Tomorrow, When The War Began (film)Posted on: December 16, 2013
Over this past weekend, I finally got around to watching Tomorrow, When The War Began on Netflix. I’ve been wanting to see it since it was first released here in the U.S. but just never made it a priority. Having now sat through it, I regret having not watched it sooner.
It is based on a novel with the same title, itself the first in a series of books by John Marsden. It has been described as an Australian version of Red Dawn and I find that to be particularly apt. I have, in fact, sat down to read the book and had a difficult time with it. While it is written for the young adult crowd, being Australian there are a ton of slang terms and such that I had trouble deciphering so moved on to something else. After seeing the movie, I’m definitely going to give the book another chance.
What we start with is a stereotypical group of high school age kids. We have the girl next door, the bad boy with a heart of gold, the likeable best friend, the preacher’s daughter, the stoner, the jock, the spoiled rich girl, and the kid no one knows much about. With the exception of the stoner, the group heads off for a camping trip to “Hell,” a large wilderness area that is uninhabited and basically in the middle of nowhere. During this trip, Ellie (the focus of the story and the aforementioned girl next door) sees numerous jets flying over in the middle of the night. They seems to be flying fairly low but she can’t discern where the jets would be coming from or where they are heading.
Upon returning from their trip, they visit several of their homes and find them devoid of any people. The power is out, as are the phones (landlines and cell). In some of the homes, it is evident the residents left abruptly, due to partially eaten meals still on tables and other clues.
As night falls, they see the only lights in town appear to be at the hospital and the fairgrounds. Approaching the fairgrounds, they see virtually every town resident is there, all being guarded by some foreign military force. Ellie witnesses one town resident being executed by a soldier and flees. In doing so, she is discovered and several armed soldiers pursue her. Thinking quickly, she uses a shirt from one of her group as a wick, putting it into the fuel tank of a riding lawn mower. This explodes, taking out the soldiers chasing her.
After a couple more close calls, the group decides to head back to Hell and figure out their next move. Along the way, they are joined by the stoner mentioned earlier. Upon reaching Hell, they hear a radio transmission that informs them that the foreign troops are part of “The Coalition Nations,” a group of several Asian countries that have teamed up to take over Australia’s vast natural resources.
They also learn that nearby Cobbler’s Bay is one of the main ports being used to transport troops and supplies into Australia. There is but one bridge available to get from Cobbler’s Bay to the rest of the continent and the group decides to blow it up.
All in all, this was an excellent flick. The acting was very well done and the action sequences easy to follow. I just enjoyed the hell out of this movie. If you liked Red Dawn (either the original or the remake), this film is right up your alley. While there is a fair amount of teen romance subplots, they are actually rather low-key and not made a primary focus of the story.
The movie is rather open-ended, paving the way for one or more sequels. But, the audience isn’t left hanging, either.