Movie Title: Australia
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Date Released: November 26th, 2008
Date Seen: Around when it first came out, again on May 12th, 2013
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
This movie still has the typical Baz Luhrmann flair to it, of the bright colors, contrasts, lots of zooming in and out of the landscape, and strange looking period scenes. However, it’s not as dominant as in other Luhrmann films, because it really can’t be as flashy as his normal style, due to the story matter. I’m quite alright with that. The movie has a definite first half and a second half. Ie it seems to go through one conflict and resolution into another conflict and resolution. The second half (obviously) builds off the first half, and is more an intense, but you could stop watching about halfway through and feel decent. But keep watching because it gets even better and takes an even more serious turn. It follows Lady Ashley (Nicole Kidman) and her cattle holdings in Australia. We also deal with the effects of WWII
Lady Ashley does get a few good kicks in ass that jolt her into reality real fast. You really come to like her, despite her initial holier-than-though attitude. The movie is really good about giving the viewer kicks in the asses as well – it will go from a completely fun, amusing moment to something super serious or intense to watch.
Some scenes are hard to watch – especially the second half. They’re just so upsetting and sad that you will get really emotional real fast. You do get to see unexpected people change their set in stone ways, about racial issues, womens rights, etc., and step up to the plate. It’s pretty awesome. But still, most of these scenes in the second half are super tear jerky.
I do say, if you do not like the Wizard of Oz, don’t watch this movie. There are SO many references to it, both obviously, subtley, and you hear the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in nearly every single possible form… the movie, a surprise rendition by Nicole Kidman, a harmonica, whistling, a small boys choir, etc. So you better like that song.
The kid in the movie, Nullah (Brandon Walters) is the most adorable little kid ever. He has these really beautiful big dark eyes and the most adorable features, so he fits the role of the “creamy” (half white, half aboriginal) kid very well. He also does a great job acting the part, considering he was only 10 – 11 when they filmed it. Good job. The other actors are good too, pretty much what you expect. I love David Wenham, who plays Neil Fletcher, the “bad” guy. He is super awesome. I did manage to get the image of him as Faramir out of my head, so that helped.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There’s a good synopsis here.
Some scenes are hilariously over the top, such as the scene with the Drover driving Lady Ashley to Faraway Downs, and the guys shooting the kangaroo, and putting it on the roof. Then right after that her watching him wash himself in the most perfect Hercules pose ever.
Does anyone else feel like Lady Ashley could have totally taken the priest taking Nullah? As in, beat the living crap out of him. Yeah yeah there was all those military men around and the sheriff, but they seem the not-hit-a-woman type, except in the comforts of their own home of course. I also feel like if I was Nullah, who had successfully evaded cops for all of my childhood, could easily escape those nuns and get back to Lady Ashley one night. Except the no swimming part. But he’s a smart boy, he’d figure it out. Also, did I miss something, but what do they do with the creamy girl children? There appears to be only creamy boys on the island. Anyone?
The bombing scene is pretty intense, especially watching all the children run across the island from the bombs, however watching the planes come across the ocean onto the unsuspecting town on the mainland is a very beautiful (CGI) shot. It just shows a nice amount of realization from some named characters in some close ups and some very wide angles which gives you a good full picture of what is going on. Another scene around here, that is one of the most emotional in the whole movie is when Magarri sacrifices himself to save all the children. Dear god is it a cry fest. Especially because RIGHT after he is shot, they cut to the boat of the about 30 children he just saved. He looks over to the boat right as the Japanese shoot him in the head and we cut back to the boys as they ride off into safety. Damn.
The part where the boys then come back up the shore and Nullah is playing the harmonica and all the other boys are singing in harmony is SOOOOO cheesetastic to the max, but is still a cute scene. At least they got kids that could actually harmonize. Maybe that’s why they really wanted only boys? To create the perfect boys choir? Anyway, then Nullah runs up the perfectly intact, not even burned stairs on the otherwise destroyed wharf, and embraces Lady Ashley who then is basically like “hey, fuck you Nullah, my MAN is here!” Then, she’s all back on Nullah, and the movie again takes you from a super happy scene to a super depressing scene, with the shooting of Nullah. But, of course, since this movie is full of the most perfect circumstances ever, he’s ok.
It’s a good movie, for a kind of romantic one. It’s just sometimes quite a bit cheesy and stylistically weird for the story matter. But that’s Baz Luhrmann for you.