With mild trepidation, I sat down to watch this 165-minute old-fashioned epic. Initially, I didn't find the story interesting as the laborious first act played out, but once the character introductions were out of the way, the pacing improved and it became moderately entertaining. Female audiences will drool over the topless shots of a chiseled Hugh Jackman, and action junkies will enjoy the third act, but the lack of chemistry between the two leads nearly ruins it. The best and most likeable character is young Nullah (Brandon Walters), who provides the voiceover narration and is the only breath of fresh air in an otherwise forgettable epic.
The AVC-encoded 1080p presentation is outstanding with inky blacks and phenomenal shadow detail. Colors saturation is spot-on with a wide assortment of hues, especially the dry and dusty landscapes of the Australian outback. Detail wavers at times, resulting in some occasional softness, but these instances are minimal in the overall production. The CGI is blatantly obvious and artificial with the high-resolution format, but those with smaller displays shouldn't be as distracted as I was.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is first-rate with an active and dynamic soundfield. The first act is mainly dialog-driven, and it comes through crystal clear and intelligible. The subsequent acts provide a more robust experience with stampeding cattle, herds of horses, and action-packed war sequences, which give the subwoofer and rear speakers quite a workout.
The HD bonus features include two deleted scenes, a promotional piece on the film and shooting locations, nine behind-the-scenes featurettes, and two theatrical trailersone of Australia and the other of 2008 Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire.
At almost three hours long, you have to really love the main actors' previous work or really want to see the beautiful Australian countryside to enjoy the film. The movie tries to create that epic feel found in films such as Gone With the Wind and Pearl Harbor, but the entertainment value falls more towards the latter, which isn't a good thing. It does look and sound great and is worth a rentalbarely.
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Studio: 20th Century Fox
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector
Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics