Friday, December 31, 2010

DVD--Tomorrow, When the War Began

or: World War III

One word to sum it up: Scary

I admit, I'll try to avoid Australian movies as much as I possibly can. While I side with their directors, who like producing thought provoking artistic features, what we've seen come out of the country in the past years has been nothing short of depressing. This year, I broke that by firstly watching Animal Kingdom, quite possibly one of the best movies of the year; then, like a lot of other teenagers, watched Tomorrow, When the War Began, the adaption of the first of John Marsden's hit series. I am part of the minority who haven't read the books (new years resolution #7), so don't expect some of that 'book to movie' comparison from me. I just want to say to all those sceptics who said 'it's only cool if you've read the books', I really enjoyed this movie.

Ellie Linton (Caitlin Stasey) and six of her friends decide to go camping in a remote place far away from their homes for a while. When they come back, they discover that their town isn't how they had left it. Their parents are gone, and there is no one to be seen. That is until they find everyone has been captured and sent to the showgrounds, sparking the beginnings of a war. The seven young adults must try to stay away from the enemy that has come upon them, but most of all, try and save their world and restore it to what it used to be, before it is too late.

The one negative thing I have to get out of the way first is the truly shocking acting. The cast is very inexperienced, as most of them have come from Aussie soaps like Neighbours or other Aussie TV programs. I read a review that claimed this movie was 'better when the cast stopped talking'. Well, that's a little harsh, but all the best moments do happen when the film is focussed on the action rather than the characters. If you can get past the acting, then you will be in for a treat. The first fifteen minutes are dedicated to being your average teen drama/comedy, and then from there on it turns into something you wouldn't expect from an Australian movie. Through the years, we have seen many films depicting concentration camps and the like from World War II, which have been quite scary. However, in one of the first scenes of war in this film, we see a concentration camp-like setup at the showgrounds, which is particularly scary because all of this could happen. Hopefully some people don't read to much into it.

This is the directorial debut from Stuart Beattie, who has written such films as Australia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and The Pirates of Carribean series. This is a large scale project for someone with no directing experience to undertake, but he, like fellow Australian debut director David Michod (Animal Kingdom), manages to handle the film with the right kind of intensity and doesn't let things blow out of proportion. Could this mean the beginning of Australians taking on Hollywood? I hope so. Given the fact that it's not only action packed and dramatic but it is delightfully funny, too, with one liners like 'that's the biggest joint I've ever lit'. The end of this movie was a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving us with the promise of a few more films coming our way. Come 2012 and 2013, you'll be seeing a couple of sequels on your screen. Which is just as well, because Australia has shown us how great they are at making action films...and I want more of them.

THE VERDICT: Awful acting can't stop this movie from being as entertaining or as thought-provoking as it is, and it serves as a good adaption as one of the most popular books of all time.



  1. I must say it sounds very intriguing.

  2. It is very intriguing. If you get a chance to see it over where you are, make sure you do!


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