A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snarky, I know

I finally caught up with Australia on DVD, after deliberately not making much of an effort to see it in theaters a few years back.

It's not all that bad, actually, especially when you watch it at home and can take breaks (to get another glass of wine) several times during the 2 hour and 45 minute (!) running time. Baz Luhrmann's manic directing style, which worked pretty well for Moulin Rouge!, is pretty distracting during the first half hour, but he eventually settles down and applies his crazy cuts and camera work more sparingly so we can get into the story.

Anyway, It's all big sweeping stuff about cattle and romance and endless vistas and (finally) World War II, and there are actually three or four moments when your emotions will swell when it all comes together. And the rest of the movie is tolerably watchable, if you take those breaks I mentioned.

It's funny, though. There's some solemn verbiage at the beginning of the movie about the issue of Aboriginal relocation (sort of Australia's version of how we treated our American Indian population, I think) and a little more verbiage about it at the end, as if the movie wants to convince us that it's really about this dark issue from Australia's past. It's funny because the very long movie that appears between those two moments of onscreen verbiage is 95% concerned with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and whether they'll get together, with maybe six minutes (tops!) of the running time devoted to the Aboriginal relocation issue. I had to laugh.

I will say that the standard DVD I watched had spectacular picture and sound, so this sucker must look and sound really great on Blu-Ray. Hey, good presentation always helps with those types of long movies (like this one) that never quite make you forget you're watching a long movie.

In the end, let's just call Australia a tolerable, pretty good movie, no more and no less. Of course, that assessment might be a tad generous, because if someone told me I was never permitted to see this movie ever again, I have to honestly say that I wouldn't lose any sleep.

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