Crikey! This edition of cinematic adventures to inspire your wanderlust: Australia.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
RT: 97% | IMDb: 8.1
Okay, so it’s not technically filmed in Australia, but it does take place in a post-apocalyptic Outback, so I will not apologize for its inclusion. George Miller’s use of perpetual motion and practical effects is a pulse-pounding achievement worthy of the six Oscars that Collision Course should have been nominated for (see below).
The fourth film in a franchise that took a 30-year hiatus, Fury Road stars Tom Hardy as Max, and Charlize Theron as Furiousa, the real star of the film. When Furiousa escapes an evil car cult, it’s an all-out chase to get her back. Max spends the first half of the movie as a literal grunting blood bag in the pursuit, which features explosions, sandstorms, some dudes shredding electric guitars atop a flaming tractor and just about everything else you didn’t know you needed to see over and over again.
It’s one massive, chaotic, weird, bizarre and beautiful auto hunt across the Outback, featuring enough action to make anyone feel the need to binge Downton Abbey for a few days after, just to calm down a bit. But you won’t. You never will.
Oh, what a day… what a lovely day!
Finding Nemo (2003)
RT: 99% | IMDb: 8.1
If the desert finds you longing for a little more color, look no further than Disney/Pixar’s film about a father whose wife and children are murdered, leaving him with one son left in the wor—
Ahem. Excuse me. Definitely wasn’t just wiping my tears. Anyways, when the last remaining son is captured, the father’s love takes him through the perilous Great Barrier Reef to find—
Ahem. Dangit, Pixar. Anyways, the father, Marlin, is a clown fish, you see. He befriends some turtles. Also Dory, who can’t remember much, and though her disability isolates her from those she loves most, her good nature allows her to assist the grieving fathe—
Alright, enough! Know what? You’ve seen it anyway. Let me go to a corner and pull my life together before Finding Dory destroys it all again this weekend. I’m done with this.
A noteworthy mention, however, is the advances in Pixar’s tech we’ll see in the upcoming sequel. If you thought Nemo was impressive, new algorithms in lighting and motion will make Dory virtually photorealistic. If that’s still not enough, you can head to the Great Barrier Reef and experience it up close and personal on Highlights of Australia’s Coast.
At least no one will see your tears underwater.
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002)
RT: 53% | IMDb: 5.4
If you missed out on this Oscar-worthy masterpiece, it goes like this: Satellite blows up, sends beacon to Earth. A gargantuan crocodile is straight chillin’ in a pond when said beacon falls right in front of him. So he swallows it. Like a total champ.
Coincidentally, Irwin is attempting to rescue the same croc, while the CIA and terrorists also have their eyes on the fallen beacon. The entire situation becomes one big… collision course. See? Masterpiece.
Irwin eludes his foes, fights a terrorist atop a moving truck (and downs him with a venomous snake), throws dynamite at stuff and lassos a freaking airplane right to the ground. All while addressing the camera as though it were just another taping of the show.
Seriously, go watch this right now. You will not be sorry.
RT: 55% | IMDb: 6.6
Much like he did with Gatsby, director Baz Luhrmann divided audiences over fantastical moments displayed at an uneven tone and pace. It’s one of those instances where the trailer was better than the movie, but damn if that trailer wasn’t gorgeous.
When a snobbish Nicole Kidman inherits a stupid amount of estate in the Land Down Under, she uproots from her English home and heads for Faraway Downs, where her heart of ice is melted by a young Aboriginal boy and a cattle drover (Hugh Jackman sporting his rarely-heard Aussie accent).
As they move across the Australian landscape to cinematography that rivals Revenant, Lady Sarah (Kidman) and the Drover (seriously, they didn’t give him an actual name) strike up a romance reminiscent of something you’d see in a Golden Age film.
Whether you hate or love it, one thing is for certain: Luhrmann is a creative master. His knack for hyperbolizing emotion to strike a nuanced, personal chord is a brilliant balance of conceptual contrast wrapped in an epic visual feast. You might get sick of the sap, but you won’t deny the beauty that is Australia.