For all its wonderful images, for all of its good intentions, this just comes off as yet another disgustingly one-sided, over-glorified, self-promoting propaganda.
The message is simple, "All Japanese fighting on the Kokoda Track were sadistic, malicious f*** sticks who enjoyed gutting every last Aussie troop, cutting their throats before beheading them." Not only does Kokoda pick up on "Gallipoli"'s only flaw (that the enemy are faceless, nameless, and apparently inhumane), but manages to prove quite the opposite to Weir's masterpiece. Instead of giving us a perfect film with one flaw, we have a horrible mess with one redeeming feature.
Let's start off with this: we're, without any comfortable adapting to the characters, introduced to these apparently quite laid back, two-dimensional people who we never... EVER get to sympathize with. We're kept at such a distance that even when we could so easily relate to the characters, they find a way to keep us away. That alone is a sickening feature, as it drives us from the very plot, helps the horrible pacing to leave us with a lasting impression, and makes it so much easier to see the contrast between an overtly sentimental ending and an otherwise lackluster body of a film.
In other words, it drags us through a painful journey (not just for us, but apparently for them) and just as it should end, we're thrown into another eye-roller of a skirmish that ends faster than it began. So, for the as yet STILL uninformed: when it should end, it starts up again, only to end when we expect more. S***! It's just a confusing and agonizing pace!
Which brings me to the ultimatum: this is meant to educate us on the events of the Kokoda track. It doesn't come close. Not only does it detail a very small, insignificant part of the campaign (sprinkling a little "mateship" on top in an attempt to make it relevant), but it succeeds in doing the one thing a film as important as this should be does, it makes us NOT care.
Honestly, my eyes were constantly glued to my watch the entire time. The audience around me, all proudly Australian, bickering as they came in about how great the film is going to be, groaned, moaned, and whined in disappointment as every one of the painful ninety-five minutes droned on (for a short running time, it felt like Apocalypse Now: difference being that Apocalypse Now was a good film and deserved the three hours it got) and on to the point where suicide could wholeheartedly be an alternative should it be mandatory for this film to be watched.
Though, considering how much the TV has been advertising this trash, I'd say it is mandatory, in a subliminal sense of the word.
Watch if you like pretty images. Though you'd do better watching The Constant Gardener or Gallipoli anyway, since they have superior cinematography and ACTUAL plots.