Featured In Issue 139, March/April 2009

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Some violence, a scene of sexuality and brief strong language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Baz Luhrmann
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Australia is an epic and romantic action adventure set on the brink of World War II. When an English aristocrat (Kidman) travels to this faraway continent, she meets a rough-hewn cattle driver (Jackman) and an enchanting Aboriginal child (Walters). This unlikely trio joins forces and embark on a transforming journey, driving a herd of cattle across hundreds of miles of the world's most beautiful, yet unforgiving terrain. When their world is torn apart by powerful enemies, they must try to find each other amidst the bombing of the City of Darwin, by the Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurette Australia: The People, The History, The Location (SD 07:01); behind-the-scenes featurettes on photography, production design, costume design, locations, cinematography, sound, editing, music, and visual effects (HD 71:32); two deleted scenes (HD 2:58); two theatrical trailers; and up-front previews.

The 2.35:1 1080p AVC picture quality is superb, with wonderful location- and stage-shot photography that perfectly projects the period's historic visual character. Resolution is excellent with outstanding sharpness and clarity. Close-ups reveal extremely fine facial expressions, skin pours, perspiration, and hair details, as well as textures of clothes and structures. Contrast is excellent as well, with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow details. Color fidelity is rendered with natural hues and solid saturation. Fleshtones appear perfectly accurate. The natural visual effects design enhances the sense of reality augmented with exceptional computer-generated imagery (CGI) effects. The picture is appealingly dimensional throughout. This is a spectacularly visual picture that is beautifully rendered. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is nicely produced, with superb atmosphere sound effects that were recorded with a surround microphone to capture the dimensional sounds of the outdoor environment, with wind and animal sounds. Dialogue is nicely produced, even that which is ADR recorded. Sound effects and Foley are perfectly integrated into the scenes, for heightened realism. The orchestral music score is well recorded with a wide and deep soundstage and excellent instrumental timbre response. The music and effects project an enveloping holosonic® soundfield, with excellent directionalized phantom imaging all around, including the center surround back. Bass response is solid, and at times deep and powerful, below 25 Hz in the LFE .1 channel, such as the cattle drive through Darwin. The SPL is loud during a number of scenes, with impressive dynamic sound effects, such as the thunderstorm and Japanese air attack. There is even a sense of height directionality in these scenes. This is a well-produced and often captivating soundtrack that effectively complements the storytelling. (Gary Reber)