Tomorrow When The War Began – Movie Review
When I was a kid and a “young adult”, John Marsden was the king. He wrote some of the most read and acclaimed Australian books of my life and many of his books live on the enormous bookshelves at my parents’ house [and I keep his book "Everything I Know About Writing" at my house, just in case I need it].
Tomorrow When The War Began, since its release, has sold between 2 and 3 million copies in Australia alone and has been translated into at least 5 other languages.
It always seemed of the books I read as a kid, this would be the one to become a movie – but to say I was apprehensive about the idea would be an understatement. Books inherently have to be changed to become movies, and sometimes that can mean are bastardised, cut short or that they simply don’t live up to their potential.
It’s lucky for everyone then that this movie is really good!
I won’t go into the plot here, but those that have read the book will find that it sticks reasonably close to the source material, even using some of the best lines from the book in the script. And luckily for the cinematographer and set designer Marsden actually used real places for his settings in the book [with different names of course] so the backdrops are pretty much exactly what the book describes.
The film is artfully shot, although at times may feel like a Tourism Australia advert with all the long sweeping shots of the Australian landscape. It can be forgiven for this though not only because it really does look beautiful, but also because they are obviously hoping this film will sell overseas and will entice tourists.
The acting was great from the relatively unknown cast, and each character seemed to feel exactly how they did in the book. Caitlin Stasey who plays Ellie seemed to take a little while in the first act to “get into” the character, but it got better and it feels as though all the actors will grow into their roles. [Another minor issue with Ellie was I felt Stasey had a bit too much makeup on for the character, but others may not care/notice].
Some of the special effects in the film seem a little cheap, but that is simply because they were. By Hollywood standards this wasn’t made for much money, and they obviously did the best they could with the funds available. It was also good to see they used a Sydney based FX company for them.
My only major problem with the film, and it is a very slight one I suppose, was after the final scene had played and the audience was feeling that rush of “I can’t wait till the next one” some action credits played that seemed to be incredibly cliché and I felt ruined the end of the film. But all the problems I had with the film were very minor, and are more simply critiques in the hope that the sequels [when/if they are made] can excel.
It may not carry the feeling of nostalgia that I had for viewers who have not read the books, but it is a solid story about young people making the best of things while learning their way in the world and learning to deal with the horrors surrounding them.
Solid COOL rating ^_^
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What do you think? Are you a fan of the book series? Is this the modern Australian Young Adult masterpiece we’ve been looking for, or the Kickstart to Australian enre film we’ve been needing? Feedback and let us know, and make sure to check out our exclusive interviews with the Director Stuart Beattie and Star Chris Pang!
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