Just got back from watching Kokoda, as you would, today being ANZAC Day and all. I went in really wanting to like this movie, and the start was very good, the voice-over explained the situation and the opening scenes introduced us to the characters, though I really didn't like the opening "dream sequence".
Unfortunately I left the film feeling somewhat underwhelmed. There are only a few positives I can really take from the movie. The performances were great and the cinematography was at times brilliant, but there were many things that I didn't really like at all. The first was the hand-held camera. It just moved around too much, and even made me feel somewhat dizzy (first time a film had done this to me). The hand-held combined with lots of tight close ups just didn't work for me. Made the film very hard to follow, I actually had to take my eyes off the screen during the action scenes.
The characters were underdeveloped. I really didn't care what happened to them, partly because we didn't really get to know them, but more because this was just a few blokes who got seperated from the main body. This wasn't the battle that halted the Japanese, this was pretty much inconsequential for the war (though obviously not to the people involved).
I guess the main reason I'm dissapointed is that I was sort of expecting something as defining as Peter Wier's Galipoli (also about a small part of a large war). This film about an equally iconic piece of Australia's history somehow lacks the gravitas that the occasion demands. Kokoda is a commendable film, but that name carries with it high expectations, and I'm afraid to say, mine weren't met.
Oh, and a word of warning - if you didn't like The Thin Red Line and it's obsession with palm fronds waving in the air, this won't be your film. It manages to fit in a lot of waving palm fronds, spiders, centipedes and various other minutae in it's 90 minute run time.