Audiences Still Love Epic Films

With the release of Australia, the sprawling, big-budget Baz Luhrmann offering about the history of the land down under, the LA Times take the opportunity to explore the history of the “epic film” in America. Filmmaker Edward Zwick (who unveils his World War II drama, Defiance, in a few weeks) argues that studios have replaced their investments in sweeping epics with “visceral thrill-ride experiences” and that old-fashioned mega-stories like Lawrence of Arabia or Fitzcarraldo don’t get greenlighted as much. Still, author Susan King writes, Australia may revive audience’s interests in long, multi-generational films. Because if you’re going to spend $12 these days, you might as well get a three-hour, Herculean film out of the deal.