Even within his earliest film Strictly Ballroom (1992), which is indisputably modest in budget and story, he's going for the rousing super-sized moment. Consider the "L'Amour" sign (making its first big screen appearance, consider the hair and makeup, consider the triumphant crowd-rocking finale. Consider Paul Mercutio's ass.
Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge! (2001), which completed his aesthetic non-narrative "red curtain" trilogy of movies, were yet bigger, pricier and more successful. With each film his budgets, imagination and even the fame of his leading actors seems to increase exponentially. I worry for him a little as a result. His new film, brazenly going by the moniker of Australia stars Nicole Kidman & Hugh Jackman, two of the most famous stars on earth. It'll either be a big success or be declared a folly. This is probably as big as it gets unless his next film is called The Milky Way with a cast entirely populated by $15-25 million dollar movie stars. Even the extras will have to be household names.
Deep breaths now...
I know people have been asking me my opinion on the new trailer but I'm mostly speechless. I can sum up my reaction in basically three words which contain many more feelings.
That last refers not to the World War II explosions that end the trailer nor to the mini explosive notes mixed into the score as the showy cuts happen. It's the sound of my own heartbeat, thunderous.
Am I laying it on thick enough?
It's just that so many epics seem so desperate only to win Oscars. With Baz you know that this (Australia) is just what's inside of him. It's showy but it'll probably be damn sincere. One can't accuse any of his films of being made with awards in mind... which is more than can be said for many epics and golden hopefuls that find their way into theaters in November and December each year. It was a happy accident that Moulin Rouge!, a mad experiment, got as far as it did. It only became associated with the awards circus after it developed a feverish devoted fan base.
My greatest fear is that the new film will be stiffly weighed down by Baz & Nicole's efforts to top themselves (better not to try and top Moulin Rouge! methinks) and my greatest hope for it is that it will be every bit as thrilling in its 120+ minutes as it is in this new tiny dosage.