February 15, 2009

Australia: You can separate this into parts

Starring Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman
Directed by Baz Luhrmann

The latest film by lauded director Baz Luhrmann, Australia is a stylish epic that involves a woman from London named Sarah Ashley whose husband was killed on the outback of Australia. She inherits his cattle farm and tries to get it back to its former glory which will be a challenge especially against the big Carvey Cattle Company. Fortunately "Mr. Rover" and an indigenous child named Nala appear and help Sarah to achieve that goal. Yet, this is during a time of war- the second World War- so the people have to be wary of the Japanese.

Back then, I thought that this was gonna be the epic that'll sweep audiences off their feet, but after watching it, I left it feeling rather exhausted. Why? Because the film is exceptional! Exceptionally long!

You could say that the epic tries to be a hybrid of several genres and social topics- but they end up seemingly more like a ruffled hodgepodge of pressing issues of social discrimination, revenge, cattle and some romance shoehorned somewhere. The way how they are tackled don't seem very seamless, in fact it's like they unfold in a queue! Hell, some scenes feel as if they don't belong to the whole damn movie (we could've done fine without the journey to the Australian port and the 15000 cattle; maybe a montage would suffice).

After reading reviews when it first came out, I now had the impression that this movie was gonna be really corny. And while I can't say that it wasn't, I can't really say that it's super sappy either. There are streaks of brilliance (the incorporation of the ever-famous Wizard of Oz song 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow, personally) showing in this mostly aesthetically-pleasing film, but meh, the sequences that follow turn out to be either overlong or just plain predictable. 

***2 EXAMPLES***
"Let's look at that indestructible indigenous grandpa first so we can see the effects of discrimination of the whites! Oh yeah, zoom in on that shot. Closer... closer... a few more seconds... and cut!"

Lady Ashley: "You're fired!"
Fletcher: "I HAB MAY REE-VENJ!"
Drover: "Crikey!"

Additionally, the influence of music in this movie makes me feel like I'm watching Pocahontas: Her Australian Brother. All it needs is for the wind to have color.

It's just long, seriously. I can count 3-5 moments when I thought that the movie was about to end! It feels as if the whole movie could easily have been divided into 3 parts or something! I mean, the way the story's movie unfolds literally feels like chapters in a book- in a bad way. It's like I'd rather read a junioralization of this than watch it again.

That's not to say it's bad, if I'm misleading you. It's just that you need plenty of time to spare to be able to get into the swing of things. It's kinda predictable too, but I wouldn't think many would mind it all that much. Bottom line, it's just OK.

Rating: 6.7/10

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