Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)
Director: Stuart Beattie
Starring: Caitlin Stasey, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lincoln Lewis, Deniz Akdeniz, Phoebe Tonkin, Ashleigh Cummings, Chris Pang, Andrew Ryan, Colin Friels
First thing everyone wants to know, is it any good? Yes it is. Also you should go to see it and not only not download it, also tell your friends not do to so also as it would be a shame to have this film come out and not have any follow up to it as it really deserves it.
OK, now for the obligatory Red Dawn reference or everyone would whinge. Yes, they are similar, but I like this one more as it is not just some Reagan era Commie Bashing from the 80s and you do feel ownership of the story more in this movie.
There have been some changes in between the book and the movie, but that is often the case with adaptations and it would have gone for about an hour longer if they had to do all that walking and riding bikes around.
Also there were a couple of big character changes, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone.
I was surprised in that there seemed to be a lot more soldiers in this movie than I remember from the book, something about having more immediate danger that is only really hinted at in original story.
I liked the fact they used an actual model for the bridge and didn’t just fake it all with computer graphics, which might have meant they could have had a bigger explosion, but it wouldn’t have looked the same way on screen.
Caitlin Stasey as Ellie is a good fit for the role and it would have been hard for her to take on a character people feel so strongly towards. I have read that Caitlin had not read the series before she auditioned for the role, but I think she works on it the role and I look forward to seeing more of her in the future.
Rachel Hurd-Wood is great and when I first saw her cast in the role of Corrie, I was sad as I knew what was going to have to happen to her during the story. Her part seems a bit underplayed in the movie I thought.
Licoln Lewis as Kevin was also excellent and even got a bit more time in the movie than in the original story, also more of him cracking up which you don’t actually get to see until later in the series, which helped develop his character more.
Deniz Akdeniz nails it as Homer, even from the first scene, which explains a lot more about him than it took several different stories from the book to do so. I liked the scenes of him wrestling with Ellie after he was covered with oil and having to get between Lee and Kevin when they have a fight. I know if they make more movies there might not be the same cast in the roles, but it would be a shame not to have Deniz playing this role.
Phoebe Tonkin as Fi really seems to get a lot more screen time in the film story than I remember in the book, even to the point where she’s having a chat with Ellie in the petrol tanker. I did like introductory scene with her and her mum in the beauty salon.
Chris Pang as Lee is also great and another role that had to be spot on as he has a lot of important things to say in the book. There was a bit more foreshadowing with him whacking a snake with a big stick in a way you don’t really see him do until later on in the series also.
Ashleigh Cummings has a difficult role as Robyn is it would be hard to be sincere about her character’s devotion to God in way audiences would connect with. I did like the scene where her, Ellie and Corrie were trying to convince her father to be allowed to go on the camping trip as they looked so serious about it.
Andrew Ryan as Chris was also a role that I thought was expanded from the book, even to the point where he was doing one-liners “aren’t dogs funny”, a lot more explicit drug use than I remember from the book where he was a bit more sneaky about it and he did get to be dramatic in the scene where Ellie had a go at him for falling asleep on watch (pretty much how I remember from the book.)
Collin Friels also shows up as Dr Clements, the dentist who treats Lee in town and do a few of the parents in the early scenes.
There has been a lot of talk about the invaders being specifically Asian in the movie whereas in the book they were not identified. I don’t really think this could be helped and I am sure that the film maker was not trying to stir up the whole Yellow Peril/White Australia Policy/Boat People issues again just for the sake of publicity for the movie.
From when the books came out to when this movie was made there has been more happen than I ever thought possible. With the first book in the series being released seven years before 9/11 and in a time where terrorism and talks of insurgents and suicide bombings were not that commonplace, until today when you are sick in the heart of hearing about them, it could not be more different.
For the rest of it I thought it worked out pretty well, with only a couple of “Jeez!” moments like the explicit First Fleet reference - really! As If people couldn’t work that out and bizarrely the appearance of the rocket propelled grenade on Lee’s shoulder at one point.
Not too sure about the guns at all, it was one of the main things in the book that they could never really go head-to-head with the soldiers as they did not have the firepower until right near the end of the series. In this sense the adaptations may end up going off in a different direction from the books, but it still should be good to see how they end up.