I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic literature and films. Started with Alas, Babylon in school and continues to this day with a fascination with what life will be like after. So, you can imagine why I loved ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’.
Tomorrow When the War Began: Movie Review and Brief Summary
Tomorrow, When the War Began is a slick film rendition of John Mardsen’s book, the Tomorrow Series. It’s the story of 7 Australian teenagers who go camping in the bush, and come back to a Red Dawn type situation – their country overrun with a foreign army (they never say Chinese, but you infer it from all the Asian characters in the bad guy camp and the need to repopulate Australia with the dense population of the far East).
It’s full of teenage angst (not Twilight levels, thank goodness), big explosions, and pseudo-hip movie montage music. Almost like Breakfast Club meets Red Dawn…but not that cool.
Tomorrow When the War Began: Brief Summary
Ellie (the main character) and her friends decide on a last chance camping trip before school starts. The surprising thing is that they quickly were packed up and ready to go (how many American teens or teens, in general, are that prepared for camping!). They even have a couple of rifles with them. They go to the bush and during their time away, Australia is invaded, but they don’t have real knowledge until they return to find their parents gone, no communication (even the HAM radio is silent), and empty houses.
Once the kids begin to devise a plan to find out what happened, a few heads into town to see the camp, and Ellie sees her parents. Someone is made an example of how not to fight authority, and the kids run – only to be chased by the invading force.
One of the characters has to experience death firsthand, and the aftermath leaves said character searching for answers about life and death.
A poignant moment in the film is when a small band of our intrepid teenagers is running through town (where no sentries seem to be posted in a town that they are occupying), a patriotic style wall hanging is seen of another time in Australia’s history when the beaches were invaded by a foreign power).
Unlike the original Red Dawn, this movie is much slicker, dependent on a lot more special effects and unrealistic night lighting, and cute kids. The storyline is not as gritty, there’s really very little patriotic spirit amongst the group, but a lot of angst. But when the teens decide to fight back, they fight back in one big, bold move.
Final Thoughts About Tomorrow When the War Began
Overall, the movie isn’t bad. Sure, unrealistic things happen, but at least the girls’ hair gets greasy :) It really wasn’t bad for a teenage movie. There’s very little swearing, no sex (talk of it, and one bathing suit camera focus), and the violence is tame in comparison to American thrillers. I’d hate to say that because the girls are the main characters in this movie it’s been toned down and more teenage romance put in, but that’s exactly what happened. However, it doesn’t overpower the message.
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