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First Aussie reviews of 'Australia': 'Good, but no classic'

November 18, 2008 | 10:30 am

Australia_hugh_jackman

Our forums moderator and Emmy expert Rob Licuria, who lives in Sydney, Australia, sends us links to the first Aussie reviews of Baz Luhrmann's "Australia." (Thanks, mate!)

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: "Good, but no classic, and way, way too long," says the headline. The review adds, "'Australia' is not a bad film. But it's far from a great one, and certainly not one destined to be a classic.

"That's not to say it won't be popular, possibly wildly so. The film has broad appeal, particularly to the chick-flick market, with its sweeping, overlong melodramatic saga about cattle drives, the stolen generations, the bombing of Darwin and Hugh Jackman's abs. The story involves a prissy English woman Australia_pull_quote (Nicole Kidman) who, with the help of a stockman known enigmatically as "The Drover" (Jackman), tries saving her troubled cattle station from a greedy cattleman (Bryan Brown) and his evil relative (David Wenham)." READ MORE

THE AUSTRALIAN — This review is penned by David Stratton, who Rob calls "probably our best film critic." Stratton writes, "Like his earlier films 'Strictly Ballroom,' 'Romeo + Juliet' and 'Moulin Rouge,' 'Australia' shows Baz Luhrmann as a very theatrical director. He has a great eye for compositions and the film is beautifully shot . . . . The film is not without flaws, it's not the masterpiece that we were hoping for, but I think you could say that it's a very good film in many ways. While it will be very popular with many people, I think there's a slight air of disappointment after it all. But I will say that the acting is of a very high level, especially given that some of the actors have been encouraged to perform in this rather stylized, theatrical way. Nicole Kidman does a very good job as she develops from this very stiff, awkward, naive Englishwoman to become a really warm character at the end of the film . . . . Hugh Jackman has tremendous charisma and charm, and the supporting cast is particularly good." READ MORE

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: "Baz Luhrmann's hotly anticipated World War II epic treats the Australian Outback as if it were a monumental theatre. It doesn't let him down . . . . Kidman's screen presence is nothing short of radiant -- with plenty of help from the extraordinary quality of the light (natural and man made)." READ MORE

Photo: 20th Century Fox

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Comments

I thought it was completely fantastic. I am at a loss to understand what people are finding to dislike. 'No story'? There wasn't a dull moment, and I actually thought Nicole Kidman was very very good, as usual. Hugh Jackman and the supporting cast were fantastic. Brilliant film and another triumph for Baz Lurhmann.

Outstanding! I can't give it a high enough rating.
I think once the rantings of the "quick to judge to look intellegent and poorly educated" people are over, it will go down as one of the Greats. The acting and cinematography were Phenomenal. Excellent! A Beautifully told and Powerful story.

Outstanding! I can't give it a high enough rating.
I think once the rantings of the "quick to judge to look intellegent and poorly educated" people are over, it will go down as one of the Greats. The acting and cinematography were Phenomenal. Excellent! A Beautifully told and Powerful story.

It is biased to quote from "The Australian" and "Daily Telegraph" reviews. Both are owned by Murdoch, who paid for the film, and the reviewers are terrified of offending their pretty scary boss.

strictly ballroom - fab
Romeo +Juliet - incredible
Moulin Rouge - hmmm ok...
Australia - all cheese.

If I were lactose intolerant I would have come out of this movie feeling very ill. As it was i came out bored, confused, and not a little bit angry.

Baz, I am a big fan. O' brother! what were you thinking???!!
You took the time and exorbitant expense of shooting in the Kimberley and then you destroyed the landscape with special effects. The acting was bad, real bad. The plot points made little sense. The film was stacked with famous Australian stars (all men, except of Nicole, did anyone else notice?) and none of them could save the script! And the side story of the 'stolen generation' was completely hijacked when the half-caste boy joins the white nuclear family! Seriously! oh Baz.... I feel so dirty.

I am in my fifties and went into the movie not expecting much. I can honestly say it was the best movie I have ever seen in my life and it wasnt only me. The amazing thing was that at the end of the movie credits rolling...when everybody is usually getting up and going for the door. There was dead silence. Everyone sat in their seats and watched until the very end. Something I have never seen before in a theatre. I think they were all feeling the same as I......in total awe. It was wonderful and a credit to all who produced it Actors and all.

One has to think twice about what makes a classic. A classic inspires --
"Just because something ' is,' doesn't mean it should be." This underlying theme may well indeed turn this into a classic. This is one of the first movies in a long time that actually made me feel good! The scenery is indeed breathtaking and I would consider living in Austrailia based on this movie -- which seems to have elements of the Grand Canyon -- Arizona dessert
(less the cacti) and an appreciation for how sound waves travel (my non scientific explanation).

This kind of movie is going to pick up steam -- word of mouth style -- never underestimate the intelligence of the American public. - you won't leave it feeling like it's the end of the world -- you'll leave it feeling better than when you walked in -- in kind of a calm, happy way. Asking yourself Why not?

I liked it. Yes it was over the top, theatrical and cartoonish, but none of that took away from the movie
it was exactly what it was meant to be.
lots of fun.

Don't hate me because I'm Australian. Lots of Australians also think this movies is not so good. I think the anger comes from Nicole being such a bad actress and yet has achieved so much. It's not right. She should have been a super model - not actress.

oh dear dont tell me nicole has destroyed another film,
whats that 5 in a row now???

his best film was strictly ballroom. moulin rouge was schizoid and romeo and juliet sucked. and i suspect this will also suck. there's no story line any more. its all just camera angles and scenery. without a plot, what's the point?

I would not waste good money on Nicoles' very B grade acting .It takes more then expensive designer clothes and cosmetics to make a great actor ,such as being natural in front of the camera and character ,Kate would have been a much better choice Ps maybe Nicole should have become a super model she would have been more suited to that

Unfortunately Kidman's performance wobbles between being wooden and slapstick. She even has a problem putting on an Australian accent these days. It's beginning to sound as un-authentic as her British one. The rest of the film's actors are brilliant in their roles and the film overall, carries Kidman's weaknesses. The scenery is spectacular and I think it is a wonderful ad. for tourism here in Australia. Unlike Kidman's performance, the awesome outback IS authentic.

The first non-Murdoch reviews are coming out now and they are savage. Really brutal.

I'm with Monroe!

Good tourism ads though...

To "Monroe Reimers": Baz Luhrmann is so gifted that you couldn't stand in the same room with him without being blinded by his brilliance. On second thought, you couldn't stand in the same room with him, because of your myopic, rude, and blatantly incorrect "opinion." You are saying that because Aussies have loved his brilliant masterpieces, "Strictly Ballroom" and "Moulin Rouge" that they love "mediocrity"? No, mediocrity would be what greets you when you look in the mirror or put fingers to keyboard. Baz is brilliant. Period. The end.

Shame that Australians like to cut down anything that stands up. This should have been released in the USA first so that some REAL critics could have an unbiased say. I will be waiting for Ebert to have a say....not some washuped neverwas in Sydney.

Monroe Reimers a typical sad sack who has to repeat himself because he never had anything worth saying the 1st time, dear dear crawl back in your hole you sorry little person who no one is interested in listening to.

Baz poor Baz you have proved yet again what Aussies love most - mediocrity. The triumph of Hope over Experience and Form over Content. Have you ever had an original idea in your life?

Baz poor Baz you have proved yet again what Aussies love most - mediocrity. The triumph of Hope over Experience and Form over Content. Have you ever had an original idea in your life?


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