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Australia poster

Action & Adventure and Drama movie directed by Baz Luhrmann

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An Epic Journey Down Under

  • Feb 17, 2009
Rating:
+5
I first saw AUSTRALIA last November on my birthday. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the movie, but I absolutely loved it and it made my list of top ten films of 2008.

Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie begins with a written introduction explaining the "Lost Generation" of Australians, children who were half-Aborigine and half-white that were taken away from their parents and raised by the government or private organizations. This is important because even though the film takes pieces from a variety of different genres: adventure, Western, comedy, action, war film, and romance, the movie revolves around one particular child of the Lost Generation, Nullah (Brandon Walters), and his search for identity.

Nullah's mother is a servant on the cattle ranch of Lord Ashley and his father is one of Lord Ashley's most trusted ranch hands, Neil Fletcher (David Wenham). Lady Sarah Ashley believes that her husband is sleeping with an Australian mistress and travels to the cattle ranch to confront her husband. Instead of confronting her husband with his infidelity, she instead is greeted by recent murder. She soon learns that her husband had been honest and was giving the ranching life a chance. The Ashley ranch was the only cattle operation on the continent that was keeping the tyrannical King Carney (Bryan Brown) from having a complete cattle monopoly on the continent. With the death of Lord Ashley it is assumed that the Carney will now win a prize government contract and squeeze the life out of any competition left. However, Lady Ashley isn't as frail as she seems and with the help of the nomadic Drover (Hugh Jackman) sets out to win the contract, save the ranch, and keep competition in the cattle trade alive and well on the continent down under. Of course, along the way she and Drover fall in love. And all through the journey Nullah is present as Lady Ashley becomes a mother to the orphaned boy and Drover becomes a father figure. But, that's not all either because in the background is the threat of war as Japan's empire grows and becomes hungry for world conquest.

AUSTRALIA is a beautiful film with some of the most gorgeous and spectacular cinematography seen in a film in 2008. The film brings Australia to life and despite the hardships that living there can bring, it's easy to see how people can fall in love with the place. There are a few cheesy moments (e.g. Hugh Jackman showering or Hugh Jackman's entrance into a party), but overall the acting is exceptional, especially Brandon Walters as Nullah and many of the secondary performers. Lady Ashley and Drover are leads next to Nullah, but it is Nullah and the cast of non-lead characters that dominate the film and make the movie from just being an overblown love story into a film about a national epic about the people of Australia.

AUSTRALIA was panned by the critics and though it did reasonable at the box office, it was in incredibly expensive film to make (it took about nine months of filming). However, everyone I've talked to that has seen the movie have really enjoyed it. It's a great movie that has just the right mix of everything, including a homage to THE WIZARD OF OZ. I'm sure that with the DVD release AUSTRALIA will become a hit and one of those movies that people will wonder why they never got to see it in theatres.

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More Australia (2008) reviews
review by . June 13, 2009
    Australia    Director: Baz Luhrmann  Screen writers: Baz Luhrmann, Stuart Beattie    Brief Synopsis:   MOULIN ROUGE's Baz Luhrman and Nicole Kidman reteam for this epic that pays homage to their homeland. In AUSTRALIA, Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman) is a prim and proper Englishwoman who journeys to Australia in the years before World War II reached the country's shores.  Rotten Tomatoes rating: 54% Fresh  Tania's …
review by . August 20, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Good old fashioned romantic adventure
There's a reason why classics are classics, and that's because they fulfill a basic human thirst for romance, adventure, the fellow getting the girl, and the good guys coming out on top. Nicole Kidman dares to be herself in this film, and turns in her best performance ever. As for Hugh Jackman, he couldn't be more appealing. The bad guys are bad, the good guys persevere, and Australia is the sort of movie they don't make anymore, but should. Great entertainment.
review by . July 05, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
This is the tale of two reviews, one by a film fanatic and another by his wife. One couldn't imagine how this thing could drag on for almost 3 hours (20 unforgiving minutes short of 3 hours), how in the world they can make a movie with so many continuity erros, and what was this epic drama? The other, its a gorgeous, romantic, epic, sad, movie.     The film fanatic first. The first few minutes almost got me. Voice over narration, a young boy telling a story in flashback. It is …
review by . April 16, 2009
"Australia" has been hyped for months as being Baz Luhrmann's big epic. The director of famous teen flicks like the Leonardo DiCaprio "Romeo + Juliet," "Australia" was said to be the film that would establish him as a great director. Even Oprah Winfrey called it the best film of the year, and one of the best she's seen in a long time. Of course, Oprah wouldn't know what the best film of the year is typically; she's too busy reading average books to care what's in the cineplexs. The movie stars Nicole …
review by . February 14, 2009
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) heads off Down Under to find out what her hubby is really doing when he says he's mustering cattle.   2. Kidman's performance is her best since Far and Away, and the cattle ranch Down Under is named Faraway Downs - coincidence or lingering sentiment?   3. Super hot Aussie all-rounder and hoofer Hugh Jackman heats up the screen as Drover, the Crocodile Dundee-type chappy who rounds …
review by . December 12, 2008
This will be short but passionate.    I saw AUSTRALIA today with my brother and his lovely girlfriend. IT WAS AMAZING! Baz Luhrmann is one of my favorite film makers anyway, but OMG this film is GORGEOUS. The land, the lighting, the costumes, the scene composition. And Hugh Jackman. There aren't enough words in any language to accurately convey his hotness.  He is my perfect man. OH GOOD GOD. My brother's lovely girlfriend and I kept whimpering when he was on scene. HOTNESS …
review by . December 11, 2008
 The story opens in 1939, in northern Australia, as Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) arrives from England to sell her huge cattle ranch. The neighboring cattle baron has killed her husband and scared off all of her workers except for one drover (Hugh Jackman) with whom she locks horns immediately. Sarah also meets Nullah, a half-white/half-aborigine orphan who is afraid of being captured by the police.     The movie tries hard to be an "epic" and certainly is sprawling …
review by . December 12, 2008
As a teenager, I very vividly remember going to see Moulin Rouge.  Even then, I was a budding film snob, but my adolescent heart was still fluttering with excitement, from the marketing, the music, the experience that it promised.  And boy did it deliver.  With Moulin Rouge, Baz Lurhmann put himself on my map (I know he was already on many others) and as such, I was truly looking forward to Australia, which reunited Luhrmann with Nicole Kidman and put her opposite the unfathomable …
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About this movie

Wiki

Watching the early reels ofAustralia, there's certainly no doubt who's in charge: this could only be a film by Baz Luhrmann, that wacky purveyor of all things over-the-top. In this old-fashioned, 165-minute hymn to his native continent, Luhrmann travels back to the late 1930s/early '40s, for a scenario that would not have been out of place at MGM in that era. Straightlaced Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) journeys Down Under and is put under the protection of--crikey--a rugged cattle driver known only as the Drover (Hugh Jackman). When the two are forced to team up (along with a motley crew of misfits) to take a herd of cattle through the hostile landscape, their way is challenged by the dastardly plans of the local beef baron (Bryan Brown) and his elaborately evil lieutenant (David Wenham). At some point you realize that this film's main commodity is not cattle, but corn: Luhrmann piles on the melodrama and the old-school climaxes with his usual frantic glee. Employing "When You Wish Upon a Star" and the Japanese air force to make his case is not beyond Luhrmann, and he reaches big here. Those with a taste for un-ironic silliness might just go for this stuff, but even fans of the Baz will have their patience tested by the broad comedy and the absence of discernable chemistry between Kidman and Jackman.Australiadoes manage to skewer the culture's prejudices against the Aboriginal people, but in this context such a victory comes across as rather...
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Details

Genre: Drama, War, Western
Release Date: 26 November 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: March 3, 2009
Runtime: 166 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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