Published on March 29th, 2009 | by Greg0
Australia: Pretty but Vacant
It’s beautiful… but long. It ends… several times. And though we’ve been fans of director Baz Luhrman for some time (see Strictly Ballroom immediately if you have not already), our faith was put to the test. Even the good cast of Australia, with strong performances from Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, didn’t work- sparks didn’t fly, the chemistry felt off.
Aborigines, some poor music choices, and generally over-the-top corniness play poorly in an attempt to make what seems like a serious, even epic, movie. Older audiences will find stuff to like- sentimental, perhaps, but nice nonetheless, and suitable for families without being aimed at kids.
The Blu-ray transfer is excellent- we were impressed by the picture and sound clarity (all movies are tested on both a 24-inch computer monitor and a 42-inch 120hz 1080p LCD television). This movie looks great, as good as any other BD we’ve tried, and the music and audio is balanced quite well, with a DTS-HD 5.1 track. There is no audio commentary however, but plenty of featurettes, all of which are in hi-def (if a little boring). Skip the one on “Australia”, and take a look at Cinematography or Production Design.
Overall, it’s a pretty good package for a bit of a disappointing movie. $30 or so, available now, and worth the extra for the Blu-ray version (providing, of course, that you own both a BD player/PS3 and a suitably high-definition screen).