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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Australia - The Movie (A review)

I wanted so much to like Australia - The Movie. Not just because I am a huge fan of Hugh Jackman but there is also so much to love about Australia - the Place!

I was so disappointed. After three long, long hours, I was left feeling like someone who has been given a large box of chocolates, has scoffed the lot and feels both slightly ill and unsatisfied.

Firstly how can you define this movie? Is it epic, is it romance, is it drama, is it a western, a war movie, is it fantasy? It is all of those things and none of them. You are left with a mish mash of all the genres with a heavy handed overview of political correctness. The treatment of the politics of the Stolen Generation is dealt with so much better in THE RABBIT PROOF FENCE.

The characters, with the exception of the Aboriginal actors (particularly young Brandon Walters who plays Nulla) were completely two dimensional. The baddies were bad and wore black hats just so you knew who they were and the goodies were good. The acting was stilted and wooden and the dialogue...oh my god! I stopped counting the number of times poor Hugh Jackman said "Crikey" and when he had to say "Shut your damper hole", I nearly fell under the seat! Who says that...ever???

The plot divided into two completely separate stories - lacking a clear story arc for either. One hour into the movie and they have arrived in Darwin, then follows filler during which everyone lives happily ever after and then on to the war and the bombing of Darwin. Now, if the story commenced in 1939 then three years have passed since the drive to Darwin and yet Nulla has remained exactly the same age! Continuity problem? Just one of many and I won't even go into the historical inaccuracies.

The winner is the wonderful Australian outback which is beautifully filmed. I think it was mostly filmed near Bowen in far north Queensland. I love the Australian outback and I hope that this film inspires people to come and visit but don't expect to find this Wild West frontier. 90% of Australians are urbanised and are unlikely to say "Crikey" even when provoked!


  1. I watched Australia yesterday and thought it was good mainly because of the great scenery and the lovely Hugh Jackman! I didn't get most of the Australian lingo, I needed a Aussie glossary to go with the film. I agree with your review, although I liked it just because of the romance!!

  2. I haven't seen the film but think that in 1940 the word Crikey would have been used. When you read A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute, written post WW2, you do get a real feel for the language of the day which is very different from today.

    I am torn about spending the money to see it on the big screen or to rent it on DVD as it really does sound like an ironing movie ;-) Thanx for the review

  3. Thanks for the feedback, Penny and Fiona.

    It was "Shut your damper hole" that finished me! I've heard "Shut your cake hole" but never damper hole!

    In a movie that managed to cover just about every Australian cliche it could find, the language was just another example of the overblown feel to the film. I agree Australians of that era probably did use "crikey" and even Australians of our era have been known to use it (I think it will be forever associated with Steve Irwin!). There did seem to be an effort to recreate the feel of the old Chips Rafferty movies about the film and old Chips would not have been above the odd "crikey", but it was, like everything else about the movie, lathered on with a spatula!

    And Pen, I times it required subtitles, let alone a lexicon!
    Fiona...great ironing movie but you would miss the fabulous feel of the outback on the wide screen.

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