I went to see this film at the pictures expecting a sweeping period drama romantic epic and was not at all disappointed. While in the opening minutes the film is very muddled in finding its stance with over-the-top comedy and a very fast-paced narrative, when the story focuses on Faraway Downs and Lady Ashley's desire to keep her dead husband's livlihood alive, the film quickly settles. The main problem of the film is its length and the fact that Baz Luhrmann tries ever so hard to make an ode to Australia by cramming in as much about Australia's often forgotten role in the Second World War with the cattle drive to provide beef for the military and the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese, as well as highlighting the prejudice and racism against the aboriginees by the whites, and also mashing together several feature film storylines that could have made a single film on their own, the film can be quite a handful to take in upon first viewing. However, when all put together the film is rich with history and backstory that to remove any of the subplots would in fact ruin the overall experience of the film. In terms of viewing, with a classic story, superb acting all around even by Hugh Jackman and natural landscapes that leave you breathless, Australia is well worth a look anyway.
On Blu-ray, the film is even more spectacular, with the scenery of Australia looking even more magical, coupled with a magnificent score that is even more effective with the DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital audio formats in 5.1 Surround Sound. Truly, this is a film along the lines of The Lord Of The Rings and Avatar that is meant to be viewed on Blu-ray with a 40+" HD Ready television with a great many scenes deserving of the highest definition to watch, whether it's the cattle stampede towards the cliff, the bombing of Darwin or the haunting look after the port has been bombed.
In terms of the special features, Australia has some insight into the film's production with featurettes on the design of the era, the cinematography and score and other areas, but nothing worthwhile. There are no HD Bonus Contents, no Picture-In-Picture Mode, no Movie IQ or Maximum Movie Mode. The deleted scenes add nothing to the story shown at the cinema and the trailers for the film and other later releases are okay but not needed, the trailer for Australia in HD is pointless if you've BOUGHT the film in HD.
Really, the only strength of the product lies on the wonderful look and overall end product of the film, but by gollybthe end product is pure excellence. It is a film with a story you are bound to have seen before, the characters aren't that original, but there is no doubt this is the romantic epic of the '00's, and in terms of watching this film, you'd be a fool to pass up on watching this in stunning Blu-ray.