Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Tomorrow, When the War Began</strong> (2010)

(In theaters, September 2010) Chances are good that you will never see Tomorrow, When the War Began in North-American theaters: Despite its generous production values and good action sequences, this is an Australian production based on a series of young-adult books largely published for Australian audiences.  (I was lucky enough to be in Australia when it was released, with a strong marketing push that included public transit buses plastered with the film’s promotional art.)  A quick summary of the film would probably be something like “Red Dawn for Australian teenagers”, as a group of plucky teen protagonists comes back from a quick bush holiday to discover that their country has been taken over by a foreign invader.  Stuck behind, they strike back… with the expected action sequences and fast-paced growing-up that active resistance involves.  As such, it’s really not bad: Some of the writing feels forced and everyone keeps making stupid decisions to advance the plot, but the entire film is entertaining, and many sequences pack some punch.  The characters are sympathetic, and the development of the links between the six protagonists is fascinating to watch.  A few details feel different from the Hollywood standard: The emerging leader of the group is female, she gets involved in a romance with a male of Asian origins, and the ending isn’t a triumph as much as it’s a victory with potentially dramatic consequences.  As a piece of slick blockbuster entertainment, Tomorrow, When the War Began is ripe for worldwide success… pending distribution deal and favourable word-of-mouth.  As for the rest of the series, there are five more books in James Marsden’s “Tomorrow” cycle and three more in the “Ellie Chronicles”: even if the rest of the series isn’t adapted, the story as written will always be there.  Will the film ever make it to North America, even as a straight-to-DVD film?  I’d bet on it.  There’s certainly many worse home-grown movies out there.

4 thoughts on “Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)”

  1. James Marsden is a national treasure ! He has given us a series of books which are thought provoking and inspiring .
    I thought that the film was going to be painful to watch and I could not have been more wrong .
    The scenery alone reminds us of the abundant beauty in our back yards . It is no small wonder that Australians are taking Hollywood over ; the cast of TWTWB gave stellar performances !

    1. Hello Heather,

      I enjoyed watching the film while I was in Australia –I hope the film eventually finds a North American audience, even if it’s through streaming or video on demand (The only way to legally see the film in America at the moment seems to be by importing the expensive Blu-Ray version.) Looking around, I also see that a second and third installment have been announced for 2012-2013. Not bad!

  2. The author of the ‘Tomorrow’ series is actually John Marsden, and there are actually seven books in the series (not including the ‘Ellie Chronicles’). While I enjoyed the film, the novels are ten times more interesting and imaginative.

    1. Thanks for the corrections; I have modified the review text in consequence.

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