I watched “Australia” last night (having gone so far as to actually drive to Blockbuster and pay for a movie rental, as opposed to taking advantage of PJ’s magical system of movie downloading)…and I liked it! HA! Rather than explain why, let me just ape the reviews of others.
To quote from the NYTimes Movie Review, in reference to Director Baz Luhrmann’s efforts on “Australia”:
“A maximalist, Mr. Luhrmann doesn’t simply want to rouse your laughter and tears: he wants to rouse you out of a sensory-overloaded stupor with jolts of passion and fabulous visions. That may make him sound a wee bit Brechtian, but he’s really just an old-fashioned movie man, the kind who never lets good taste get in the way of rip-roaring entertainment. The usual line about kitsch is that it’s an affront, a cheapening of the culture, a danger. “Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession,” Milan Kundera wrote. “The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.”
True, but it doesn’t make the second tear any less wet.”
And to share Roger Ebert’s sentiments:
“Baz Luhrmann dreamed of making the Australian “Gone With the Wind,” and so he has, with much of that film’s lush epic beauty and some of the same awkwardness with a national legacy of racism. This is the sort of film described as a “sweeping romantic melodrama,” a broad family entertainment that would never have been made without the burning obsession of its producers (Luhrmann for “Australia,” David O. Selznick for “GWTW”). Coming from a director known for his punk-rock “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” and the visual pyrotechnics of “Moulin Rouge,” it is exuberantly old-fashioned, and I mean that as a compliment…”
I think everyone needs a bit of kitsch every now and again…it makes life less cruddy and restores a bit of the magic. Here is the trailer, and a picture from my own magic adventure in Oz.