You don’t see that often either: a feature film is released again as a series in a longer version. The first trailer for “Faraway Downs” shows Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman having dramatic and also emotional adventures in the outback.
“Faraway Downs” is titled “Australia – The Series” in Germany, which of course makes it much clearer what we’re dealing with here: “Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann has re-edited his epic 2008 cinematic adventure “Australia” and expanded it with previously unseen footage – and the result is now coming to Disney Plus as a six-episode mini-series.
“Australia – The Series” will launch on Disney+ on November 26, 2023. Baz Luhrmann had announced in 2022 that he would be remaking his visually stunning cinematic epic – telling a “different version of this story, one with different layers, nuances and even alternative plot twists that we’ve now been able to work out in the episodic format. “
“AUSTRALIA – THE SERIES”: NEW VARIATION ON THE FAMILIAR STORY
So while “Australia – The Series” is based on the same material as the feature film, it is now “a new variation on ‘Australia’ for audiences to discover,” The Hollywood Reporter quotes the filmmaker as saying. In addition to the aforementioned changes in the plot and additional scene material that Luhrmann shot for “Australia” at the time but then didn’t use in the feature film, there will probably also be a new ending to see – and a new soundtrack to hear. By the way, you can stream the film “Australia” right now with a Disney+ subscription.
“Faraway Downs” is the name of the cattle ranch that English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) inherits from her late husband in “Australia.” The young woman, who had been spoiled by life until then, had only traveled Down Under in 1939 to confront her unfaithful husband – and now, after his death, she is left alone with the responsibility for the gigantic piece of land, which the unscrupulous cattle baron King Carney (Bryan Brown) wants to take away from her.
Carney believes he has an easy ride with the inexperienced Englishwoman, who is not used to the hard life in the outback. But Lady Sarah enlists the help of rugged drover Drover (Hugh Jackman), for whom she soon develops feelings – and also takes under her wing young Nullah (Brandon Walters), a child of Australian natives, from whom she learns much about the land and thus builds an ever stronger bond with her new home.
“AUSTRALIA”: POWERFUL STAGING, SUPERB IMAGERY
We gave the “Australia” feature film 3.5 out of a possible 5 stars in our FILMSTARTS review. Our verdict: “Baz Luhrmann’s bold attempt to create a monumental epic for the ages hasn’t really succeeded, but nevertheless ‘Australia’ is an old-school adventure melodrama worth seeing […]. The incredibly powerful staging and the superb images compensate for the minor weaknesses in the character drawing. “
It remains to be seen whether the series version will be able to make up for these weaknesses – what is clear, however, is that we can once again expect magnificent images and great emotions in the mini-series, now at an even more epic length than in the theatrical film with its roughly 2.5-hour running time.