For whatever reason, Baz Luhrmann's Australia is copping a bit of flak, don't you think? Whether it's from people here in Australia who think - gosh - it's downright embarrassing to have a movie with the audacity to call itself Australia that is - gosh - appealing to a GLOBAL audience and not just an audience of about 12 people who scoff at the thought of film being anything other than a way to tell dreary tales of woe. This is the oddest thing of all, considering so many people routinely complain that we don't make movies that appeal to wider audiences. That this is a movie that has struck the media's interest is also, apparently, reason for venom. Because if there's one thing our industry doesn't need is to actually get people excited about an Australian movie. No siree! No way!
And then there are people who seem to have a grudge against it because it's - gosh - a BIG movie (or, "epic" if you wanna go there) that is daring to be different in a time when it's cool to be quirky, dark, violent and small and things like grandeur and romance are ripe for scorn. Because that's what cinema is all about, doncha know - copying and regurgitating whatever is cool to the point of nausea.
And then there are those who think the trailer is a "spoof" of the films it is trying to homage and who think it'll be a disaster because it happens to star Nicole Kidman and is directed by a man who actually wants to make big beautiful movies that aren't the status quo. If it were Christopher Nolan serving this up then people wouldn't have a doubt in the world, but Luhrmann makes "fruity" movies with sequins and velvet curtains and that's just not cool. Not like those big manly men's pictures, isn't that right, Shane Danielsen (ugh). Just look at Martin Scorsese. His The Age of Innocence is amazing and one of his very best, yet it is routinely dismissed because it's got pretty dresses and there aren't any gangsters shooting people or yelling at one another with expletive-filled rants (as good as those movies are).
And don't even get me started on people who routinely say it will "flop", yet when it comes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (directed by another man's man director David Fincher) they routinely forget that that movie cost upwards of $170 million. As the Pet Shop Boys once opined, se a vida é.
So, it was with glee that I continue to await Luhrmann's film. I don't care what the naysayers have to say. I read articles like this one at Times Online with unparalleled happiness.
“There’s a crushing ambition behind the film,” Luhrmann says. “We don’t make things very often, and when we do, we try to make something that isn’t always out there, a meal that maybe isn’t being served every day. Some of my favourite films are sushi, rarefied treats, but this sort of event cinema is like a Sunday meal — it’s got a starter and a main course and a dessert. It’s high comedy, high tragedy, tears, laughter, costumes. Everything big. Big actors. Big landscape.”
Isn't that last part what many people said about The Dark Knight, too? But that was a dark and violent superhero movie so I guess it's alright. :/