PATRICIA SMITH: Australia, The Movie, A Nice Treat
My non-horsy friends failed to tell me that there are horses in the epic movie "Australia."
So I was pleasantly surprised with the beautifully filmed scenes of wild horses running when I saw the movie a few weeks ago.
The movie is worth the price of admission just for the stunning cinematography and well, yes, the scene of Hugh Jackman stripped to the waist. Ladies, if you've ever had a Drover fantasy, this is the movie for you. Jackman has been doing some major weight lifting since his Broadway days. He was named sexiest man of the year and yeah, baby, he deserves it.
And no, it's not just a chick flick. Guys, you will be queuing up to work for the boss lady (Nicole Kidman) after seeing her in jodhpurs and riding boots.
This isn't a movie review. It's just a suggestion that if you need a break from the holiday hustle and bustle, take in the movie.
Before you get too excited, let me just say, it "ain't" no Man from Snowy River when it comes to action scenes. You kind of have to get past a few things. One is that the horse Nicole Kidman rides looks like it needs to be in the equitation ring, not on a cattle drive. But then, the director (Baz Luhrmann) probably needed a horse that Kidman could ride (maybe it's her horse.) Watch her post and you can tell she has never gone on a cattle drive, much less ventured out of a riding ring.
And I suspect that the scenes of Jackman galloping are computer-generated as they are always shot from the same angle with the look of someone riding a fake horse -- pumping arms and looking like they aren't really moving.
OK, and some of the scenes look a little fake too. Like the tree they dance under on the cattle drive. And the story line could be more succinct instead of trying to incorporate so many sub-plots.
But having said all that, the performances of Brandon Walters (Nullah), who plays the half-Aboriginal grandson of David Gulpilil (King George), steal the show. Every kid will want the Paint horse that Nullah rides in the movie. One movie review said that Walters has never acted before.
If his eyes don't captivate you, nothing will. And King George is an ever-present Aboriginal spirit that gives you an insight into his culture. Yoga lovers will particularly admire his stance.
It is a very long movie, so be sure to grab some popcorn and a soda on your way in. Then be ready to be transported to northern Australia in the 1940s.
Afterward (if you're a horse person), you'll probably want to watch "The Man from Snowy River" again on DVD just to re-live those great down-hill galloping scenes.
Patricia Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org?
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