Tomorrow When The War Began Review

By Julia Teen

Fans of the original John Marsden series take note: this movie actually does justice to the Tomorrow When The War Began book, a rare accomplishment for a film. Not to get all tall poppy on you, but what is an even rarer accomplishment is for an Australian action film to be of such calibre. Budget was definitely not spared in the making of this flick, and some of its action scenes.

For those who didn’t grow up with the book that was first published in 1993, TWTWB is set in the fictional town of Wirrawee, through the eyes of the protagonist; Ellie Linton. Ellie and her friends go on a camping trip to an isolated part of the countryside that they fondly dub; hell, on what they think is going to be a relaxing prelude to the next school term. Upon returning home they discover that their houses are empty, their parents missing and a foreign army has invaded their town.

What is important to note is that in the original series, throughout the seven books Marsden never references the origin of the invaders, whereas in the film we learn that the army that has taken over Wirrawee is of Asian nationality.

What’s interesting is that both the books and now the film never reference much of what is happening outside of the town so it can be interpreted that Marsden never intended his works to be political, and as it appears, neither does director Stuart Beattie.

As a personal fan of the books, something I found to be particularly pleasing was that the scripting of the film hadn’t been altered very much from the original lines spoken by Ellie, Homer, Corrie, Kevin, Fiona and Lee. Hearing the exact lines from the book spoken out loud took me back to reading the books, devouring each one as they came out each consecutive year.

One criticism of the film that has been bandied around is that it looks like one long episode of Home and Away, presumably because two of the top billed actors – Caitlin Stasey and Lincoln Lewis – are from Neighbours and Home and Away. The character of Homer, played by Deniz Akdeniz is very well cast though, and a stand out of the movie.

TWTWB is a very entertaining and thrilling film, that keeps you on the
edge of your seat and at the same time, makes you laugh and cry. The big
question is though – will there be more? We’ve got another six books to go!