Dr. Venkman Reviews: Australia

by Joey Paur

First thing you need to know about Australia is that it was directed by Buz Luhrmann who also made films such as ‘Romeo + Juliet' which I thought was great, and ‘Moulin Rouge' which I thought was awful. For me Australia fell in-between those two films. The way this film is directed and the style is much different than what most people are used to seeing when they go to the movies, but all Luhrmann's films are like that and they just get bigger and more grand.

The movie is directed like a big budget stage play, which isn't a bad thing for it because it works. I really loved the style and colors. I also thought the cinematography was just wonderful. The film was a work of art, The screen was always filled with something epic and wonderful. It reminded me a lot of some older films such as ‘Oklahoma', 'Gone with the Wind', and 'The Wizard of Oz'. Australia just had the dated old time movie feel but looked much better.

Australia was not a musical, but there was some singing involved. The main music that helped drive the movie and tell its story was the score. The musical score was just huge and grand, it allows you to feel the size, scope, and place of the story.

The acting in the movie is very stylized as well and also reminds me of movies from the 50's. It was stage acting and slightly over the top, especially with Nicole Kidman, who I am not a big fan of. I think she is a very mediocre actress and her presence on screen seems to annoy me. Her acting always seems forced and not natural. It was the same for her role as Sarah Ashley in Australia, but the movie seemed to compliment her style of acting.

Hugh Jackman played the male lead in the film Drover. Of course he was the guy to play the old school cattle driver manly man, and you know what? He did a great job. Unlike Kidman, Jackman was so natural is his role. If you want to compare acting styles you will be able to see the night and day difference. In fact every other actor in the film did an excellent job!

David Wenham who played Faramir in ‘Lord of the Rings' played the villain Neil Fletcher and he was awesome. Then one of the film highlights was Brandon Walters who plays the storyteller and aborigine boy Nullah. I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing this kid in more and more movies, he has such a cool and unique look.

We have seen this story before it's just the setting and the way that the story is told that is new and different. The movie obviously takes place in Australia in 1939 Lady Sarah Ashley is an English aristocrat who inherits a cattle station south west of Darwin that was owned by her late husband. When Australian cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins up with a rough neck cattle man named Drover to drive the cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier.

The movie started out a little slow for me, and the style of story telling and acting took a little getting use to. There was a point in the film when it snagged me and pulled me into the story. The point is probably a little over 30 min. into the film and the main group of characters is herding cattle across the unforgiving land of Australia. They are trying to be stopped from getting the herd to it's destination. The villains try to scatter the cattle and get them to run off of a cliff, and it is up to Drover and the others to keep that from happening. its a very cool scene. I enjoyed the movie from that point on, even though it did seem a bit long.

Australia has got everything a good movie needs story, action, adventure, drama, magic, romance, and comedy. There was just something about it that wont appeal to everyone. When I saw the movie the majority of people that filled the theater were over the age of 50 and women. So that will give you an idea of what kind of people are seeing this movie.

Whatever you decide to see, always remember to enjoy your time ant the movies!

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