Australia20th Century Fox (Blu-ray)
A romantic action-adventure epic set in Australia prior to World War II that centers on an English aristocrat who inherits a large ranch. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle drover to protect her ranch. Together they experience four life-altering years, a love affair and the bombing of Darwin during World War II.
I’m a big fan of Baz Luhrmann and I was excited to see him return to the screen with something that appeared to be this epic. Ultimately I thought this was a good film, but it fell short of my expectations. The film does have a very epic feel to it but the character development just didn’t make me feel the emotional attachment that I think the film intended. This made the broad arc of the film not nearly as engaging as I would have hoped. Still, it is beautifully shot and has a nice sense of humor and adventure to it.
This film has a very interesting visual style to it that translates quite well to Blu-ray. The color palette has been stylized quite a bit and you can even see some signs of artificial coloring going on in the skylines and backdrops. At times this can be a tad distracting but I wouldn’t expect much else from Luhrmann. Detail can be exquisite in tighter shots and close ups and even longer shots look good. Some of the CG is a bit soft but it rarely distracts. Overall this is a great presentation.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is very engaging with a solid bottom end and nice dynamic range. The film’s score is quite captivating and really draws you in to the action and drama onscreen. Spatial design is first rate and the track has a very open quality with great presence and use of the surround soundstage. Dialogue always sounds natural in tone and timbre and imaging across the mains is dead on.
Extras revolve around the film’s production and look at every facet. You also get a look at Australia including its rich history and people. Some deleted scenes and trailers are also included.
While not quite as engaging as Luhrmann’s other films, Australia is still a good ride and a beautifully shot film. I was hoping Fox would use this release as an opportunity to release his other films on Blu-ray as a tie in but unfortunately I guess we’re going to have to continue to wait.