by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Hugh Jackman as DROVER
Nicole Kidman as LADY SARAH ASHLEY
David Wenham as NEIL FLETCHER
Bryan Brown as KING CARNEY
Jack Thompson as KIPLING FLYNN
David Gulpilil as KING GEORGE
David Ngoombujarra as MAGARRI
Brandon Walters as NULLAH
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
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A widow named Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) inherits a failing cattle ranch in Australia at the dawn of World War II. After having a falling out with the man who has been running the ranch, she must convince a rugged cattle hand named Drover (Hugh Jackman) to help her drive her stock to Darwin so she can sell them and pay off her debts. What follows is an epic adventure on the Australian Outback, with Sarah and Drover trying to come together and find love while saving the Lost Generation of children when the Axis attacks Australia.
WHAT I LIKED
When this film came out in the theaters, it made a lot of news not because of its box office but rather for the drama that ensued surrounding the movie. Director Baz Luhrmann was under the gun to deliver a final cut, and he ended up releasing a movie that ran close to three hours. That kind of running time isnít unheard of, especially in the end of the year with award season at hand, but some complained the film ran too long.
Yes, it did. However, I was okay with this. I did get into the characters, and I enjoyed both Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in their roles. They definitely have chemistry, and they are easily two of the best looking actresses in the global cinema.
The best part of ďAustraliaĒ is the cinematography, which is epic on the big screen and probably looks fantastic on the BluRay. The action sequences with the Australian Outback as a backdrop make the film look gorgeous. Itís an epic story that was made, for better or for worse. Iím glad Iíve had a chance to experience it.
WHAT I DIDNíT LIKE
On one hand, I didnít mind the running time of this movie. After all, Iíd rather sit through ďAustraliaĒ again than through ridiculously long-winded ďThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button.Ē However, I see where this hurt the film.
The problem wasnít necessarily the running time but rather the fact the film was really two movies in one. The last hour or so of the movie could have been made into its own story as a sequel, but I have a feeling that Luhrmann didnít think heíd get one green-lit. If the movie would have ended at the 1:45 mark, it might have been better.
Finally, the biggest hurdle this film faces is the fact that it doesnít have a strong focus. On one hand, its the love story between Sarah and Drover. On the other hand, its the story of the Stolen Generation in Australia. And it even tries to have a story for Australia getting caught up in World War II. Unfortunately, Luhrmann tackled some very big subject matter, possibly too much to cram into one movie.
Sadly, the DVD only comes with two deleted scenes, not offering much in the bonus materials department.
WHOíS GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who loves an epic movie with an epic romance on an epic continent.