Reviews have started to surface for the highly-anticipated â€œAustraliaâ€ â€“ I’m not exactly aching to see it, but then, I wasn’t jizzing in boots over “Moulin Rouge” either and I adored the heck out of that! – and the word on Bazz Luhrmannâ€™s sweeping romantic epic is good, but not great (alas, The Herald Sun say itâ€™s the ant-pants).
The Australian says â€œIt’s all very well to be artificial when you’re dealing with a theatrical concept like Moulin Rouge or even Strictly Ballroom, but it doesn’t really work so well when you’re doing the same sort of thing here, so there’s something that’s just a little bit off key about these scenes. Then once the cattle drive gets under way either you get used to it or that aspect of it is played down because the remainder of the film is much stronger in a rather conventional way.â€
NineMSN say, â€œThe film is unreservedly Australian, filled with “crikey” and “bloody” and rough outback blokes, but it descends into Hollywood cheesiness at times in some of the dialogue and scenes. For Australian and international audiences, there is plenty to enjoy in this film, but whether it is the saviour of the local industry, or the Gone With The Wind of this era, remains to be seen.â€
The Herald-Sun say, â€œIt’s a movie with a message, but Luhrmann provides the audience with no shortage of thrills, from a cliff hanger cattle stampede to the bombing of Darwin. Kidman and Jackman are perfect together, Jackman’s broad speaking drover a perfect foil to Kidman’s snooty English rose.â€
WA Today says, â€˜â€™The film is fine, and never boring but, boy, is it overlong. At a mammoth 165 minutes it feels too much like a work-in-progress. There is a lot of narrative flab and longueurs in the first two hours and the film often has the pace of a steamroller with engine trouble. Luhrmann also seems so eager to trowel on the Aussie cliches – obviously to appeal to the tourist markets! – that Australia is often simply irritating. The word “crikey” is spouted so often the film often sounds like a tribute to Steve Irwin. As for the visuals, the film is pretty â€” you cannot point a camera at the outback and not get something impressive â€” but there are only so many wide shots of the Aussie outback that the human mind can stand.â€
The Courier Mail says, â€œOscar winner Nicole Kidman, who has made some eccentric career choices but should win fans over here, and Hugh Jackman, playing as broad an Aussie as Chips Rafferty, provide genuine chemistry in their scenes together.â€
“Australia” opens next week in, er, Australia.