be alright, but it turned out to be almost 3 hours of wankery that disgracefully cost our taxpayers over $40m.

On a more positive note, on the whole it wasn't BORING, and it was aesthetically and aurally pleasing - even though it made use of countless, shameless green screen shots which were simply unnecessary.

There was ONE great scene in the film, and that's when Hugh Jackman and his Aboriginal friend enter the ruined pub. That was absolutely excellent. Too bad the rest of the film couldn't live up to that in the slightest.
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Enjoyable Romantic Adventure
claudio_carvalho8 February 2009
In 1939, the aristocratic Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) travels from Great Britain to Australia to meet her husband Maitland Ashley in northern Australia. The husband's drover (Hugh Jackman) comes to the city of Darwin to bring Sarah to their farm; however, when they reach Faraway Downs Farm, they find that Maitland was murdered apparently by the aborigine King George (David Gulpilil). Sarah befriends the half-breed boy Nullah (Brandon Walters), who tells her that the administrator Neil Fletcher (David Wenham) is stealing her cattle; has killed her husband; and is working for the cattle baron King Carney (Bryan Brown). Sarah fires Fletcher and his men and together with Drover, Nullah and a group of loyal employees, they ride together to bring the cattle to supply the army and win a tender in times of war. But the ambitious Fletcher has other intentions and uses Nullah to press Sarah.

"Australia" is an enjoyable romantic adventure in times of war. The story is narrated by the storyteller Nullah and uses many historical events in Australia. For example, the lost generation was wonderfully depicted by Phillip Noyce in his "Rabbit-Proof Fence" and is brought back in this story. The movie has some moments of soap-opera, is too long but never boring. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Australia"
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Luhrmann's Grand Epic That Is Australia
Chrysanthepop9 March 2009
I have been looking forward to 'Australia' for a long time. Though the experience from 'Australia' isn't as magical as Baz Luhrmann's spectacular 'Moulin Rouge' nor is it as well executed (on the technical side), but I still found it very enjoyable. 'Australia' works on multiple levels. The film is a mixture of adventure, action, romance and detailed history (like in any larger than life epic movie). All of them are put well together in the film. Luhrmann's vast imagination and creativity is very evident in his portrayal of the aboriginal culture and how that's where the heart of Australia lies. To move the story further, Luhrman shows the conflict of the aboriginals with the Europeans and its chaotic result. The film introduces plenty of historical themes and serves as a thumbnail. Yet, Luhrmann does not shy away from experimenting with the magical side of his film. The main story itself is very formulaic but enjoy it like you would see a Hollywood blockbuster and roll along.

The Australian landscape is dazzling to look at. It's a country that has always fascinated me and arises my desire to go there and such movies only remind me of that feeling. Mandy Walker's cinematography is fantastic allowing landscape itself to serve as a key character (for obvious reasons). The lighting could have used some betterment, especially in the action scenes where they used blue screen filter (it was painfully obvious). I also felt that the CGI was overused and at times it does interfere with the natural beauty in the background. The soundtrack is awesome as its a mixture of spiritual beats and old classics.

At the centre of 'Australia' is an Aboriginal child of mixed race, Nullah, who is played by a likable Brandon Walters. Even though Walters doesn't exactly get it 'right' with scenes that demanded him to display complex emotions, he does very well with the comic scenes and does not go over the top by 'being cute'. A vivacious Nicole Kidman is absolutely marvelous as the strong-minded Sarah Ashley. She displays her knack for comedy, is superbly restrained in the emotional sequences and shares a wonderful chemistry with her co-stars. Hugh Jackman's Drover may have been inspired by Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones, Paul Hogan's Crocodile Dundee and the dozens of famous Clint Eastwood characters. Jackman pulls off the part quite naturally. He and Kidman are magic on screen. The supporting cast is commendable. I liked the actors who play the colourful characters at Ashley's ranch. Jack Thompson provides some brilliant comic relief. Bryan Brown has a strong presence in a limited role and David Wenham is menacing as the evil Fletcher.

Luhrmann's attempt to entertain and amuse the viewer seems genuine and the man has done a lot of research and enlightens the viewer of Australia history. Forget these 'Titanics' and 'Pearl Harbours'. 'Australia' reminds us of the time when people enjoyed grand movies such as 'Gone With The Wind' and 'The Wizard Of Oz'. Through the numerous references, this movie pays tribute to many of the classics that have made a place in the history of cinema. Yet, this enchanting movie stands on its own.
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Old-style epic romantic movie
Imdbidia22 February 2011
An entertaining romantic drama by Buz Luhrmann, old-Hollywood style.

The movie is set in the Northern Territory of Australia in the years previous to the involvement of Japan in the WW II, and tells the story of Sarah Ashley -an English lady who goes to Australia to try to get her husband back to England and ends becoming the head of their Australian cattle farm-, Drover -an independent free-spirited cattle and horse drover that works for her- and Nullah -a half-caste Aboriginal child who lives in the farm and struggles to live in a world in which he's alien to both blacks and whites.

This is one of those movies that you can say it is done as the movies of the golden era of Hollywood used to be - flashy wonderfully well-looking movie stars, great scenery and great studio settings, detailed recreation of the era's fashion, decoration, atmosphere, etc., , and a simple epic plot with a great love story. Australia has all of this, but also a little bit of corn, a thin plot, weak characters and flaws that are even more noticeable in a super-production like this.

The script is uneven and Manichean (with angels and demons) and mixes several movie genres (romantic comedy, romantic drama, war movie, western movie, and Aboriginal movie) with different degrees of success. The characters are descriptive and without emotional depth, and that affects the acting. However, I loved the depiction of the magic and wisdom of Aboriginal Australians, which is really well presented, with its magic beliefs and philosophical and environmental approach to the world. I think that part is truly genuine and real and reaches the viewer. I also loved that Lady Ashley's character is the one of a true modern woman, as she is a strong-willed free woman, a boss, the boss of her man, a woman who always leads, never submissive or afraid of being alone if she doesn't get what she wants. That's a post-modern woman, so rare to see in cinema nowadays.

The acting is unconvincing on the part of the leading actors. Hugh Jackman's performance is just OK in his role, while Nicole Kidman disappoints in the comic part of the movie, as she seems not to relax when she does so, but she warms up to her usual self when the story becomes more dramatic; she looks beautiful in this movie, like a 50s movie star, although those inflated siliconed lips were a distraction... Jackman and Kidman make a great couple, but their chemistry on camera was nothing memorable and you see yourself seeing two actors playing a couple, not a real couple on screen.

Most supporting actors are good in their roles, especially the Aboriginal ones, who really shine in this film. David Gulpilil is simply terrific, completely believable and inspired in his role of the Aboriginal Elder King George. Brandon Walters, despite his youth, offers a memorable performance, and his face really lights up the screen. Also great is the actor who plays Drove's Aboriginal pal, who also offers a solid performance. They are the ones who really give soul to the movie.

Despite what you might expect, the cinematography is poor. I was expecting the rare beauty of the Northern Territory to be captured by the always stylish and colorful Luhrmann. However, the part of the movie that happens during the dry season is completely opaque and colorless, ugly to watch, while the scenes happening during the rainy season are again limited in colors.To my disenchantment, many of the most colorful and beautiful scenes are digitally created or enhanced, while others seem to have been shot in big studios. Just the Mission island seems to convey that luxurious real feeling of the NT vegetation. Some of the most beautiful bits of the real land, the aerial vistas, look like if they had been taken for a documentary for National Geographic. Where is the emotional connection of the story with the land? In other words, the viewer doesn't go beyond what the eyes see. So, one wonders, why the movie was called Australia and why it was sold as a movie that captured the spirit of this country. To be honest, I thought that most scenes in the movie could have been shot anywhere in the world not in Australia.

The movie is a little too long. Most of the first half an hour could have been removed , condensed or presented in another way to give the non-Aboriginal characters more emotional background and depth. For example, we barely know why Neil Fletcher wants so badly Sarah's farm, and why he's so wicked in general but he loves a lovable sweet good- hearted woman. He is just an archetypal bad-guy, period.

Despite its flaws, I enjoyed the movie, especially the second hour and a half, and that heaven of a man that is Hugh Jackman. God Bless him and his holy body.
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A Pet Project With More Bark Than Bite
eric26200323 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Sure the making of "Australia" may sound like a personal project to Aussie born director Baz Luhrmann, but once the smoke clears, the film has more bark than bite. In other words it may have the adulation of the critics (including an Oscar nomination), but all that hype surmounts to a big pile of nothing.

Whether it be the appalling performances, the tedious ironies to the plot, and plenty of political correct references rubbed in our faces, "Australia" is a big, bloated epic drama that wants to give us something to reflect upon, but sadly comes up short. For a film that runs 2 hours and 45 minutes, it feels like it takes an eternity for it to be over. Luhrmann's efforts were to offer us an epic adventure, instead all we get is an overlong picture show. His shifts from intense drama to subtle comedy all gets intertwined together by a monotone insomnia induced narrative. From the first five minutes, "Australia" looks doomed from the starts, but instead of progressing, it wallows in there the whole time.

The worst habit that Luhrmann does in this film is that he pushes his audience into thinking this film is charged in emotion, but in reality it's all very stoic in its delivery. He wants us to embrace us the warmth that this movie has along with composer David Hirschfelder as the swooning violins will grant us that feel-good comfort. When there's the feeling of victory, the horn section is at full blast. There's even some awkward camera work as we see a character choking even before the camera focuses on them. With all the long scenes, there is never any kind of connections. It's too whimsical and outrageous to be taken seriously as what's expected of us. By way of contrast, too serious to be regarded as a comedy and just plays it way to safe to garner any kind of magical credit to it.

The fantasy side to this tale stems from an Aboriginal witch doctor who acts like a spiritual guide towards the principal characters located towards a nearby mountain. The most surreal element is that he's always omnipresent. No matter where the characters travel, he's never far behind. When in times of danger or precarious situation, he's around to cast an appropriate spell. When the cattle goes loose or the villains start shooting, surely the old shaman will make his presence known. It ends up becoming an enigma and soon this movies loses its touch.

The action emanates from the Northern part of the land from down under in the early days of second world war. Nicole Kidman stars as Lady Sarah Ashley, a posh Englishwoman who has inherited a cattle ranch in the Australian outback. Kidman embraces all the essential clichés we have seen numerous times in many period piece films. She's self-absorbed, snotty, walks like a stick stuffed up her ass and has little care for anything that's regarded lower class. She's a poster child for satire and to have this character as the leading character makes me question what Kidman was thinking when she agreed to this role.

Although this is where she called home, Kidman never looked so lost. And the worse case scenario is that Luhrmann just sit back and lets her be that way. Normally, Kidman is a bombshell in the films she's in, but here she's quite unattractive, even if she's blessed with royalty. Whether it be her appalling demeanour, her unappealing hairstyle or her disheveled clothing. Why did Luhrmann leaving her in this pile of spunk? Why couldn't he help her fix up her character a bit.

What makes it more puzzling is that he knew he was pairing her with fellow Aussie in Hugh Jackman who never looked better as an Aussie cowboy named Dover. Sure the actresses get a feeling of awe from the audience, but Jackman is the rare breed of male performers getting the awe from the crowd. His looks, appeal and charisma likely leaves his fans breathless, like the second coming of Jesus, if such an event should happen.

The principal action scenes of "Australia" is Sarah in her new role as cattle owner struggles to move the herd across the country, but can't do it. She hires the experienced rancher Dover who hates her at first because that's how all relationships in movies start off. Joining them on the escapade is a mixed-Aboriginal boy named Nullah (Brandon Walters) who serves as our narrator, even though he doesn't have the knack for it. Or these are the voices from the witch doctor who happens to be his grandfather.

Though I may be ranting a bit here, it's not a complete abomination. The technical aspects are quite impressive. The scenery is very picturesque. The visionary aspect is the best quality of the film. Luhrmann has the idea of creating "Australia" as a vibrant, colourful, frolicking country, but all that visual beauty wears out its welcome. The Aboriginals are looked upon as noble founders of this land and are not looked at as savages like many films before this. However, they're portrayed way too sympathetic almost to the point of them being treated like victims. And sure Luhrmann can give us the physical beauty of Australia, but never do we feel the beauty of this country.

In the end "Australia" is a very sad film. The artistic merit, the performances, and the story all had potential to be really good, but in the end it leads us into feeling cheated and unfulfilled and uninspired.
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Great film
haterofcrap7 December 2010
"Australia" is one of the greatest films ever made. It has everything that made great movies such as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago": An epic plot, great performances, and lots of beautiful and memorable scenes.

"Australia" is simply one of the greatest movie that I've ever saw, along with "Avatar" from James Cameron. I can't believe that such a great film like this received so many bad reviews, while horrible, and overrated films like "The Expendables" receive a lot of hype and praise.

"Australia" was a great film, filled with lots of emotions: It has romance, comedy, drama and excitement. It is easily one of the greatest films ever made, and definitely it deserves a lot of more appreciation.

I can't believe that this film wasn't nominated at the category for best picture...Now, that's unfair.
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A Feast For The Eyes & Heart
ccthemovieman-19 April 2009
This is great old-fashioned movie-making. I thought I was watching some epic film of the past: sweeping vistas, corny-but-nice tugs on our emotions, a real romance and good people doing the right things. Add to that spectacular photography, colors and direction and you have a very entertaining and rewarding film.

It never overstays its welcome, even at 165 minutes, with just the right mix of adventure, romance, drama and mystery.

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman fit like a glover for a romantic although, as usual in films, they fall for each other a little quicker than normal. This story is equally a romance and a racial one.

The latter comes into play with a "creamy," a child whose parents were black and white and so the kid has no identity (although he leads toward his Aborginal grandpa) Brandon Walters plays the boy, the center of attention in the film and every bit a star as Kidman and Jackman in here. He is "Nullah," who also narrates the film. He is a charmer; no question about that!

It's nice to see Bryan Brown again. For those who had forgotten, he was was "Rollie Tyler," the star of the very successful "F/X" movies, about 20 years. The last I had seen Brown was in a neat little film called "The Last Hit," a made-for-TV film in 1983. In 'Australian," Brown's character in another fascinating guy: "King Carney."

As wonderful as this old-fashioned tale is, perhaps the real stars are Director Baz Luhrmann and Cinematographer Mandy Walker. They will stun you with the visuals in this movie, start-to-finish, with both real and enhanced shots that are always eye-opening.
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jdesando25 November 2008
"In a way Australia is like Catholicism. The company is sometimes questionable and the landscape is grotesque. But you always come back." Thomas Keneally

It's a shame old-fashioned epics are out of fashion because Baz Luhrmann's Australia is one of the best ever, a down under Gone with the Wind and Giant. The identification with a time and place is effective as the film highlights the grandeur of an untamable land and the despair of World War II. The romance of history and adventure, so much a part of the Australian character, is present in every frame.

In 1939 Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) voyages from London to meet her husband and sell their large ranch in northern Australia. His death and the competition with the largest land owner, King Carney (Bryan Brown), over supplying cattle for the Australian Army's war effort propel the plot into the epic struggle of driving 2000 head of cattle to Darwin. But more than that very American Western cinematic motif, right to the chase to stop the cattle from being driven over a cliff, is the struggle to save the Aborigines from cultural extinction.

Drover (Hugh Jackman) is the embodiment of the competent and romantic Aussie, who also is driven to save the Aborigines symbolized in the form of young Nullah (Brandon Walters). Nullah frames the film's story without sentimentality but with the wisdom of one who has learned mightily from his experiences. (The idea of having one's "story" is as aboriginal as an American having an automobile.) Luhrmann neatly dovetails the parallel stories of family and survival through Sarah and Nullah. The real prize for this film must go to the cinematography with its full-screen sweep and robust movement. As he did in Moulin Rouge, Luhrmann creates visuals that draw the audience in and thrill them with innovation and vitality.

Comparisons will be made with GWTW, unfairly because the latter is the original and grandest of the screen epics. Australia lacks the ample characters (although it is great to see a seedy Jack Thompson again) and the awful grandeur of the Civil War (WWII does not play that powerful role in Australia), but it has its style and humor (the opening Coen Bros. Oh-Brother-style sequence is exciting and funny).

Australia is a majestic holiday feast best seen on the biggest screen you can find.
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A true epic
tastyworm26 November 2008
Baz Luhrmann has done a great job with 'Australia'. While cliché's and political agenda runs rife, this is set nicely into an historic, epic story in three distinct acts.

Great casting - Hugh Jackman was what the role needed, and he played the role very well. Nicole Kidman, while being rubbished by several critics, appeared somewhat typecast in her role, but that style was exactly what the role needed, and I think she did a great job at pulling it off. However, I think that the standout performances actually came from Brandon Walters (in his first film), Jack Thompson (in a minor role) and David Wenham who brought 'aussie sleaze' to a new level. Unfortunately, I had trouble believing in Ben Mendelsohn's character of Captain Dutton, but seemed to finish on a high, pulling the 'British stiff upper lip' thing fairly well.

Luhrman's epic was long, and had the full gamut of Luhrmanesque style, which we've come to love through his films. Stylised backgrounds, unique, visual approaches, and a sense of humour that is truly Luhrman, flood the film bringing a rich Australian environment.

'Australia' presents to the world, perhaps a very different Australia to what a lot of people think. While the fictional characters and some of the style is very reminiscent of "Gone with the Wind", the historical Darwin during the 'Stolen Generation' era and the impact of World War Two on Australia's doorstep may be a new insite to many.

I enjoyed 'Australia' a lot. While it wasn't the best film I've ever seen, I definitely think it's worth looking at - even if it's just to see what Baz Luhrman has done.
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After all of the publicity and the hype that preceded it, Baz Luhrmann's larger than life and highly entertaining epic, Australia, has finally arrived.
MattsMovieReviews19 November 2008
Here is a film that works on multiple levels; thrilling action adventure, detailed period piece, moving romance, stirring war movie, and it also continues the resurrection of the western.

As a result, the sum of its vast parts make for a long running film (165 min), yet every minute is filled to the brim with captivating detail.

What Luhrmann does well with Australia is tap into the majestic allure of the outback, and amplifies it. This is no surprise, since he is a master at approaching his material with a fantastical bent, creating truly memorable and often surreal sequences, which Australia provides plenty.

Aboriginal culture and its relationship with nature, in particular, have fuelled Luhrmann's imaginative vision. The heart and soul of Australia lies within the mythology and customs of Australia's indigenous people, and their often tumultuous relationship with European settlers.

This is made flesh in the form of young Nullah, a mixed race Aboriginal boy on the run from the authorities, who want to forcibly remove him from his home, and place him in a "civilised" environment. He is played by Brandon Walters, who is impressive in his debut performance.

With Nullah playing narrator, the viewer is introduced to Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), an English aristocrat who inherits her late husband's cattle station, which is located in the Northern Australian city of Darwin. Caught in a rivalry with fellow beef exporter King Carney (Bryan Brown), Lady Ashley enlists the services of The Drover (Hugh Jackman) to herd 1500 head of cattle in order to fulfil a contract with the Australian Army.

Both Kidman and Jackman – two exceptionally gifted actors who, with the help of Australia, have overcome recent rocky patches in their careers – provide noteworthy performances and believable on screen chemistry.

Tall, pale, and thin, Kidman plays regal very well, courting an in full force stiff upper lip, that gives way to several funny moments, while trying to break out of her icy exterior. Of particular mention is her vain attempt to herd cattle; and a woeful rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" to a clearly amused Walters.

Jackman, meanwhile, evokes Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, and Humphrey Bogart to fine effect as the no nonsense, hands on Drover, while also providing eye candy for female viewers.

Supporting roles are superbly fulfilled by top shelf Australian talent: Bryan Brown is effective yet given a disappointing limited amount of screen time; Jack Thompson seems to be gleefully enjoying his role as an alcoholic lawyer; and a scene stealing David Wenham is all evil smirks and nasty attitude as the films key villain.

Yet the most impressive character in Australia has to be its awe inspiring and vibrant landscape, which is captured magnificently by cinematographer Mandy Walker.

Unfortunately, the films use of artificial visual effects does clash with the natural beauty that the outback projects.

Australia is a film which clearly parades its influences on screen. References to The African Queen, Gone with the Wind, and Big Country are particularly notable.

Yet it is no mere carbon copy of the films from decades past. Rather, Australia is an enchanting throwback to an era of film-making which strived to entertain its audiences with dazzling spectacle and melodrama, coupled with a historical snapshot of circa early 1940s Darwin, and all of the beauty and ugliness that comes with it.
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Where do I book my ticket?
tieman6417 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Baz Luhrmann's "Australia" feels less like a film than it does an 80 million dollar tourist brochure. Backed by the ministry of tourism and touted by politicians as a means of fostering better race relations, the film itself became the figurehead of a 20 million dollar PR campaign ("see the film, visit the country!").

Like Sergei Bondarchuk's "War and Peace", a 700 million dollar Soviet produced propaganda flick which took seven years to film and is often regarded as the most expensive picture ever made, "Australia" assaults our eyes with money, beating us into submission with its digitally augmented cinematography and dizzying camera work.

But despite its razzle-dazzle, the film is strangely empty. It tells us very little about the real conditions of mid-century rural Australia, and is content to simply compress complex history down to a series of easy myths.

The plot: Nicole Kidman plays Lady Sarah Ashley, a wealthy English woman who inherits a failing cattle station in Australia. In order to save her ranch she must drive her 1500 head of cattle to a harbour in Darwin where they can be sold. Her competitor is King Carney, a rival station owner who is determined to sabotage her efforts.

As the film progresses, Ashley forms a bond with a cowboy called Drover (Hugh Jackman) and a "half caste" boy called Nullah. Nullah has to hide repeatedly from the white authorities who are determined to bring him into custody as part of the government's "stolen generations" child-removal policy. Late in the film Nullah is captured by the government and taken to an island church mission. While Japanese aircraft bomb Australia, Kidman and Drover – who frequently mentions his love for blacks and aborigines throughout the film – travel to the island and rescue Nullah. Afterwards they meet up with "King George", a mysterious traditional aboriginal figure who has appeared several times throughout the movie. Nullah goes "walkabout" (an aboriginal rights of passage) with King George, reunited with his people at last, the rift created by the stolen-generations policy metaphorically reconciled and healed. How sweet.

The film is peppered with silly details. Firstly, the Japanese never got troops anywhere near Australian soil. Secondly, by the 1930s Australia was dominated by foreign agribusinesses and not cattle. The film only uses cattle ranching as an excuse to steal iconography from Hollywood Westerns, specifically 1930s John Ford cowboy picture. Thirdly, the film is filled with characters who actively oppose the race relations of the time. Most of the cast opposes segregation and fights against the eugenics-inspired attitudes that dictated the child-removal policies. With all these white people treating aboriginal people as full equals, it makes you wonder how there was ever any racism in the first place.

In reality, most Australians at the time were ordinary people who had no real reason to question the explicit racism bound up in the notion of Australia as a representative of the Empire and Commonwealth (Australia only achieved full independence in 1986). Like the indentured workers who were brought over from India by the British Empire and set to work in the West Indies tending to cane and cocoa plantations, most of Australia's aboriginal people of the time were shuttled into church-run missions, or were working on farms as indentured servants. They weren't paid, they had no legal citizenship and were forbidden by law to leave the properties of their masters without permission.

The point is, it would have been impossible for a cattle rancher like Lady Ashley to exist without subscribing to a set of relations and ideas that assumed a natural superiority of white over black. The "child removal policy" was itself derived not from the one-dimensional cruelty that Luhrmann's film evokes, but from a mixture of science, pity and a presumption that this was all necessary for the "survival of Australia".

But this complex mix of contradictory attitudes can be found nowhere in the film. Instead, Luhrmann's film is a giant cartoon. Watch how he makes the leading anti-racist figure a British woman, and the most explicitly racist character an Eastern European pub owner ("it wasn't us, it was those damn racist Europeans!"). This is all done to bolster an odd hierarchy of decency, Lady Sarah being the only one of sufficiently aristocratic character to be above baser attitudes, Australia's moral righteousness and civility inherited from the very Empire that caused her problems. The film's aim is to thus remove all guilt from the average Australian and place it upon both some shady European Other and upon the backs of evil businessmen like King Carney. But in the real world, such "evil policies" are far more banal and infectious, permeating into all areas of society to such an extent that they are readily accepted as being the norm.

Ignoring the politics of the film, "Australia" still shows us nothing new about the country. Instead it simply recycles tourist images we're already familiar with: righteous and wise aboriginal people, kangaroos, red rock mountains, beer and curse-word loving locals, travelogue landscape shots, Steve Irwinisms and so on.

And of course Australia's aboriginal people, like the Native Americans of Hollywood Westerns, continue to be treated as wise, noble and mystical characters. No attempt is ever made to give them a voice or treat them as real human beings. This seems to be the norm: subjugate a race and then guiltily make up for it by treating them as saintly beings in possession of a righteous, mystical Otherness. It's all corny.

7/10 – A fun film which steals much of its style from Douglas Sirk's melodramas and glossy Technicolors like "Gone With The Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz". But behind the gloss is a film as dumb as "Crocodile Dundee", another stupid Australian export.

Worth one viewing.
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Quite fun epic-pastiche but doesn't quite work even if it is easy to be caught up in the sweep of it all
bob the moo31 January 2009
Australia came out between Christmas and New Year in the UK and this was quite befitting it as this is the time when the television usually has those fluffy but expensive specials and epic productions clogging it up, all with the excuse of being perfect "doze in front of the telly" stuff for the wake of eating too much. I say this fits Australia because in truth much of Baz Luhrmann's film could be accused of being just that – bloated, silly, sweeping, moving, engaging but ultimately quite light in the substance department. Our story is an traditional "epic" romance in the mould of many old films where the rough hero and the cut-glass woman fall for one another against a backdrop of cattle drives and war. If alarm bells are ringing for you then they were for me as well, since this concept reminded me a bit of Pearl Harbour – that terribly wooden affair that dragged on far too long to be able to cover the problems with big explosions.

The good news is that Australia is better than Pearl Harbour. The bad news is that it still isn't a fantastic film so much as it is the type of film that one likes despite it all, not because of it. The film wears its epic feel like a big coat and it covers it completely to the point that there is no denying the ambition of Luhrmann. We get massive spectacle, sweeping emotion, ethnic mysticism and constant unreal cinematography that makes the whole thing look gorgeous to the point of being unreal. In this regard the film works because there is a lot going on and, despite one's reservations, it feels like we are watching this epic film that is important and emotional and creative. The truth is perhaps a little less impressive because the mix of the epic and the fanciful doesn't come off for Luhrmann as well as it has in other films. Here one rather affects the other and the "big real story" sits uncomfortably with "unlikely sweeping narrative gestures" and "mystical power of the Aborigine". To some this will be just part of the magic of the film but for me it got a bit tiresome and felt like too much had been thrown into the pot.

That said, it somehow does work and generally I got caught up in the sweep and majesty of the whole thing – caring about the characters, touched by the slight magic in the story and the delivery. Although they don't mix that well, the camp style is woven into some aspects to prevent it becoming dry, unlikely and wooden in the way that it did in Pearl Harbour. The direction and cinematography drive this but the cast help. Jackman is not "great" in traditional terms but his beefy, chiselled frame plays well to the broad matinée idol type that he must deliver as. By contrast Kidman doesn't quite pull it off. Sure she is convincingly dry and uptight at the start but she doesn't loosen in a way that works that well. Walters is a bit too sickly cute for my liking but within the context of Luhrmann's world, he just about works even if he was a bit too front and centre within the film. Brown is a nice find in support and generally everyone is OK for what is required.

It is too long and it does have far too much in there for its own good but it just about works. I can understand why some hate it and some love it because it is that type of film but, for all its flaws (and it does have them), the big colourful, emotional sweep of it all is hard to resist. I'll admit that I would be unlikely to watch it again until it comes to TV for free in about 5 years but it has its charm and although it is not perfect I did think it was quite a good film and one that is typically Luhrmann in creation.
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Australia surpasses hype with unexpected magic
MovieZoo28 November 2008
If you are thinking this movie is just another so-called epic and the performances are more of the same from familiar faces, you cannot possibly be ready for what you will witness when you see this truly exceptional wonder.

I was drawn to Australia purely on fair expectations of Kidman and Jackman doing their cowboy stuff, thinking I will possibly see something reminiscent of Gone With the Wind. I found myself glued to a spell-binding splendor on screen that cinema has sorely needed for so many years.

Both Kidman and Jackman seemed to equally put as much as is possible into their parts. She was truly funny and yet serious as her character demanded. She has never been any better in anything I have seen(that does not include Far and AWay because I have not seen it). He, too, was funny and yet every bit as hard and serious as you would hope a man in his position would be. Both have their weak moments that drew more than a few tears from me.

Baz showed how great a story teller he is by using all the hooks he can think of. Magic, music, love, memories, anger, fear, hate, awe and hope fill this movie as much as the natural beauty of Australia fills the screen. Don't think for one moment there was no soft imaging or CGI because there was when it was needed. Oh, and thanks for not letting Nicole sing the whole song. That was a wise choice. I think her voice is fine, I just think "that" song was not meant to be sung by anyone in the movie.

Thank you, Baz, for such a memorable work of art. You and your creation get a 9 from me.
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Agonizing Mess
pc957 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
After a decent general overall rating from IMDb, I thought I'd take a plunge and go see this movie without reading some screening reviews. What a monumental mistake. Where to begin....First and foremost the director failed miserably - the movie rings phony, fake, and flat all at once while at an excruciating pace - I tried to fall asleep but the bass was maxed out in the theater. You can tell the director is wholly self-satisfied with what is a mess - I guess this is what happens when a director goes awry. Besides the pacing, there was awful, awful, awful wanton rip-offs of the Wizard of Oz in score and visuals. I mean, Jeezus, get your own music/movie for gawd's sake. The romance is forced and pathetically pandering, the boy actor also forced upon us as a gimmick and obvious plot device.... just ughhhhh! I'd thought No Country for Old Men was bad - at least it ended. This movie is confused vapid junk with cameras saying look at our beloved beautiful stars and romance without inciting or deserving any shred of emotions. I wanted to walk out but my wife was with me. She later agreed I should have. Be warned if you dare to watch it at least make it at home with a fast-forward button. It had to be the single worst in-cinema movie I've ever seen - there's a lesson in that...
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Dances with Kangaroos
rsternesq30 November 2008
Where is Kevin Costner when you need him? The movie that this politically correct mish-mash of a mess most resembles is Dances with Wolves because in both actual history has been sacrificed in order to preach some sort of alternate theory in which civilization -- and its discontents -- is the villain in a world of happy mystical natives. The plot is one dimensional and the acting wooden. However, the fake history is quite imaginative. Indeed, there is little doubt that the authors would have been even happier if they had been able to portray the bombing of Australia as something of an American conspiracy and merely a defensive response by the Imperial Japanese. Oh well, perhaps next time that can be the storyline if education continues its relentless march toward misinformation. Dumb would be a compliment to all concerned.
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I hate to say it, but I liked it more than Benjamin Button.
Sirus_the_Virus25 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Alright world you can disagree with me. But Baz Luhrman's Australia is a better movie than Benjamin Button. Now I just wrote a review for this movie, and it wiped everything away. So, I am going to make this nice and short.

The performances from Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman are good. The scenery in the film is beautiful. I'll admit that some of the plot elements, like the one including Nullah(Brandon Waters), are kind of wobbly. And don't really add up to that much. The film gets kind of intense there in the last half hour or so. THere is the bombing of Darwin, and then there is a revenge type scene featuring the villain Mr. Fletcher(played by David Wenham). Wenham does well as the villain.

Everyone in the film does well. I am curious as to why Nicole Kidman an Australian actress, is playing a brit in a film about Australia. Just a little curious. Director Baz Lurhman, who has done films such as Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet, tries to make his Australian "Gone with the wind". That he does.

I'll admit that the film has a couple of flaws. Only a couple. It shouldn't have been hated like it was. I'll also admit that the length is a bit too long. But I didn't mind. This film is funny at times, Romantic, dramatic, and that is really it. If you haven't seen it, then I think you should. It's probably the most underrated work of 2008. I think Benjamin Button was the most overrated work of last year. Australia, I think, was better.

Australia:***1/2 out of ****
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What a glorious and entertaining journey to Australia
screenwriter-1427 November 2008
Australia is the big film an audience has been waiting for that ties in such a tremendous story and characters that rivet you from the opening scene to the very last moving frame. Nicole Kidman back in a film that brings out her lustrous beauty and talents. Hugh Jackman as the Drover is a perfect fit for Kidman and their chemistry jumps off the screen. The locations, sets and of course the action scenes of the cattle drive will capture your attention in an amazing production. Baz Luhrmann will no doubt be nominated for Oscar, and with Australia, as in MOULIN ROUGE, Luhrman brings you drama and romance and footage of a nation that is just waiting to be visited.

My first time "down under" was the gorgeous Japanese STORY with a love story and travels through Australia with Toni Collette that still haunt me even today. Luhrmann brings that haunting beauty of cinematography and shots that will live in memory for a long time. Bringing the World War II scenes of the Japanese attack in Darwin ties in with the love story, as well as the theme of segregation of people of color in that nation. I look forward to watching how many kudos awards the film will garner in the upcoming weeks. Australia is a big, emotional and sensational film of character and story.
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