Monday, December 1, 2008
Movie Review Monday -- AUSTRALIA
I was lucky enough to see Baz Luhrmann's newest movie, AUSTRALIA, at an advance screening a little over a week ago. Lucky, because Luhrmann himself, along with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman were there doing a Q&A afterwards. For me, nothing caps off a movie-going experience better than listening to the filmmaker and actors talk about making the film I've just watched, and this was no exception. Hugh Jackman, particularly, was absolutely charming and funny--and, dare I say it? Dazzling!
Bottom line: I really enjoyed AUSTRALIA. It was a grand, sweeping epic with an old-fashioned feel, and beyond that, it was simply beautiful to watch (the scenery, the sweeping vistas, the actors!). During the Q&A, Luhrmann talked about developing the idea, and he talked a lot about GONE WITH THE WIND, which, of course, is my all-time favorite movie. I definitely got the feeling that he was kind of trying to make a movie in the GWTW tradition--his own Australian version.
For me, it worked. Sure, it was fairly melodramatic at times. And yes, it was *long*, clocking in at 2 hrs. 45 minutes (but hey, for us LORD OF THE RINGS fans, that's nothing!). There was a point in the movie where it felt like it could have been 'the end'--a nice, happy, tidy ending....but then it keeps going, and I found the next segment as compelling as the first. And yes, there's a few gratuitous "let's show Hugh Jackman's buff, bare chest one more time!" scenes (trust me, I'm am NOT complaining!). But all in all, I was entertained. I laughed, I cried--what more could you ask for? I thought the romance in AUSTRALIA was particularly compelling, and while Jackman's Drover is no Rhett Butler, he definitely has his own rugged charm, and Kidman's Sarah is a totally likable heroine--they made a good match, and the chemistry between the two simply sizzled.
I like epics. GONE WITH THE WIND, DR. ZHIVAGO, GIANT, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, maybe I can even dump THE THORN BIRDS miniseries into that pot. Yes, they are all a bit melodramatic, but as long as the romance is good, the vistas sweeping, and the drama compelling, I'm there.
How about you? Any grand, sweeping epics that you count among your favorites? And if you've seen AUSTRALIA, I'd love to hear your take on it!
Posted by Kristi Cook at 2:02 PM