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Australia: A Magical, Epic Tale For the Ages

Every once in a while, a movie comes around that reminds us what going to the movies is all about. It's a spectacle and an adventure and a love story. It’s full of magic, passion, music and breathtaking aerial shots. Australia is like the restoration of a long-lost cinematic art. It's pure entertainment with a human element to it that’s just emotional enough. With Australia, director Baz Luhrmann has brought us the most sweeping, grandiose, and visually stunning epic film of the year.

And in keeping with all the larger-than-life aspects of this production, Hugh Jackman of course embodies the manliest character ever. Playing a drover (a person who moves livestock, like cattle, over long distances) who's only ever referred to as "Drover," he's like a Greek god and John Wayne mixed together — but with an Australian accent. Under Luhrmann's watchful eye, Jackman's beautiful physique and macho charm help create something like an old-fashioned Western. The sunset softly lighting a wide landscape view, the pounding of galloping horses kicking dust up into the air, and a rugged man on horseback all make for a fine-looking movie indeed.

So that's most of what I like about the film — Luhrmann's lovely direction and Hugh Jackman — but there are other things, so


There are essentially two parts to the narrative in this movie. The first has to do with the very prim and very British Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman), who gains sudden control of a cattle station in Australia called Faraway Downs, having to get a huge number of cattle onto a ship. She relies on a rather motley crew to help her with this task, including the sexy, no-nonsense Drover and a mixed-race Aboriginal child (sometimes referred to as "creamy"), Nullah. Young Nullah narrates throughout the film, referring to Lady Sarah Ashley as "Mrs. Boss," which adds a sort of innocence and truthfulness to it all.

The second part of the story deals with protecting Faraway Downs from shady folks, and suffering an air strike as World War II rages on. Amidst all this, there is the ever-present danger of having Nullah forcibly taken away by the state in order to integrate him into white society (and to "breed the black out" of him as one character disgustingly puts it). In Australia, the mixed-race children who endured such removals were known as the Stolen Generations, and at some point Lady Sarah Ashley becomes determined to prevent Nullah from this terrible fate. In addition to all this, there are the general story arcs for the individual characters, most notably how the chilly "Mrs. Boss" learns how to passionately love three things: Nullah, Drover, and Australia.

The film is lengthy and there are a few moments when I thought it was over, only to find that there was much more in store for us, and for the first time at a super-long movie I actually hoped it wouldn't end. There are moments of cheesiness (like the frequent metaphoric reference to the movie The Wizard of Oz and its tune "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"), but it's not nearly as campy as Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge nor as over-the-top crazy as Romeo and Juliet. In comparison to those two films, Australia is really just a straightforward tale of romance and adventure in the Outback. Sure it’s incredibly long, but if you have the time and inclination, this movie is well worth the time and money — especially when viewed in all its dramatic splendor on a great, big screen.

Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Join The Conversation
buckley9383 buckley9383 8 years
I thought this movie was really good, beautifully shot, and well acted. It was long but kept my attention the whole time. It was so packed full of adventure- there was never a dull moment! My roommate complained about it but she thinks Tyler Perry movies are good, so I tend to ignore her movie opinions.
nikkih86 nikkih86 8 years
I'm a big fan Baz and old epics so I'm their target audience...but even if I wasn't I would have still loved this movie! It is engrossing and beautiful...not to mention gorgeous wardrobe and Jackman at his hunky best. Its long but soooo good!
scotlandrulz scotlandrulz 8 years
i cant wait to see it! :D
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
Does it have a sad ending like other Luhrman films? If so, I won't go see it. I have come to hate depressing endings.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
wont see it , too much CGI.
nakitabanana27 nakitabanana27 8 years
LOVE THIS MOVIE. I felt the same way as Buzz when I thought it was about to end and then it picked up... I'm really glad that they made it a long film though because they told the whole story, unlike some other films recently (ahem, Twilight)... and Hugh Jackman was perfect in his role! Even the old ladies at the matinee show were swooning :D Haha..
Phasekitty Phasekitty 8 years
This movie was so good I honestly hardly noticed Nicole Kidman. And that's REALLY saying something.
audreystar audreystar 8 years
I wish Baz would learn to cast female characters other than Nicole. :irk: I would have loved to see Hugh Jackman with someone else/anyone else.
Juicylemon Juicylemon 8 years
A Greek God mixed with John Wayne with an australian accent? No wonder Hugh Jackman is the Sexiext man alive!
Sarana Sarana 8 years
I can't wait to see it! I love Hugh Jackman, epics and Australia so it must be a great film for me. It's not in theathres here though so it will probably be on TV for me which will take the epicness away a little bit. Hope I can see it soon!
emei47 emei47 8 years
i absolutely loved it! had me crying throughout! loved it
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
i'm really Not a kidman fan, except for a few old movies like Far and Away, but I love hugh jackman so I'll try to talk my bf into seeing it. Unfortunately he's already seen a bunch of bad reviews so who knows. And man, I remember when Romeo and Juliet came out, I got the soundtrack for my birthday and listened to it OVER AND OVER. i loved that movie haha
ceej ceej 8 years
I think if you go in with lowered expectations you will be okay. It is not great by any stretch of the imagination. If the story of Australia's removal of Aboriginal children interests you after seeing this may I suggest Philip Noyce's masterful film "Rabbit Proof Fence" for a compelling and in depth view.
austerity austerity 8 years
Oh Hugh! Sigh, he just turns me into a silly teenager :)
marseilles-rose marseilles-rose 8 years
I strangely want to see this. It seems like the typical love story between people from different worlds (I've seen more than enough movies like this) but I seen to have a Nicole Kidman fetish because she's a really good actress so I'll go see it (on DVD).
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
It's nice to see that you like it Buzz, because it seems to have gotten a lot of mixed reviews. I think I will like it - I love the director, and I adore epic movies.
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
I'm on and off with Baz but I think I'll like this one. I LOVE epic movies and I'm a HUGE HUGE HUGE movie buff. Too bad it's $10 to go to the movies.
nancita nancita 8 years
I hadn't been that interested in seeing this but you make me intrigued...sounds like I would like it even if I'm not usually a Luhrmann fan. Plus you've really sold me on the Hugh jackman aspect. :)
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Looking forward to seeing this one--and to watching Hugh Jackman, of course.
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
I can't wait to see this. I've been a fan of Baz Lurhman since 'Strictly Ballroom' and I've always liked his films. My BF and I have tickets to see this on Thanksgiving evening at a Movieco theater, where they have drinks and super cushy seats- it should be awesome!
sunny1intucson sunny1intucson 8 years
I can't wait to see it and I'm so happy to see this positive review!! It's got mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but I really think this is my kind of movie (and not necessarily a movie critic's type of movie), so I will love it. Usually this director's movies take more than one viewing to really appreciate them anway in my opinion. I can't wait!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I think I'll be seeing this with the ladies in my family on Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it now, it sounds like a good time. And Shop is right, the main actors in this movie are both wonderful!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 8 years
I can't wait to see this!! I adore Nicole. Hugh = :drool:
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm still on the fence about this one. chances are i'll go see it but i don't know if it's really going to be my thing. i don't often really enjoy epics, but i guess there could always be a first time. with the cast that's in the mix here, at least we have hope to look at something pretty if it's not a great movie like you're describing it to be.
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
haha kia :D All of the reviews of Nicole not being great in it and all I am thinking is, who is going to be paying attention to her?
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