The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

GOOD­NESS, what a fuss. Prob­a­bly the big­gest, most ex­pen­sive film made on our own soil about us, by us, came to the sil­ver screen with ex­pec­ta­tions higher and wider than the Ti­tanic. Sim­i­larly, from the over­con­fi­dent hype, the adop­tion of the prop­erty by Tourism Aus­tralia and the fact di­rec­tor Baz Luhrmann was said to be still fu­ri­ously edit­ing and darn­ing into the wee hours un­til the last pos­si­ble mo­ment, the scene was set for the film to un­leash hell, as Rus­sell Crowe might have put it. But while Aus­tralians took to the film like din­goes to dog­meat ( who doesn’t want to see a Gone with the Wind scale epic about their own coun­try?), Amer­i­cans yawned and stayed away in droves. Star Hugh Jack­man, who proved him­self the com­plete all-rounder by singing and danc­ing his way through a gig as host at the re­cent Academy Awards, quipped that Robert Downey Jr was nom­i­nated as a Cau­casian Amer­i­can play­ing a white Aus­tralian play­ing an African Amer­i­can in Tropic Thun­der , while Jack­man, an Aus­tralian play­ing an Aus­tralian in a movie called Aus­tralia , was merely host­ing. OK, so the world won’t ac­claim a film on de­mand. But if you missed this at the cin­ema and want to see what the fuss is about, you may be sur­prised and de­lighted, or you may want to throw things. Aus­tralia po­larised audiences and crit­ics, so here’s your chance to find out if it’s a mess, a mas­ter­piece or some­thing in be­tween. And don’t be, um, fooled by the DVD’s of­fi­cial release date: April 1.

Ian Cuth­bert­son EX­TRAS: Two deleted scenes

( M) 20th Cen­tury Fox ( 175 min­utes) $ 32.95

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