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#1 Joe Taylor

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:42 PM

Pretty Good Movie-- seen it twice.

Cinematography is hit and miss in places... mainly it's when the actors are doing their work against a green screen. There's a lot of that in "Australia" for some reason. Looks really shoddy, but not sure it it's the DP fault. More the directors.

There's one big scene that left me scratching me noggin'. It's the stampede scene. Scene goes from midnight to dusk to what looks like mid-day, then back and forth and in between. The King George does something but I really don't think it has anything to do with magic. This is not that kind of movie. It almost seems like something big was cut out of the middle. Otherwise this is the most glaring disregard for continuity since "Plan Nine from Outer Space." At least Ed Wood really an excuse-- he couldn't get his stock footage to match.
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#2 Benson Marks

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 02:42 PM

Pretty Good Movie-- seen it twice.

Cinematography is hit and miss in places... mainly it's when the actors are doing their work against a green screen. There's a lot of that in "Australia" for some reason. Looks really shoddy, but not sure it it's the DP fault. More the directors.

There's one big scene that left me scratching me noggin'. It's the stampede scene. Scene goes from midnight to dusk to what looks like mid-day, then back and forth and in between. The King George does something but I really don't think it has anything to do with magic. This is not that kind of movie. It almost seems like something big was cut out of the middle. Otherwise this is the most glaring disregard for continuity since "Plan Nine from Outer Space." At least Ed Wood really an excuse-- he couldn't get his stock footage to match.


I don't take pleasure in romance films (Which this movie looks like to me), so, obviously, I haven't seen the movie, nor do I want to. Maybe it's just me. I think this one has a shot at making some money at the box-office (Though it seems the film hit at no. 7 at the box-office on opening day. I think it'll do better over the weekend). In fact, maybe I shouldn't say anymore about it (So as to keep myself out of this as possibly as I can.)

Edited by Benson Marks, 28 November 2008 - 02:42 PM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 08:48 PM

I decided to go see it this weekend -- last night, before I saw it, I had this dream that it was a remake of "Oklahoma!", right down to opening with Hugh Jackman on horseback singing "O What a Beautiful Morning" and later, a cowboy telling everyone on the ranch about how modern Darwin was ("they've gone about as far as they can go..."). I guess I was thinking of the stage version that Jackman performed in...

Anyway, I enjoyed the movie, though it is somewhat of a (long) mess of elements cobbled together. Given it's bigger-than-life nature, I was disappointed that it was not shot in 35mm anamorphic, let alone a larger format -- the movie screams out now & then for some IMAX-quality landscape shots, or Cinerama, Todd-AO, anything. It also begged for some 3-strip Technicolor / dye transfer lushness to the colors, especially the sunset work.

Some of the "overlit" night work, deliberately theatrical, had a quality that reminded me of "Black Narcissus" or some other Powell-Pressburger movie.
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#4 Joe Taylor

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 09:49 PM

I've seen it twice now, and I still don't know what happened with the big stampede scene. It seems like there was a lot of material cut out. There are glaring jump cuts with the kid going to sleep then suddenly he's wide awake. I understand that it supposed to be hours later but it is confusing. Then the bad guys start the fire-- it is still bitch black then everyone is up and racing to stop the stampede. By the end of the the big scene (and it is all in real time) it looks like late morning-- a lot later than it supposed to be. I doubt if cowboys sleep till noon on the drive. Anyhow it is very sloppy.

Visually, it was not all that thrilling. For great Australian outback photography, I like to revisit "The Proposition" and "Walkabout," all featuring David David Gulpilil (sp?).

I enjoyed the movie but wished that they could have taken more time to focus on the mysterious qualities of the landscape. Much of the problem was due to obvious fact that many exteriors were filmed on sound stages. A real drag.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 December 2008 - 11:35 PM

I didn't necessarily mind the more theatrical aspects, it reminded me of a classic 40's movie -- but at some point, you start wanting to see the real Australian landscapes shown off more, they seem more "magical" than anything an efx artist could come up with. So this starts to work against the more artificial aspects -- it's almost like they didn't go far enough with the "fakeness", there was just enough to be distracting when juxtaposed against the real elements. Perhaps they should have gone more in the direction of "Gone with the Wind" in terms of a created, theatrical reality. Or more realistic, ala "Out of Africa" or "Days of Heaven", and find the magic in the real location. But given Baz Luhrmann's sensibilities, I would have figured it would be more in the David O. Selznick mode and less in the Terrance Malick mode.
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#6 Tom Lowe

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 12:48 PM

I think I am going to skip this on the big screen.
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#7 Dominic Case

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:33 PM

I decided to go see it this weekend -- last night, before I saw it, I had this dream that it was a remake of "Oklahoma!",

At one very early stage, "Oklahoma" was apparently the semi-serious working title of the script.

It's a shame that Baz - who is SUCH a creative and original filmmaker (look at his Romeo and Juliet), based Australia so heavily on other films. Admittedly he wanted to make an old-fashioned film, but he referenced a whole slew of other "place: films to everyone: yes, Oklahoma, and also Out of Africa, Lawrence of Arabia etc. Perhaps too much reference.

But with such a massive budget (and over-run) it's hard to believe that the studio didn't have some influence on the kind of film they got (and studios hae a tendency to prefer the known and familiar over the truly original) - even though it was Baz!

What is good is that he's slipped quite a strong "stolen generation" message in as the backdrop to the action and romance and cliche. (Though even this is similar to the slavery issue in GWTW).
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