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Movie Review: Australia

Alternate Title: Oz, Down Under

Story: Throw another epic on the barbie! Director Baz Luhrmann delivers a loving homage to his beloved Australia in this sprawling, overloaded, ambitious hodgepodge of a film. Parts of the film work marvelously and will make your heart soar while other parts will make your eyes roll and loudly go thud.

It is 1939, in Australia. An English society beauty travels to Australia to find out why her absent husband has avoided coming home. What she discovers changes her world. She enters Oz - a world not like anything she has known. Director Lurhmann throws in everything but the kitchen sink in this over the top tribute to his beloved Australia. He tackles its history, shameful policies on Aboriginal children, religion and morality. Too much you say?Absolutely. Does it matter? Not really.

But, if you are a Baz Lurhmann fan like me, you are willing to overlook lots of stuff. For instance - when I thought there was a satisfying ending to an already exhausting film, I looked at my watch and saw that only 90 minutes had gone by. Oh oh - what the heck was he going to do with the next 60 minutes or so?

He chooses to tackle the invasion of the Japanese after Pearl Harbor, prejudice, revenge, justice and love. So, he needed another hour to wrap things up. It was written by Mr. Luhrmann, Stuart Beattie, Ronald Harwood and Richard Flanagan.

So I am choosing to overlook lots of stuff so that I can recommend this movie. It is visually delightful. It has fabulous production values up and down the line. It is a good love story, however sappy it might appear and he has something to say about the abhorrent policies that the Australian Government put upon its people for too many years.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05zTnDTpbHI

Acting: Nicole Kidman, as always does a fine job but her cosmetic surgery is really distracting. Her forehead never never moves. Hugh Jackman, is a fine cowboy and would make any woman's (and I think man's) heart soar. David Wenham as the very bad Neil Fletcher, is a delightfully perfect evil man. Bryan Brown as King Carney, was just fine. Jack Thompson as Kipling Flynn was stereotypical, but good. David Gulpilil as aboriginal King George was wonderful as was young Brandon Walters as the adorable, Nullah.

Trivia: Director Baz Luhrmann's parents were Ballroom dance competitors. His film Strictly Ballroom is semi-autobiographical. Hugh Jackman was chosen as one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" 5 years in a row, 2000-2004. He won Broadway's 2004 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for his portrayal of Australian singer/songwriter Peter Allen in "The Boy From Oz". He is left-handed, although often seen doing things right-handed .Nicole Kidman is also left-handed but taught herself to write right-handed for her role in The Hours (2002), where she played the right-handed author Virginia Woolf.

Predilection: I adore Baz Luhrmann films

Critters: Kangaroos, dogs, Major Mitchell Cockatiel, horses, cattle, fish and birds. Be warned - both a dog and a kangaroo get shot in the film, but you do not see it actually happen.

Sex Spectrum: Sex in the shadows.

Soundtrack: Soaring

Opening Titles: A 'where you are' opening segment.

Visual Art: Visually astounding.

Theater Audience: A handful of people

Squirm Scale: I do not like to see animals or children abused.

Drift Factor: It was way too long and I drifted every now and then.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: If you want to see this film, the big screen is the way to go. For other Baz Lurhmann films try renting: Strictly Ballroom (1992), starring Paul Mercurio and Tara Morice, Romeo + Juliet (1996), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and Moulin Rouge! (2001), starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor

Length: A hefty 2 hours and thirty five minutes.