In light of the upcoming celebration of Australian Day, or Invasion Day as it is also know, I thought it a prudent time to list my top five Australian movies. Admittedly, I will be the first to express a certain amount of hesitance in regards to typical ‘Aussie’ movies. The over-use of the underdog story-line coupled with the ‘occa’ attitude so often seen in films such as ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and ‘The Wog Boy,’ are often what put me off.
In light of this, the top five films listed here are representative of the more story heavy and genre centric films of Australian cinema. However what you will notice, no matter the budget or overseas influence, is that the films display a lot of heart and possess a strong emotional centre. Let it be know though, that you will find no overt utterances of ‘struth’ or ‘crikey’ in this list.
- Starting the list off at number five is the well-known film, Babe.
Directed by Chris Noonan, Babe tells the story of a pig who wishes to be a sheep dog. Featuring the ever-lovely Magda Szubanski and American actor, James Cromwell, Babe is an emotional story filled with both comedy and drama. The effect that the film has had on a larger scale can be seen in the ready use of quotes from the film within popular culture. From Shrek to numerous inclusions on prime time animations, the phrase, ‘That’ll do pig’ and even the odd ‘Baa-Ram-Ewe’ can be see reappearing quite often.
- Coming in at number four is the perplexing movie, Young Einstein.
Directed by Yahoo Serious, Young Einstein presents an alternate history of the life of Albert Einstein, with the main exception being that he is born and raised in Tasmania. As a poor son of an apple farmer, Einstein discovers the theory of relativity while attempting to add bubbles to beer. The rest of the film follows Einstein as he travels to Sydney to patent his idea and his resulting adventures. The absurdity and almost mindless fun of this film is what makes it such an endearing watch. The charm of Yahoo Serious and his portrayal of Einstein allow viewers to easily watch the historic figure as he invents rock n’ roll, romances Marie Curie, and also stop a nuclear reactor from being built thus saving the world.
- In third place is Happy Feet.
The relatively recent, the most recent of the films in this list at least, film Happy Feet directed by George Miller makes it into this list for a mix of reasons. First and foremost of these reasons is the amazing soundtrack, where a mix of genres and new versions of classic songs feature heavily. The concept of the heart song is an incredibly sweet one that sets the film up for its main concept of fitting in and difference. This story telling, coupled with the great voice acting by Elijah Wood and Brittany Murphy, are what really make this film a stand out in amongst other animated films.
- In second place is the classic, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
The mix of camp and stunning Australian landscapes are what make this film stand out. As one of the most internationally successful of the films featured on this list, Priscilla has become a cult classic as well as a hit musical. Featuring Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, the film is not only enjoyable but it is an important one in regards to its depiction of GLBIT issues. If there were one film on this list that people have not seen, this would be the one that I would recommend watching the most.
- Finally in top spot is Strictly Ballroom.
From the genius mind of Baz Luhrmann comes Strictly Ballroom. As the first film of the Red Curtain Trilogy (the other two are Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) Strictly Ballroom is a story that is reminiscent of the classic Cinderella story. Frumpy, beginner dancer Fran (Tara Morice) is swayed into being Scott Hastings (Paul Mercurio) dance partner after his own partner ditches him because of his use of non-code dance moves. What follows is the slow transformation of Fran as she develops a stronger confidence in herself, all the while learning and in turn influencing the new way in which Scott dances.
Strictly Ballroom is a lovely, feel good movie. Through the early yet still distinct direction of Luhrmann, the film features bold colours and beautifully shot scenes. The reason this film has topped my list is purely because of the pleasure I gain from watching the film. It’s hard not to watch the movie without a small smile firmly fixed on their face.