Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Film called Australia

We have just seen the Nicole Kidman epic Australia (2008)

Warning you are in the cinema over 3 hours - watch the parking hours - due to be 3 hours soon at Macquarie

This has an interesting opening paragraph

WHO WE ARE: Does accuracy matter? | Who We Are | Sun Herald Blogs

You'll feel like walking out of the cinema several times during the first 40 minutes of Australia, but try to stick it out. At first you suspect Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman are having a huge lend of us, but as it proceeds, Australia becomes less like a parody. There are plenty of moments when you cringe in embarrassment at the clunky script, the hammy acting and the cheesy effects, but they are eventually outnumbered by moments that are quite engaging.
All That is so true. Especially within 10 minutes or so I was feeling like walking out. It seems like an animated film with real people. Funny camera angles - distorted features - very loud noises - very quirky camera tracking - camera seems to be hand held - ghastly. (Right through the film I thought the colours used were strange. It all seems so artificial. )

Then suddenly it slows down and actors can act and we see scenes instead of flashing around all over the place.

Best "joke" in this part of film: Lady Ashley looking out of side of truck sees Kangaroos bouncing along. "oh how lovely". BANG and blood running down windscreen. Shot Roo on roof of cab. You've got to be quick. The world i.e. England thinks Roo's are romantic - in Australia they are meat - a lot for sale in butchers nowadays not just pet shops.

Second best "joke": The film implies it is in tribute to "the Stolen Generations" - is it? - well just because it centres around a boy that the NT police want to take into care it might appear to be but the essence is the romance between Lady Ashley and Drover. Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) was much more into the Stolen generation. "Australia" seems to imply that the Stolen generation was only up in the Northern Territory. End of film has text that acknowledges some law change in NT in 1973 and Kevin saying Sorry in early 2008. What about the Australian referendum, 1967 (Aboriginals) that changed all Australia. I came here in 1966 and I was amazed that such a law change was needed. Most Australians were also appalled and the referendum was easily passed. It was good to see people celebrating the WIN on the 40th anniversary in 2007. "Australia" the movie did not mention 1967.

Much has been said about Nicole in the film. I thought she did well - the English lady coming to like the outback was well done. Her accent has been described as over the top - I thought it was hardly enough - a 1939 Lady Ashley would have had a much more upper crust accent. This film is most more entertaining than Cold Mountain (2003) in which I thought Nicole was mundane and Renée Zellweger was brilliant.

Jackman well he handles the part of Drover ok - just playing himself. Sort of part Bryan Brown would have played but I suppose 2o years too old. Instead Bryan is King Carney the cattle King I was never sure if he was really bad or was it just David Wenham who plays the ultimate villain Neil Fletcher very well. Did Northern Territorians strut around with big bottles of beer clamped to their lips. I thought they drank seven ounce glasses. Plot to me was confusing about whether King Carney had ordered the murders that Fletcher performed.

The aborigine actors were very good. King George was excellent ( David Gulpilil was also in Rabbit-Proof Fence. )

The climax is the Japanese bombing of Darwin. The film did show the panic afterwards with the military grabbing every vehicle so they could get out. Read about the Adelaide River stampede here The Battle for Australia - Australia under attack
and the damage shown in Darwin appears to be what happened

The strange thing was the gun fight with Japanese who land on "Mission Island" which WHO WE ARE blog says refers to Japanes Air Raid on Bathurst Island on 19 February 1942.
So the Japanese soldiers on the Island was a film invention - why lie about history. Reading about Bathurst and Melville I think the movie has invented their Mission Island just for the climatic finale.

Our friend Janene remarked on how fake the ships are in Darwin harbour. They sure do look strange -like distorted "paintings". Is everything digital nowadays. Models might have been better. What was all the money spent on?

Some good scenery - the cattle stampede is dramatic - was the gorge "real" or another digital creation.
I think you see the North better in Crocodile Dundee

The film is really bringing in the cash
Baz Luhrmann cashes in on epic movie Australia | The Daily Telegraph
inference seems to be that is in Australia but overseas hmmmmmmmmm

Now for a long read on how bad this film really is try Germaine Greer: Strictly fanciful
Germaine has major concerns about the future child who plays the young boy

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