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BMZ Review: Australia: Land Beyond Time
By Ross Anthony

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Land Down Under
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: May 2002
Rating:  

     

Category: Reviews

Slow-mo kangaroos speed hop across the countryside captured in beautiful long cuts. When the camera runs alongside, you can see right into their eyes.

Unfortunately, too soon we fly to the dry, barren outback, cracking into unattractive rocks and cliffs.

Back to the animals, a momma koala carries junior on her back up a tree ... simply charming. And then the crocs.

This is a documentary of traditional style; a narrator educates our ears while our eyes gaze. The picture shifts to a computer animation of the Antarctic split. Though hardly impressive, the land mass division point is made. Back to the animals - which far and away give the most life (no pun intended) to the production. The majestic roos and cute koalas take center stage - surprisingly evolved from the same marsupial possum.

Then all attentions migrate to the vast desert ecosystem comprised of honey ants, ant-eating lizards, a six foot lizard that can outrun a human, the platypus, marble-eyed frogs, fish, a frenzy of birds and pelicans, and the water/dust cycle that rules their lives from reproduction to death. A sweeping storm front moves in in time-lapse, spectacular.

The title of the production unfairly implies a more comprehensive look at Australia. I was actually expecting its political history or at least a look into its people -- aboriginal to modern. These are not among the goals of the film which is at its best bringing to the big screen the natural wonder of some very beautiful and curious creatures mustering along in inhospitable environments. Slight disorganization and the barren wasteland sequence belie the picture's total effect and hamper its conclusion. Still, a very good way to see some of the grounds and critters of the land down under.

Fun Fact not in the film (but in its press notes):
The kangaroo retained its name from the aborigines. When European settlers first encountered the exotic creature, they asked..."What is it?" The Aborigines replied, "Kangaroo." (Which translates to "I don't understand.")

Directed by David Flatman.
Produced by Living Pictures (Australia)/Houston Museum of NS, Museum of Science Boston, Cincinnati Museum Center, Denver Museum of NS, and Museum Victoria in Australia, Australian Film Finance Cor, New South Wales film and TV (c) 2002.

Grade ...................................................B+

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation.



Copyright (C) 2002.
Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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