Friday, August 5, 2011

Australia (2008)

Kidman & Jackman Sitting In A Tree....

- I have never been to Australia but I hope for the sake of those who live there (and those who have visited, I suppose) that the continent is nothing like the 2008 film of the same name: a boring, predictable and pastel place full of shallow people. Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge! (2001), Romeo + Juliet (1996)) directs girlie heartthrob Hugh Jackman and the never aging Nicole Kidman in this lackluster outback adventure.

Kidman stars as Lady Sarah Ashley, an English aristocrat who is forced to live and is completely out of her element in the Australian outback. The Sarah Ashley character is stunningly similar to Kidman's character in the 1992 epic Far And Away, Shannon Christie, who is also a European aristocrat (only an Irish one) - but watch out: Kidman's Shannon and Sarah are both unpredictable and adapt quickly to their new ruffian lifestyle! Also similar to the Shannon Christie character, Sarah Ashley falls for the seemingly irresistible tough guy: in the case of Australia, this happens to be Hugh Jackman's character Drover, who is - you guessed it - a cattle drover. The two spend their time quarreling and taking passionate but fleeting glances at each other as they waste the audience's time meeting a magical Aborigine child, struggling to ward off a wealthy cattle owner who wants their land, driving cattle across the Australian wilderness, and trying to survive the Japanese bombing of the city of Darwin when World War II hits their shores.

It is hard to believe that the film could be more bland and predictable than it is in its current form. No characters can be found in the film, only cereal box cut out versions of some. Kidman is the dainty aristocrat who has to pick herself up from the bootstraps and live out in the wild, Jackman is the dreamy broad-shouldered tough guy who is strong but also tender (just how the gals love them: completely unrealistic), David Wenham is the seedy double-crossing bad guy who will stop at nothing to get his way, Brandon Walters is Nullah the Aborigine with a heart bigger than the whole of the continent - find me a genuine character in the film and I will buy you a Coke. On top of featuring this toneless cast of characters, the near three-hour film is made worse by the thick pastel coloring and boring cinematography, which makes the film look like its sets were made out of clay.

This epic is an epic failure.

CBC Rating: 4/10

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