Tonight the family finally went to see Australia, the movie. Even though it is late, I thought that I should record our reactions.
We actually went to see it with a degree of caution, one of those things that as Australians we thought that we should do. I, for one, had really wanted to go, but was then put off by some of the commentary.
Wife and eldest daughter absolutely loved it. Youngest and I had reservations, but were still swept along.
Nearly every criticism of the movie is justified in some way.
It is too long. It tells the story not of Australia, but of one slice of Australia at a point in time. It is not historically accurate. Some of the acting is wooden. There are too many cliches.
This must sound devastating. Why, then, should you see it? In saying this I am thinking not just of Australians, but of people around the world. There are two main reasons.
First, it is visually stunning. Some of the scenes are quite spectacular.
Secondly, in spots it is very exciting, in others very moving. As an example, the cattle stampede was the most nerve racking, the best, I have ever seen. And the final scenes set during the bombing of Darwin reduced this family, and most of the audience, to something approaching tears.
Do not go to this movie expecting the greatest movie you have ever seen. It is not. But if you go accepting and expecting the weaknesses, you are likely to find that you will be carried along and come out with a movie experience that you will remember.
To put this in perspective, we went to see the latest James Bond movie some time ago because we wanted to. We saw Australia because we felt we should.
We enjoyed the Bond movie, but it just passed. Indeed, what was its name? We will remember Australia.
International audiences are in fact likely to enjoy Australia more than Australian audiences because they can see it just as a story without the intellectual and emotional baggage that Australians apply to the film.
Do see it if you get a chance and let me know what you think.
Dinner last night with some old friends, where the conversation turned to Australia, the movie.
Like Winton Bates in the comments, Debbie thought that it was really several stories loosely joined. There was also discussion on the stolen generations issue in the film, and some of the stereotyping of views.
However, one comment from Debbie captured, I think, the crux of Australia, the film. All those who have seen it agree that it is a flawed film. Despite that, Debbie has found herself talking about it it more than most movies she has seen. This family is exactly the same.
The movie is opening in Indonesia. Both Aldhis and Niar indicated in comments that they planned to see it. I am going to be very interested (if a little nervous) to hear their comments.