Monday, 5 October 2009

AUSTRALIA (2008)

Well, I've got nobody to blame but myself. Baz Luhrmann's film is a bit of a mess. No, let's be honest, it's a big mess. Luhrmann's style has always been, it seemed to me' to have no style at all and to just throw anything into the pot and see what happens. This undisciplined approach is the kiss of death to the epic subject matter of AUSTRALIA. That he veers from slapstick to romance to outback B-Western, from mystical to war movie might not have mattered if somehow he had made it all gel, but he doesn't. This failure is not helped by the fact that while overall the film looks absolutely gorgeous one is time and time again presented with quite dreadful blue screen work and some of the worst CGI sequences I've seen in a big budget film. The film is full of memorably awful scenes - the cattle stampede has to be one of the most ridiculous I've seen for a long time and Hugh Jackman's entry into the ballroom and the romantic scene that follows are groan inducing. The intercut clips from THE WIZARD OF OZ (not to mention a boatload of mixed-race Aborigine orphans singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") would seem to be the last desperate touch of a director bereft of originality and totally out of his depth. Can't help wondering what Peter Weir might have made of it. Nicole Kidman looks absolutely stunning, gives a totally undisciplined and two dimensional performance - which really sums up the whole film. Rating **

5 comments:

Terry Frost said...

I did warn people in the Paleo-Cinema Podcast about this movie... but sometimes you need to see for yourself.

Weaverman said...

So right you were Terry. I've been told I should have seen it in a cinema but I'm glad I didn't pay for the experience...a neighbour kindly loaned me her unwatched pirate (oops! did I really say that?) DVD which was of excellent quality. Damn clever these Chinese.

Cerpts said...

Now if those Chinese had only offered a free takeout meal with the DVD it might've been worth sitting through.

Ah, I thankfully took Terry Frost's warning to heart (or is that spleen) and never saw AUSTRALIA. But come now, can it really be as bad as VAN HELSING?!?!?

Weaverman said...

Yes, but you don't have to hate it as much.

Cerpts said...

This is true.