Daniel’s Critical Corner: “Australia”

Crocodile And Dundee

~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Crawling Out From “Down Under” Today:

A trip to a nursing home can be either inspiring or heartbreaking.
I guess it can go both ways…  But my visit to one the other day
was sort of “in the middle”.  The residents were a coherent but 
mellow group.

There was the cute little old lady clutching her box of sour lemon
candy.  She was telling her (probably sixth) husband that it only
cost a dollar with her rewards coupon…  And then there was this
 rather elderly gentleman leaning on his cane.  He was attempting
 to impress the happy couple by bragging about his free popcorn.

Other oldies managed to trickle into the place sporadically, a few 
of them wearing Christmas sweaters, others sporting fedoras and
such…   It actually looked like church !  They all took their seats,
getting ready to see a motion picture together.  Not a cell phone 
to be found among them !  Such a nice, quiet group.  There were
some soft noises, sure.  Two, maybe three oxygen tanks hissing. 
Involuntary flatulence.  I even heard somone’s arteries harden… 
Aside from that, nada !

Whoops !!!  Did I say I was at a nursing home ?  I meant to tell you
I was at the local movie theater on “senior discount” Monday !  We
were all there to see “Australia” !!!  As a wrinkled patron later told 
me, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon !

That’s debatable.  It ate up my ENTIRE day, and (with a run time of
 almost three hours) I think a couple of mummified moviegoers expired
where they sat !  When the credits FINALLY started to roll, most of
 the group got up to the best of their ability and hobbled out…  But  
a couple of ’em did not. They just sat there, motionless.  I decided
it was best just to keep moving and not look back.

Truth be told, I’m always leery of a movie that has a continent in
the title.  Did anyone see “I Dreamed of Africa” ? That was a total
 NIGHTMARE !!!  Some chick decides to take her little son to (of all
places) Africa, and live in the middle of nowhere…  She shacks up
with some hunter dude, but it isn’t long before her poor child gets
gobbled up by a snake !  Oh well.  They should have just stayed  
“Out of Africa”.  Ha !!!  Let’s move on to Australia now, shall we ?


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 Australia ?  What On Earth Is That ?  A Drink ?


   “Australia” starts on a rather odd note.  A young boy with messy
hair is talking absolute rubbish.  Something about his grandfather
being a king and that people who herd cattle are bad.  We soon 
learn this brat is “aboriginal”.  Speaking of “Abba Originals”, I am 
just DYING to see “Mama Mia!” again.  But that’s another story.  

The kid is called (of all things) “Creamy”.  Who the heck came
up with that silly name ?   Michael Jackson ?  Folgers Coffee ?

Our tale is set in 1939 (which, if nothing else, was a red-letter
year for cinema) ! Young Creamy and his mother are working on
 an Australian cattle station, where all is bliss until Nicole Kidman
shows up. 

Kidman plays “Lady Sarah Ashley”, a woman of privilege whose
husband owns the station.  Upon her arrival, Ashley’s spouse is
murdered…  Just as she uncovers a plot by an evil cattle baron 
looking to gain a monopoly over the beef industry !

 Speaking of beef, a burly cattle man known only as “The Drover”
(played by Hugh Jackman) comes to her aide.  Despite obvious 
dangers, they decide to take over her dead hubby’s legacy and 
drive the cattle…  INSANE.


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 A Huge Jack, Man !


 Lady Ashley moans and groans about how awful the country is.
But soon, The Drover shows her how to find true beauty in the 
 rugged terrain.  At one point, the delicate doll sees a Kangaroo 
and gets totally excited…  The next thing you know, one of her 
hired hands blows the beast away with a shotgun (followed by  
a scene where everyone eats it with fervor).

I could never eat a kangaroo.  They are just too darn cute !
  Hmmm…  Well, I suppose if I were stranded on a desert island,
with nothing but a kangaroo, I would probably start chowing
down on that juicy jumper !!!  (Slathering it up with plenty of
ketchup while wearing the little pouch as some sort of hat).

Kangaroos aside, there isn’t much going on to let us know we
are in Australia.  No boomerangs.  No cuddly koala bears.  No
giant kazoos (or whatever those things are called).  Worst of
all, no one really says “G’day mate” much…  Granted, we are  
treated to some old naked dude doing a “walkabout”.  

And THAT was enough to make me just wanna walkaout !  

 Nicole Kidman’s performance seems really forced in this flick,
and Hugh just prances around shirtless desperately trying to
get voted “Sexiest Man Alive”.  There isn’t much in the way 
 of chemistry between those two anyway, with a dry attempt
at romance failing to light up the big screen.

One evening they are watching shooting stars while kissing 
under a boab tree…  But nothing “magical” happens.  Hugh 
scores (maybe a handful) of boab and then calls it a night !

Some scenes do manage to evoke a “Gone with the Wind”  
 kind of vibe, while others emulate “The Wizard of Oz”.  To 
be fair, I will say this is because of some rather effective

“Oz” (is indeed) a continuing theme throughout the film !!!  
Kudos to director  “Buzz Lightyear”  !  Um…   Ugh.  I mean
to director  “Fuzz Lemur”.  No ?  I think I’m getting closer. 
Oh !  I got it,  “Baz Luhrmann” !

 Regardless, “Australia” gets lost in its own decadence.  A  
beautiful epic, make no mistake.  There are so many vast, 
 sweeping vistas that this movie could be the straight man’s
“Brokeback Mountain”…  Complete with a TENT !!!  
But eye candy as this may be, it is way toooo long.  The  
story wraps up nicely after about two hours, only to start 
again with a half-hearted gusto…  Our final outcome is still 
the same, with no real or viable reasons to keep plodding 

Let’s just take “Australia” outback…  And leave it there.


Would I Recommend This ?  No
Daniel’s Critical Rating: “6” out of “10”