Tomorrow when the War Began (Movie Review)

I was very lucky to be invited to attend a screening of Tomorrow when the War Began.  I was invited, not because of GS, but because I review books.  And Tomorrow when the War Began is based on one of the most popular series of YA novels Australia has even seen, written by John Marsden.  The books were published in the UK and did well, but Quercus have decided to relaunch them to help spread the word about the author, the books and of course, because of this movie, which has now reached our shores.

I give you the trailer:
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It is a cracking movie.  The main character, Ellie is so great and goes through a really big character development arc, but then, so does everyone else in the flick.  The weekend she decides to get a group of friends together to go camping, is the weekend an unknown enemy decides to invade Australia.  In the book we are never told who the enemy is.  In the movie they are called “coalition forces” and they look decidedly Asian.   And it is up to Ellie and her friends to stay alive in this awful time.  Not just to stay alive but to somehow do something about the invaders.

I loved the contrast between Tomorrow and the Hollywood movies we see.  Here we have competent kids who go camping in a group.  They taking fishing rods and they have their rifles with them for hunting.  They also have knives.  These are kids who live on the outskirts of Wirrawee, and most of them are farmer kids, so they are can-do types.  But they aren’t at all ready to cope with the reality of an invasion, having their homes invaded and their parents taken away.  Yes, there is much laughter and splashing and giggling and occasional kissing, but these are good kids who are dumped into a very unexpected situation.  I loved how their characters veered from being truly innocent to hardy survivalists. Bad things happen to them, yet they figure it out.

I know the movie is being promoted as dystopic, but it isn’t really.  Not yet, anyway.  It is heading towards this unknown future where politics and the lives of those still free will definitely clash in a deeply unpleasant way.  The final scenes are visually really great and makes you wonder “what happens next”.

There is action aplenty and some of the biggest explosions I have ever seen.  But then we also come to care about the characters in the movie and I know I wasn’t the only one to surreptitiously dash away a tear or two.   Again, this is vastly different from the usual Hollywood movie where the group of friends usually become so annoying you want them all to be taken by The Bad Thing.  The characters are very unique and even after a month of seeing the preview, the movie is still very vivid in my mind.

Tomorrow when the War Began is out this weekend in the UK.  If you like your movies full of action, adventure with a great cast who may surprise you in a pleasant way, I reckon you can do worse than popping out to the cinema to go and see this.

GS Reviewer: Liz

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