Film Reviews

AUSTRALIA

By • Nov 28th, 2008 •

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Terrible. Cartoonish turkey with no script. Australia should rescind Baz’s citizenship. Smart move, Russell Crowe, backing out of this.

Where to begin? With Nicole Kidman six feet tall and 100 lbs., what woman can relate to her? Since no one has the nerve to tell her, I will. Nicole, you are condemning yourself to play other-worldly, sci-fi cold women. You have left real life to defiantly look very strange. Now on to Hugh Jackman. Fire your staff for not telling you your clothes in AUSTRALIA were way too tight. You could hardly walk in them and it shows! Your beefcake scene embarrassed me.

Will your career survive it? I hope so.

And director Baz Luhrmann! Shame on you for squandering a lot of money and filming a sub-standard script! You had a good story, but what the hell happened?

Australia starts out as a cartoonish, silly movie. Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman) is the spinster wife of Lord Ashley. He does not want her to come to Australia to find out what is happening to their money and property. No wonder. She is uptight and walks in an exaggerated manner through the Australia Outback in the1940s. Happily childless (she shows no regret), Lady Ashley’s only friend must be a river rock. How does Lady Ashley meet Drover (Jackman)? He is having a brawling fistfight! It’s just lazy and corny.

Conveniently, Lord Ashley had just been murdered. The officials have named an Aboriginal naked old man called King George (David Gulpilil) as the killer. There is no reason given why King George would do this, but he sure gets around without shoes or clothes.

Now in charge of 1,500 head of cattle, Lady Ashley needs someone to drive the herd to the Port of Darwin to be sold. Competing with Lady Ashley is King Carney (Bryan Brown). He’s got his own 1,500 head of cattle. It’s a race to the Port of Darwin. Firing her husband’s villainous traitor-employee, Lady Ashley must ask Drover to do it. But he needs help. So, the maid, 11-year old boy, the drunk accountant, and Lady Ashley take to the horses and do the job.

On the road, Lady Ashley notices Drover half-naked showing off in front of her by soaping up. Meeting Drover, Lady Ashley magically tears off her straight-laced demeanor and becomes a hot-spirited, lustful woman with a purpose.

Kidman and Jackman have no chemistry. (I’m not the only one who noticed. Why else would Jackman be conveniently named “The Sexiest Man Alive” right before the film opens?)

The 11-year old boy, Nullah (Brandon Walters), narrates this epic. He can’t shut up. For a shameful outcast, he sure has a lot to say. Nullah is a mixed-race child and the government is hunting these children to re-educate them in internment camps. His mother was one of Lord Ashley’s servants and sex-slave of a mean, white man. After the men employed by King Carney set a fire causing the cattle to head for a cliff, King George steers the cattle to water through a dangerous pass. We never see this dramatic drive. Suddenly, they are in Darwin! And the Japanese are coming!

Lady Ashley, who has shown no mothering longings or inclinations, suddenly falls in love with Nullah and discovers passion in the arms of Drover. Poor Lord Ashley!

Out of nowhere comes THE WIZARD OF OZ. I know I hated AUSTRALIA when Nullah asked Lady Ashley to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and I shouted at the screen: “Don’t do it!”

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