Around Australia – The Movie

Movie review – taken from Empire, December 2003

‘Out of Australia’ – 278 minutes, colour, pg
Director: Jerry Bruckheimer
Producers: Richard Attenborough, Jan De Bont
Starring: Richard E. Grant, Oasis, Dennis Hopper, Chow Yun Fat, Cate
Blanchett, Ricky Gervais

Some readers will have noticed Jerry Bruckheimer’s recent obsessive attempts
to break into the Irish Italian comedy market with his high concept action
movies, his most recent effort being ‘Raging Pig’ starring Rob Schneider as
the eponymous boxer who mud-wrestles dwarf taxi drivers in Crumlin. His
latest lavish high-budget production, ‘Out of Australia’, continues this

Ostensibly a sequel of sorts to August’s sleeper hit ‘Me, Myself and Boban –
Pozor! Obchodni Zachod!’ (In this movie, the hero K.T. played by Wesley
Snipes, escaped from his employers – Parallax – and travelled around Europe
to find his inner Eejit, in what was a popular coming of age adventure comedy
drama, a sort of high speed cross between ‘Minority Report’ and ‘Bridges of
Madison County’) it details the further adventures of the same character,
though he is now known as Kivin Tilja (a change which is badly explained, but
remains the source of obscure in-jokes throughout the movie). He is now
played by Elijah Wood, except for in the fantastic opening sequence where the
young Tilja, played by Micheal Elphick dicusses the nature of travel with Max
Planck, Clive Sinclair and Clive James (fine cameo performances from
Christopher Walken, Vinnie Jones and Danny DeVito, respectively).

There follows a slow build up as Tilja finds that he is The One, and has to
take his hoop to the Plains of Puhth. The digitally remastered Alec Guiness
shines as Mile Furlong, who says ‘frankly lovie, I don’t think you’ll do it’
but he gets encouragement from Miranda Hodge (Blanchett, in another weepie
performance) who tells him the hoop has got to go. He gets advice from the
Wise Women, Deliah Dorohan and Odah Cloogan (unconvincing performances from
Destiny’s Child) who tell him that it’s all “just totally like, whatever,
d’ye know what I mean like”. His faithful companions, Bilbo Fat Lee (a
heavily disguised Chow Yun Fat), Pippin Poborski (Hauer) and K-Woodbags
(Bloom), all reprising their roles from the first movie, implore Tilja to
stay, since he of course saved them at the end of the previous film, but he
resolves himself and goes in the dead of night in one of the film’s most
moving scenes.

After arriving in what is referred to only as ‘The Bloody Hot Place’ he sets
out on his journey to Plains of Puhth. There follows a set of increasingly
bizarre adventures, starting with a trek through the dark rocks of Kem Berlee
with a group of mercenaries. However, at the journey’s end they all clear off
to see the Final Of Rugby and abandon him to his fate. Tilja is left alone,
and tempted by the dark forces he goes drinking in a bar and slips on the
hoop, which makes him very drunk and he dresses up as a woman in one of the
film’s stranger scenes as he demands of the tavern keeper “Where’s my
sausage?”. Unable to defend himself, he is captured by a family of kangaroos
(played by Steve Irwin and his wife) and taken to the outback to work for

After several weeks, he escapes, but ends up stranded on a beach resort for
three months. This sequence is clearly a homage to Tom Hanks’ performance as
a basketball in ‘Beached’, and demonstrates Bruckheimer’s growing fascination
with Hanks. Tilja grows a beard, eats flies and cheap spaghetti and howls at
the moon, and is finally rescued by Thelma and Louise, with Geena Davis and
Susan Sarandon both reprising their roles without a hint of parody. In their
attempts to use him for food, sex and entertainment, they inadvertantly
activate the Gamma Hydration which changes him completely from meek, mild
mannered Tilja to The Incredible Bloke (which is in fact played by a heavily
disguised Jim Carrey) who shouts, rants and flirts until, while they are
distracted he manages to escape to the township of Kardboard, which
unfortunately is inhabited by Amazonian German women.

This part of the movie seems to have been lifted directly from the original
Star Trek series. In what clearly seems to be designed to appear like one of
the episodes from that series, the leader of the Amazons, known only as the
Bavarian, forces him to watch birds for hours every day before torturing him
with bottles of water and Pelicans. However, once again, Tilja manages to
outwit them and leaves, which brings him to the final show down in Puhth

As is the tendency with so many films these days, the final showdown is more
of a special effects showcase than any kind of meaningful denuement, and as
many films are doing this year the final fight itself when it comes is filmed
entirely in a shower using the same special effects that were perfected for
the Matrix. The final set-piece follows on from the previous movie; just when
Tilja is about to achieve delivery of the hoop and ‘get his root’, his old
nemesis Aidan McWeeney (Dennis Hopper in fine form) attemptes to teleport
into Tilja’s underpants using the Internet, but fails since of course it’s
not physically possible. He sends instead a Terminaterix, which is an
inflatable android full of hot air, and of course it leads to the inevitable
shower-bound showdown, also involving none other than Ron Spinner, Captain of
Parallax, played by Ricky Gervais in his feature film debut.

While certainly more gripping than for example, Tha Matrix: restuffed part 5,
episode 3, it does seem to be a mish mash of many movie styles, and might
represent Bruckheimer’s long stated need for approval from his parents.


Next week, sneak preview:
‘Out of Australia – the Parallax Years’
Jet Lee’s directorial debut, the working title (Matrass: Conbobulations)
gives away his desire to bring more martial arts into the series, as he
explores Tilja’s dark past at Parallax – up until now the company has been
played for laughs but may now at last be taken seriously… Apparently
starring Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone and Martin Lawrence, as well as the
series regulars.

Yeah, yeah. The real thing’s on it’s way. Give me a minute or 10. How are you
all anyway.

4 Responses to “Around Australia – The Movie”

  1. Ah Man! Says:

    This film sounds very complicated. I prefer high concept films like Alien, I mean that concept could be explained as “Jaws in space”. Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, Vice Versa, Tremors, all high concept films that need little or no exposition let alone engagement of the brain. Startling stuff. I wouldn’t rent this film. I’ll wait till its on the box in a couple of years.

  2. kevintel Says:

    Hmph. I thought it was an epic, worthy of Summer Block-busterness, given all the excitement and sheer drama, action, romance, credit card fraud… It had it all! And based (albeit loosely) on real-life events! WITH REAL PEOPLE! Maybe a bit derived but you can expect that kind of thing.

    If you waited for it to be on tv then, personally, I’d say you’ll be sitting around the tellybox every Christmas watching this, eating your snacks and chortling away with excitment.

    It’s true.

  3. kevintel Says:

    Actually, it was a Spring blockbuster.

  4. Ah Man! Says:

    Well Christmas comes but once a year, unless you’re in the spherical influence of James Bond, so maybe I can stand to hang around waiting for this film to come on the box, but by Spring you to get back atom!