Thursday, 5 January 2012

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" REVIEW

Dear Internet,

Today I am doing a film review, because, why not? Here we go...

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" was a book before it became a film, and the first in a long-line novels, called the "Tomorrow" series, by John Marsden and there is a glorious little moment in the film where the main character, Ellie, asks her best mate Corrie if the book she's reading is good. Corrie replies that it's "better then the film", to which Ellie says "books usually are".
Now perhaps I've got a peculiar sense of humour, but I found this very funny.

It's directed by the same guy who gave us "Pirates of the Carribean", so that should give you an idea of the type of movie to expect to see. If you're unfamiliar with this film/book/series, I'll set it out for you. And although the following might contain "spoilers", they revealed all this stuff in the trailer anyway.Farmer girl Ellie Linton (played by Caitlin Stasey, aka Rachel Kinski of "Neighbours" and Frankie of "The Sleepover Club") invites a group of good-looking friends on a camping trip to the ironically-named Oasis-in-the-outback (or somewhere wild and jungle-like in Australia) "Hell". Cue an interesting array of characters:

There is Ginger Corrie, best-mate-with-the-book, she's pleasant but ordinary, still pinkie-swears and has sex in a shearing shed (or something like that) -although this is only briefly recounted not viewed (which is either good or bad depending on what your preference is)- with her blond boyfriend Kevin.

Kevin (played by Lincoln Lewis aka Geoff Campbell in "Home & Away- is it just me or does Australia seem to have only a handful of actors which it just recycles and recycles?) said blond boyfriend; tanned pretty boy who without his looks would have few friends, one of those people with natural gift for "putting their foot in it" or "rubbing salt into new wounds", whilst every badly-timed comment is unintentionally nasty, you still think "God what a jerk".

Homer, the Greek who grew up on a shabby farm and takes the title of "bad boy" or “rebel”, handsome and handy, first seen wearing a t-shirt that says “F@#K THE POLICE” whilst shaking a copper’s hand and asking “How’s the wife?”

“Fi” next, presumably short for Fiona, is a “townie” who is incredibly pretty and endearing but believes otherwise, an idea which seems to have been suggested by her ex-“Miss Wirrawee”-beauty-pageant-queen of a mother. “I had braces for, like, 2 years. I still wear glasses.”

Robyn-the-Missionary is the fourth and final girl, and a Catholic who persuades her dad to let her go camping by saying she will be able to bring “these boys and girls closer to God”.

And lastly, we have Lee, the piano-prodigy. “Mysterious” apparently, he just seems to me to be an Asian kid who doesn’t say much and is really good at killing snakes. Hey, Whatever.

The set up of the plot is as follows: 7 friends go camping in “Hell” and when they return to their home-town of Wirrawee, Australia, their homes are empty and Ellie’s dog is dead. What’s going on? Well, their town has been invaded by some unknown army- it doesn’t really matter which; this is a character-based story and not so much about who’s invaded as it is about how these 7 teenagers deal with it. So it’s back to Hell to stick it out and figure out a plan of action. Soon they turn guerilla soldier and seek to fight back. I won't share any more spoilers, and even if you think I've shared too much, it's still worth watching- pinkie swear.

For a story which has such a simple premise, I thought it was surprisingly good. Sure, it’s blockbuster stuff, never too scary but gripping enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. The film wastes no time in getting started, which is a relief, and the potential love interests are also set up quite early too. It doesn’t ask many questions about the ethics of war or the ethics of how the group reacts and there aren’t any really moments where something really nasty happens, which makes this movie a good film for when you want to relax and be entertained. I haven't enjoyed a film from the Aussies this much since "Muriel's Wedding" which was ages ago.Okay, so some of the shots might be a bit dramatic, the characters are a bit stereotypical and all have about nine-thousand lives and the conflict is so bloodless its unbelievable. Stabs at humour are cliched and cheesy but with its optimism and light-hearted atmosphere (although odd for a war film) "Tomorrow, When the War Began" gets away with it. I really enjoyed it, liked all the characters and loved the pace and the plot. I absolutely recommend this to you.If you’ve seen it and think differently, please feel free to share your opinions.

For sure, it's brimming with stereotypes, cheese and unrealistic action sequences, but it's a great film for a little bit of excitement and escapism. See you tomorrow,

:) Willbee

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