Australia - the movie. Baz Luhrmann, Kidders & Huge Jackman!
Finished just last week (apparently) since Baz couldn't decide which of the three(!) endings that he shot would best help the Australian Tourist Commission recoup their substantial investment in the film (some $50m, or a third of the budget according to estimates) - this is an almost three hour long travelogue of the Australian outback, thinly disguised as an inter-war, Mills & Boone-type, colonial bodice-ripper.
Wolverine (Huge Jackman) plays an uncouth stockman/cattle drover, imaginatively named 'Drover' and the exo-skelton of Nicole Kidman plays Lady Sarah Ashley, a clueless English snob who inherits a cattle station in the 'out' part of the outback. Obviously, love ensues. Huge & Kidders also get to witness the Japanese bombing of Darwin up close and personal, with footage that looks like it was salvaged from the cutting-room floor of the equally mind-numbing 'Pearl Harbor'. If only they'd done a better job; Darwin is a wretched place. The rest of the cast is littered with well-know faces, ie domestic Australian actors that nobody outside of Australia really stands much chance of recognising.
The local media is frothing at the mouth about this one : apparently it will "save the Australian film industry". And indeed, saving it needs, when the combined gross of a few million dollars for all films nominated for the Australian Film Industry Awards (the equivalent of the Oscars) this year barely scrapes past the weekend's takings nationwide for the new Adam Snadler flick. Yes, it's been a while since Crocodile Dundee.
And as Baz settles back into his new-found role of making feature-length tourism commercials for the Australian government, the important question thus remains : will it put foreign bums on foreign seats? Who knows. But what we do know is that after the two and a half hour mark, they'll certainly be numb.
Rating : 2 kangaroos out of 5.