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Solace of Australia [Dec. 21st, 2008|01:19 am]
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Although "Quantum of Solace" is still playing at my local theatre, "Australia" isn't, it left just this past Thursday. Both of these movies fall under my classification of "movies that will lose visual impact once on the small screen", so we went hunting through the listings. Turned out, both movies were playing at the Towne Stadium 16, which is a short 45 minute drive from my town. Both movies were scheduled so we could see them in an afternoon - Quantum of Solace at 3:10, followed by Australia at 5:30.

Thoughts on Quantum of Solace. The Jack White/Alicia Keys duetted theme song was slightly less awful when viewed with the standard super-cool opening credits, as opposed to the film clip where they're bellowing at each other. Still not precisely a *good* Bond theme, but tolerable. Daniel Craig's eyes are beautifully lit throughout this movie, like pacific water with blue chips of ice. Following Mary's advice, I suspended all disbelief, and focused on making sure I knew where Daniel Craig was at all times. Several moments of this movie telegraphed their results way down the track, with some of the shots practically screaming out what was to come. (Fuel cells, what about the fuel cells?) but the scene with the fighter plane made me jump with (good) fright. All in all, a spicy confection of a film and I had a good time.

Australia is a full hour longer than Quantum of Solace, clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes. (I made sure to visit the loo between movies, and restrict my liquid intake.) Baz Luhrmann has a distinctive visual style that comes across as fairy-tale and make believe. It worked in this movie, for the most part, but I preferred the scenes that just let the Australian landscape shine. There were several points during this movie where I felt the time passing, and not in a good way, but each time it was rescued by Hugh (Jackman) and the amazing kid at the centre of the film, Brandon Walters, who plays Nullah. What an absolutely gorgeous young boy, just riveting every moment on screen.

Things I noticed that USA audiences may not. Rolf Harris's wobbleboard on the soundtrack! Every single Australian film and television actor of note in the past 30 years is in this movie. The word Boong.. That last one, American audiences should/will get that it's not a good word by the context, but I don't know that it'll have the impact on them that it had on me. The real context would be had, were there to be subtitles under the Australian dialect, and everywhere the word boong is used, it be replaced with the word nigger. That word has the shock value for someone from the USA, that the word boong (should have) has for someone from Australia.

The theme of the Stolen Generations really hit home. I was born in 1965. Mixed race Aboriginal kids were still being removed from their families right up until the late sixties and early seventies. To think that this appalling thing was still happening my lifetime, it just makes me sick.

Kevin Rudd, who I didn't get to vote for (he won office in 2007, on my birthday, lovely present!), he stepped up to the plate, and on behalf of my country, he said "
Sorry". (Unlike the half hearted opposition response, tosser. Deserved to have himself presented with everyone's backs.)

Not a perfect movie, but I'm glad I got to see it on the big screen. A country with the scale of Australia, it really needs a big canvas, and that it got.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kicking_k
2008-12-21 10:37 am (UTC)

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This has made me want to go and see "Australia" (not yet out here). Although I like Jackman, I've only really seen him being Wolverine, and the film's being marketed here as an Australian "Gone With the Wind", which wouldn't really be up my street.

If we go, I will make sure to watch out for the things you mention!

The only big Australian film I've seen was "Rabbit-Proof Fence" - again, about the Stolen Generations. So terribly sad. The epilogue voiceover just broke my heart.
[User Picture]From: amandapage
2008-12-22 05:25 am (UTC)

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If you want your heartbroken again, listen to Archie Roach's song, They Took the Children Away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjx7X35cMkA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Roach is his bio. He was one of the Stolen Generation, as he sings. It hurt me to know that as much as I railed against apartheid when I learned about it in high school, that my country was perpetrating similar evils.
[User Picture]From: crickwooder
2008-12-21 04:14 pm (UTC)

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My best memory of the Towne 16 was when it was the Towne 24, and my friend Marc and I went to see Regarding Henry. It was toward the end of its run so it was in the old part of the building with two other ending-soon movies, Naked Gun 2 1/2 and Mystery Date. Why do I remember this? Because on the approach to this section, they had a marquee:

DATE

NAKED

HENRY

Which has nothing whatsoever to your post, but I felt the need to share. I need to get out to see Daniel Craig as well, ASAP.
[User Picture]From: amandapage
2008-12-22 05:26 am (UTC)

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Hee. Date Naked Henry. Ta!
[User Picture]From: columbina
2008-12-21 04:56 pm (UTC)

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Everybody I saw Q of S with completely missed the fuel cells but me. I said, "Well, you knew the whole thing was going to blow up long before it happened because otherwise why would they bother to mention the fuel cells?" They were like, "Fuel cells? When were there fuel cells?"

I think this proves that you and I are the only two people who actually listen to the dialogue in a Bond film. Mind you, at least at the theatre where we saw it, the dialogue was so muddy in the sound mix that it was a wonder anyone could understand any of it.
[User Picture]From: amandapage
2008-12-22 06:02 am (UTC)

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Huh. For me it couldn't have been telegraphed more if it was written down and handed to me in an actual telegraph.
[User Picture]From: hnpcc
2008-12-21 09:47 pm (UTC)

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Have you read Germaine Greer's criticism of Australia? I haven't seen the movie, so aren't sure what to think of her points.

I don't know. A lot of the responses that I've seen to her article are along the lines of "it's not history, it's a movie" - but that didn't stop the criticism of Pearl Harbor (which was also a very ordinary movie. IMHO, naturally!)

Then again, everyone and their dog seems to be a movie critic these days...

[User Picture]From: amandapage
2008-12-22 06:01 am (UTC)

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I more agree with this review http://postbourgie.com/2008/12/01/ballad-of-the-magical-half-negro-by-baz-luhrmann/

It's definitely not a perfect movie, and I definitely don't expect history from a Baz Luhrmann flick. He tends to mash things up pretty well (see Moulin Rouge, which I also enjoyed), so anachronisms and geographic distortions are only to be expected. I've not seen Pearl Harbor, but I suspect my objections to that would be more along the it appears to be trite shite rather than any historic objections.

I did have a jarring moment, when they kep using the word "creamy" to describe the mixed race aboriginal/white children. I've never heard that usage, and I grew up in a town dubbed by Today Tonight as one of the most racist towns in Australia. Have you heard it?
[User Picture]From: hnpcc
2008-12-22 10:13 pm (UTC)

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"Creamy"?! Nope, never heard or read that one. While I didn't grow up anywhere visited by Today Tonight (thank God), I was in a town with a reasonably large aboriginal population and I think I heard pretty much all the words going. Even from reading contemporary documents I don't think I've come across that. Sounds like a Baz-ism.

Actually, the more I think about it the more creeped out by it I am. And I'm wondering what word exactly he replaced. Then again, maybe it's a Top End thing. Except never written down or anything. Which seems unlikely.

Oh I dunno. I'll probably end up seeing Australia on DVD at some stage. I just wish it had an interval or something at the cinema!