Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Australia!- it takes less time to complete a walkabout than it does to watch this movie.
The mere mention of the place conjures up images of a savagely beautiful Outback; mystical Aboriginies living a mysterious culture; vast landscapes and enormous, paint-spackled skies.
As far as the imagery goes, this movie does NOT disappoint!
Now if only they had a good story to go along with it, we'd have had a winner.
Actually, let me correct that- they DID have a good story. It was a great hour-and-forty-five-minute story. Stretched out about an hour too long. Or maybe it was three great 55 minute stories, better told as a TV miniseries than as a supposedly-epic film.
Can I say something about epic films here? It's not the LENGTH ALONE that makes a movie an epic. It's the substance you fill that length with. Gladiator, Braveheart, the Lord of the Rings series- these worked, because they had a lot to tell us.
Baz Luhrman obviously missed that lesson in Epic Filmmaking 101.
But he got the cinematography down pat.
On top of a dragging storyline, this movie is also afflicted with terminal cartoonishness. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman don't play actual characters here; they play grossly exaggerated charicatures of stereotypical character types. Kidman is the Annoyingly Prim and Proper Woman From an Elite Upbringing. Jackman plays the Ruggedly Handsome Man From The Outback.
I smell a clash of cultures coming, don't you? Or course, it's part of the predictable formula in films like these.
You know what's going to happen. At some point, Kidman is going to show how rough-and-tumble she really can be, and Jackman is going to show up somewhere clean-shaven and wearing a tux. And then Tragedy-Will-Strike and they will have a Joyful Reunion. Baz even throws a kid in the mix to tug at those heartstrings, too.
I mean, I liked it, sure, but I was disappointed. I expected an Oscar frontrunner. Instead I got a sub-par Titanic on Dry Land.
Oh well, they can't all be winners. I give this a 6, and I recommend you sneak in a Red Bull and start sipping it about 45 minutes in.
Posted by Steven Rosbach at 6:54 PM