australia-dvdFox Home Entertainment
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When “Australia” came out in the cinemas it encountered a lot of flack. There were critics and talking heads who said it was too epic, there was the (supposedly) $130 million price tag, and then there was the paltry opening weekend without enough press and advertising to support a film of its scope. So when the DVD arrived I wasn’t jumping up and down to see it. The story was also a tough one to squeeze into a trailer, but it concerns an English woman and the land and cattle she is at risk of losing in northwest Australia. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman are our leads in a film that, yes, is a bit epic. Mostly that’s because the picture aims to combine the great styles of: Luhrmann with his actors (the playful drama of Diane Venora in “Romeo + Juliet”), Luhrmann with his production design (the rooftops and dance halls of “Moulin Rouge”) and Luhrmann with his eye for cinematic realism. I don’t know that there is a way to meld the three together, so the very effort feels strained. What should be noted above all else here is the performance of Ms. Kidman, who can weave seamlessly between microscopic drama and the high style we would expect to see in commedia. What it all comes down to though is cattle. Cattle cattle cattle. Plus a little magic and Hugh Jackman with a whip. It’s no ‘Slumdog’ but it ain’t bad.