What a great idea: Baz Luhrmann’s Australia turned into a miniseries. One of the most ridiculous films in history expanded and re-released in pieces. What a bad idea. And what a bad series.

Faraway Downs, available on Disney, is one of the most Martian television projects of recent times. So much so that I thought its existence was a joke. What need does anyone have to see Australia again? Did those responsible not have enough in 2009? 14 years later, Baz Luhrmann will have to read the same humiliating criticism from then… and some more.

On the other hand, Faraway Downs makes some sense. It is nothing more than the reassembly of material already filmed and post-produced. What if it finds a new audience now? It’s a kamikaze proposal, but we’ve seen stranger things. Spoiler: it goes wrong.

At the time Australia was considered a maximalist and histrionic idiot. Two adjectives on which Baz Luhrmann has based a filmography with titles as powerful as Moulin Rouge or Elvis, but which on that occasion did not work. The ambitions of Australia’s Great Australian Epic Movie remained just that, ambitions. Its protagonists, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, stopped talking about it shortly after the premiere.

A couple of years after its highly touted release, Australia had been conveniently forgotten. And he should have stayed in the well of oblivion. Luhrmann’s film is not Heaven’s Gate or Blade Runner 2049. It is not a film of sufficient quality to be vindicated beyond its initial commercial failure. Already in 2009 Australia was so bad that it wasn’t even worth joking about. The exact same thing happens to Faraway Downs.

One of Australia’s most failed attempts, that of maintaining various narrative tones facing time, in Faraway Downs is revealed to be one of the worst script, direction and editing decisions of all time. What in the film were small acts that were consumed in succession, in the series are independent episodes. Thus, the first episode of Faraway Downs is a comedy about a posh lady (Nicole Kidman) misplaced among tough country men led by Hugh Jackman. Two episodes later comes the epic (with a supernatural touch) and then the drama with a social touch, in case there was any genre left to play. It’s as if they were episodes of different series and none of those series are good.

Furthermore, in 2023 it is difficult not to see Kidman and Jackman’s work in Australia (sorry: in Faraway Downs) as exercises in self-parody: she has the most artificial face of her entire career (shortly later she would admit that she overdid it with botox) and he It looks like something out of a stripper calendar. Under other circumstances, Baz Luhrmann could have made gold from so many contradictions and excesses on screen, but it seems that in 2008 the Australian director wanted to make a serious film. I wonder if in 2023 Faraway Downs wants to be a serious series. For me it’s just a grotesque and unnecessary circus.