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Mainstream - Australia - DVD & Blu-ray

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Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Widescreen 2:35:1
Fox Home Video 2009
165 minutes

If you're expecting something like Romeo & Juliet or Moulin Rouge because Australia was also directed by Baz Luhrmann or because the DVD jacket partly hints at a romantic film, you might be disappointed. Australia has nothing to do with Luhrmann’s previous work aside maybe from the great images we enjoy seeing throughout the movie, images that are especially gorgeous on Blu-ray.

Australia is not your typical love movie nor is it an adventure or an action film. It is a mix of the three without going deeply into any genre. The tone of this movie is also confused: is this a serious, romantic, or funny movie? It even opens as something out of Disney. Therefore, I did not find the movie particularly believable and consequentl am still wondering if the opening information on Australia’s “stolen generations” of aboriginal children is really true.

Australia relates the story of the very English Lady Sarah Ashley, (Nicole Kidman) whose husband is in Australia to take care of his land there. She suspects her husband of having an affair so she decides to check things out by going there even though World War 2 is about to break out. She is welcomed there by the Drover, (Hugh Jackman), an unsophisticated man who has nothing to do with English aristocracy. Sarah and Drover soon discover her husband had been murdered. This sets up sets up the story. She decides to continue her husband’s work and to protect what is now her land. Sarah also wants to stop Nullah, a sweet young aboriginal  kid who lives on her land from being a part of the stolen generation. Corruption in the guise of a white land baron as well as the approaching war give Australia a jolt of action.

The relationship between Nullah and Lady Sarah Ashley is much more believable than her love story with Drover which is the cliché and overused sweet English rose and the tramp thing. That the completely ridiculous and unnecessary character of Nullah’s sorcerer grandfather is present throughout the movie does not help. We still get into the movie and want to know how it ends but by only surfacing the different genres and subjects we don't get as touched as we should by Australia.

At165 minutes, this movie may be a bit too long as well

Australia looks great on Blu-ray although the special features menu is a nightmare to read, even on a 46” TV.

Bonus features on the DVD are a couple of deleted scenes: What About the Drove? and Angry Staff Serve Dinner. Australia Blu-ray also includes the featurette Australia: the people, the history, the location; and some Behind the Scenes stuff.

Vicky Descoteaux

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