Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

November 10, 2008

Epic Australia's ending revealed to the world

Posted by : Michael Lund
Hugh Jackman - dead or alive?

Hugh Jackman - dead or alive?

Why bother going to see the much hyped Australia now we all know it has a happy ending?

It's all over the media how movie-maker Baz Luhrmann's bowed to studio pressure to get rid of the sad ending where Hugh Jackman's character dies.

The UK's The Guardian is in on the story with "Kidman's outback adventure gets happy ending after studio pressure" on Monday (10 Oct 2008).

The decision was made after negative responses to the movie's initial cut at test screenings.

One reviewer said: "There is no reason to kill off Wolvie [Jackman played Wolverine in the X-Men trilogy]."

The Guardian did offer one snippet of good news. Apparently Rolf Harris has recorded a special wobble board for the opening credits.

The article quotes Rolf, aged 78, saying: "Apparently Baz Luhrmann suddenly said, 'This is crazy. We haven't got the iconic sound of Rolf Harris's wobble board on the music. We must be mad'."

(Just discovered that quote originated from AAP copy reported on the ABC's "Rolf Harris wobbles his way onto Australia" on Friday (07 Oct 2008))

Mad indeed. How could you forget Rolf's wobble board?

But regarding the ending dispute, the UK article is based largely on a report "Baz Luhrmann changes Australia's ending after bad test reviews" that appeared in several of News Ltd's Australian Sunday titles (09 Oct 2008).

The initial cut of the movie is said to run for a bladder-testing three hours (and then some) with Hugh Jackman's character The Drover dying in the final scenes.

After intense discussions with studio executives, Luhrmann was persuaded last week to go for a more uplifting ending.

Odd that, give Luhrmann's previous movie with Twentieth Century, the 2001 Moulin Rouge had star actress Nicole Kidman's character Satine dying in the final scenes, and that was an excellent movie.

The movie was hardly a failure either with the The Numbers website on movie facts and figures reporting world gross takings of $US177,686,368 for an initial production budget of $US53,000,000.

Some of the comments appearing about the change in ending are not good news for Luhrmann and co, with many already cynical of the whole movie and tourism link.

They're starting to ask whether or not Australia is a movie or just a big ad, and look what the "bloody hell" happened to the last big ad.

If this movie is going to work then surely Luhrmann should be left to end it as he sees fit. Surely he's proved himself by now.

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.