This blog is about the movie, and at the same time it isn't.
It is because it is.
It isn't because I haven't seen the movie yet.
Meaning, it's not a review or commentary or rating. What is is about, is the phenomenon of the movie itself; its existence and context; as well as, and above all, its critics. It seems like Australia brought forth some of the worst of the latter, not only from 'overseas', as seen from my Australian perspective, but also locally.
What I mean by 'the worst' is probably best explained by my own approach to movie and literary criticism, which is is this: If you don't have something good to say about it, just shut up and live with it.
So you chose to go and read/watch it (whatever 'it' is), and you didn't get something you liked. So suck it up and live with it. If you knew it was probably not going to be to your liking, why did you waste your time in the first place, except to find an opportunity to jerk off with some stupid 'criticism'? Not everybody likes everything: hasn't that gotten through to you yet? The world is a varied place, and the sad truth, if only you were able to discern it, is that only assholes really do give a crap about your particular opinion. Great company you're keeping, there!
God, I detest 'critics', so please allow me to rant on for a moment or two or three. Let me delineate a few reasons for my...hmm, let's tone that down and call it 'dislike'.
It is safe to say that critics are probably the lowest form of self-styled 'profession' our civilization has brought forth. I can make this particular generalization without fear of falling into the trap of 'generalizing', because it isn't a generalization at all, but demonstrable fact, that 999/1000 critics have never done anything truly sustainedly creative in their lives. Unless you think 'criticism' is 'creative', of course; and a case might be made for it being that, given the twistedly 'creative' nature of much criticism, which appears to have no relation whatsoever to the item(s) being criticized (or, as polite and PC parlance would have it, 'reviewed').
But if that's 'creative' then so is defecating. You gotta draw the line somewhere, and 'creation' and 'criticism' are two utterly immiscible activities. They require completely different mind sets. Critics are just about as far removed from creative people as an alien from a methane swamp planet would be from your average Earth-human.
Of the remaining 1/1000 of critics (sorry: 'reviewers') about 1/100 (or and even lesser proportion) has done something creative and found him or herself to be wanting. This generates resentment of one's betters--that being those people who either haven't been found wanting, or who have the stamina and passion to persist despite continued failure and lack of social acknowledgment of their labors and talents.
A 'failed' artist who continues at his/her work despite continued 'failure' is worth more than all the 'critics' of this world combined.
The failed-creatives' resentful envy--one of the meanest and most pathetic of emotions which usually occupies and ultimately consumes what's commonly referred to as 'small minds'--produces a mindset equivalent to that possessed by almost all of the 999/1000 main body of critics, which is the desire to get as much effect and exposure with as little effort as possible. The best way to do that is to trash the work of your betters and creatively, imaginatively and probably intellectually superiors. That also gives these wallies a great opportunity to elevate themselves by implication; because if one downs those--like everybody who has worked on a large film project, for example--who have just spent months and sometimes years pouring their passion, hearts, dedication and effort and just life-time, into producing, say, a movie like Australia...this must surely lift oneself up. And, yes, many of these people get paid to do this. Unbe-f..ing-lievable!
Also, we need to realize that, while a novel is usually just the work of one individual, a movie involved hundreds and maybe thousands. And most of these people, though of course they do get 'paid' for their labors, are probably in the industry because they actually like what they're doing in preference to something else (like becoming critics maybe), and most of them will take pride in their work, which invariably involves some form of professional skill.
It's probably too much to expect from the small-minded to take that into account before they start 'trashing' a movie. You see, a movie that was made with all the best of 'artistic' intentions--no matter how flawed--but which hasn't delivered the goods (or maybe it has? just not to you!), should be looked upon not as a thing to be reviled, like a Nazi propaganda film or a porn flick, but as a missed opportunity to have done better. Especially if there were people involved who really, really wanted to make it work and be good and tell the story it was supposed to tell, or whatever...especially then a failed movie should be regarded as an occasion for somber reflection, and maybe for learning lessons from it. Is that really so hard? Does one have to spiteful and mean, just because a given movie or book just happens to appeal to a different group of people than that to which oneself 'belongs'?
But being a critic is simple and makes one feel important, and it takes no work at all. Which is why 'everybody is a critic' may be the truest of all popular sayings.
There are 'amateur critics', of course—who just talk to their friends and acquaintances, but don't habitually rant on at length on internet sites, and who definitely don't get paid!—but they are just...well, 'human' I guess. Many of them, if they sat down for a moment and thought about their dumb-ass clichés—and especially about the one that says that some novel or movie was a lot of clichés in it; which is a truism because every bit of fiction is held up by a framework of 'clichés'!—only that when you call them 'clichés', it really means that they're not your cliches... Well, these people might actually find that they're embarrassed at their own foolishness. However, you'll find no such insights in the body of 'professional' of habitual critics. No, siree! Pompous wankers, the lot.
The bottom line:
I will go and see Australia. Of course, I will. It is likely that I will like it, because looks like my kind of movie. But, hey, I also really liked The Postman! And even if I don't like it, or if it isn't what I would like it to be, or if it ends up just being so-so, I will still remain disgusted with the sight of the dismal bilge denizens it had brought to the light of day. I so wish these slitherfish would remain in their element; but I guess it is in their nature to want the exposure of the bright light of day.
After all, every 'critic' always really only talks about one thing: him or herself. What they criticize is not really at issue. Instead, the targets of their vilifications are like mirrors into the critics' souls—and what we find there occasionally is truly butt-ugly.
Since I don't like to finish on 'down' notes, I'd like to add that a lot of people appear to just love Australia. This is heartening. I like it when I see people enjoying things, and it leaves me with a desire to ensure that whatever story I tell ends up enjoyable for those capable of that emotion. If just a few of them can take that away from my own work—if enough to matter can take that with them—I will consider myself a 'success'.