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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining adaption of an excellent book!
This is the film adaption of John Marsden's 1993 novel of a group of teenagers caught up in a foreign invasion of Australia. In short - it's great! Given the books popularity, I had some concerns that the film might not do it justice and it might look like `Home & Away' (Australian TV Soap) goes to war! But the actors, most with TV acting experience, do a creditable job...
Published on January 8, 2011 by John E. Larsen

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Red Dawn vs.Twilight
Good camera work, good actors, great location(s), just way too fluffy. A bit like a soap opera taking place during a third world war.
Published on April 29, 2012 by Tripper J


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining adaption of an excellent book!, January 8, 2011
By 
This review is from: Tomorrow, When the War Began (DVD)
This is the film adaption of John Marsden's 1993 novel of a group of teenagers caught up in a foreign invasion of Australia. In short - it's great! Given the books popularity, I had some concerns that the film might not do it justice and it might look like `Home & Away' (Australian TV Soap) goes to war! But the actors, most with TV acting experience, do a creditable job and aren't there solely for their looks or profile. For the most part they fit what a normal group of teens would look like and as the action kicks in they take on a suitably unkempt look anyway. Of the key characters, Homer was very good and most importantly, Ellie worked for me too. There was a surprise or two in terms of casting choices and frankly Robyn will not work for everyone. A real plus was that some of the secondary characters get more exposure than in the book. The interactions between them all are fine, with the humour in particular being well delivered. For those concerned about coarser things, there is a little bit of sexual conversation but no nudity, some low level drug use and I'm pleased to say minimal bad language.

With a film adaption there are always a few tweaks to the original story and I have to say that for me, these all worked quite well and in a number of scenes, were very good. There was also some additional information on the wider situation with the war and this was most welcome given the book is very vague on this aspect. All the key events in the book are there and the film makers did a good job constructing them. There are plenty of explosions and the war violence is conveyed in a stronger manner than in the book. It is quite action packed and I found it to be genuinely exciting at times! It is not Mad Max and it shouldn't be either. It is a film made for a modern teen audience and those who enjoyed the book - as a teen or otherwise.

Military obsessives will find a few faults in how the enemy army is depicted. They're not the most efficient army ever either but they are certainly very violent at times and make suitable villains. There are some updates in terms of the technology that wasn't around in 1993 and also some fun, topical youth-culture humour and moments. The final scene is a bit hokey but the vision of the walk into 'Hell' is jawdropping! Altogether I found very little to criticize, this is a very entertaining film that I think fans of the book will embrace.
4 ˝ stars
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie based on excellent book, March 2, 2012
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This movie begins as a coming of age romance story set in Australia. It becomes an action flick when Australia is invaded and the characters have to fight to survive.
It is a satisfying coming of age story but spends too much time developing characters (done well) to be a great action flick.

I am also a fan of Red Dawn, but thought this movie was much better.

If you are a fan of the young adult series Tomorrow When the War Began know that this movie fits the first book quite well and thoroughly sets the scene for a sequel (or nine). I have read the books, where all the components are thoroughly fleshed out, I rather enjoyed the movie.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Australia's "Red Dawn"., October 1, 2011
By 
Bob Eggleton "zillabob" (Providence, RI United States) - See all my reviews
Based on a series of bestselling young adult author James Marsden's books, this details the lives of teenagers living out a last bit of fun with an adventurous road trip/camping vacation to a remote area, before school is about to come back in session. Starts off innocently and freewheeling enough as they leave a small country Wirrawee town somewhere in NSW. One night one of the kids awakens to the sound of squadrons of jets zooming overhead... and goes back to sleep thinking nothing of it.

When the teenagers pack up and return from their "secret" grotto which they established is theirs, they find most of the homes abandoned,families missing, power out,dogs shot dead, and vehicles burning. Going further into the center of town by nightfall they soon see the truth: Australia has been invaded by an unknown, Asian "Coalition" possibly Chinese, Indonesian or Burmese-or all of them. Brutal and uncompromising, anyone arguing with them in the "indoctrination" prison camps they've set up is shot dead.

The group, unknown at this point to the invaders, runs back into the country homes to hide, and start making plans to defend their town and rescue their loved ones. They also realize the massive scope of this war with various radio snippets and the shocking realization that the world cannot help them, they're on their own. The smaller Australia forces are overwhelmed by the massive invasion which seeks to annex Australia for it's natural resources and vast areas of open land. They become guerilla fighters taking the battle to the enemy on their own terms. WHen they realize the enemy has figured out they are hiding in their family's homes(one is completely firebombed) they retreat further to their hard to access vacation grotto and start making more ambitous plans.

Overall pretty good film, filled with teenage angst and doubts and some fairly good special effects, one depicting an air battle.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It's Time To Go To War!", November 3, 2011
This is the box office smash that took Australia by storm, and the rest of the world is catching up. It is taken from the `teen novels' written by John Marsden and follows the book very closely. It is about a group of friends who decide to have a weekend getting back to nature; that is sleeping under the stars and catching your own food etc. They borrow Ellie's dads' Land Rover and set off. Whilst they are there they see `a whole bunch' of military aircraft passing over head but have no idea of the significance. Ellie is the charismatic female alpha figure played brilliantly by Caitlin Stasey.

On their return they find animals dead, places abandoned and everybody missing. That is when the really start to worry. After hunting around they discover that the entire town of Wirawee, is being held prisoner at the Show Ground. They slowly piece together what has happened and realise that an unnamed country of `coalition' forces has invaded Australia to exploit its resources. The kids have no military training, and few weapons, and a lot of growing up to do. Despite all of that they decide they have to fight back.

This has been criticised for being a poor take on `Red Dawn' and at first I thought so too, but it is actually quite original in that it is not that black and white. The main male positive character is Asian Chris Pung playing LeeTakkon. Yet the invaders seem to be Oriental so who is the enemy? A point on the production they deliberately use different languages and then mix them up so you are not able to work out who the invaders are. We also have issues of cowardice, religious ethics, vegemite and the right use of make up.

The CGI is excellent, the scenery is stunning and the whole thing has a confidence in its own ability, and it does not fail to deliver. There are a couple of plot holes, but they are so minor that they do not take away from the enjoyment. Director and co-screenplay writer Stuart Beattie has done himself proud in this adaptation and the pacing is just right too. I wanted it to go on a while longer when it ended and as this lasts for 103 minutes I thought that was quite some achievement.

This was the highest grossing film in Australia for 2010, bringing in $13 million, which is not a bad effort at all. On the back of that they are going to make two, yes two sequels. So not long to wait for the next instalment, and if it is half as good as this, then it will have been well worth the wait.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aussie slam-bang fun, part 1 of a new trilogy, July 22, 2012
This review is from: Tomorrow When The War Began (DVD)
TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN (Dir. Stuart Beattie, 2010, 105 minutes) is a remake of Red Dawn ('84) that I found fun, humorous and simple. Sometimes those things are all it takes to make a fun, entertaining and somehow profound film. This as far as I can tell was just released on DVD (I watched it on cable) and I know two more films are in the offing, numbers 2 (this year, 2012) and 3 (2013).

I know the films are probably done by now and that the rest of the story - because there will be more - will eventually be made into a TV series but I cannot say when that will be.

In this film, a group of sexy-looking Aussie teens witness what I can only guess is a Chinese invasion of Australia (second guess is North Korean, because this invading race is meant to be confusing and even their language is a garbled invention). With their harbor town invaded and seized, they sneak in and quickly transform into a guerrilla force. Their first major accomplishment - achieved at the end of the movie - is the dropping of the major bridge into town.

I know, I know: too much like Spielberg light. But hang on a tick ... this film is GOOD as far as it goes. The fx are killer, no need for 3D here when you shoot the scene right, that is for sure. This director knows what he's doing. The acting is not quite what I like to call "quackting" because these are 20-somethings posing as teens, so one expects them to be humorous and silly. But they can actually act too, and this helps along the rather dark humor that pops up repeatedly.

This is a simple vehicle about a bunch of sexy kids waving their tushies and showing off their assets, lots of great action with explosions and what I think is one of the best scenes ever filmed (when they are attacked at one of the houses by a detachment of soldiers). And it poses a very deep pair of questions: 1. What does the world do if Australia is invaded by gazillions of mad Asians? 2. What does a bunch of silly kids do when they are at liberty but are witnessing the invasion of their country?

The thoughts/ideas struck me as vital, the silliness of the young adult novel notwithstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and found a lot of it touching. It was a stunner to me to see that it is the start of a series, because that always makes me feel robbed and angry. Here I did not mind so much, because I feel as if this film stands well on its own.

Honestly, I would not care to see another film which would be a "nyquel" [my term] anyway - and I do not care how this story ends. This film ended extremely well, and we can see it just Part One halfway through anyway. Hopefully America is watching as more and more Australian film is made - and hopefully we will indeed get to see these films.

With the stunning and thoroughly wonderful talents of Caitlin Stasey, the better-known Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lincoln Lewis, Deniz Akdeniz, Phoebe Tonkin, Chris Pang, Ashleigh Cummings, Andrew Ryan, and very well-known in Australia Colin Friels.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good movie, March 31, 2012
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This review is from: Tomorrow When The War Began (DVD)
I really enjoyed this movie. Well written and great acting. I can not wait until the next one in the series!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Red Dawn vs.Twilight, April 29, 2012
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Good camera work, good actors, great location(s), just way too fluffy. A bit like a soap opera taking place during a third world war.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than Anticipated, February 29, 2012
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This review is from: Tomorrow When The War Began (DVD)
Seven college bound friends return from a weekend camping trip to discover that a foreign army invaded their Australian homeland. With their friends and families taken prisoner, they must band together and find a way to fight for their freedom and survival.

Tomorrow When The War Began is a low budget Australian movie recently released in the U.S. that follows seven students on what they think is their last hurrah camping trip before the school year begins in the fall. Upon returning home, they discover their family and friends have all vanished and begin searching for answers.

There isn't a lot to say about this movie. The beginning is slow as they develop the characters which isn't surprising because the movie is based of a ten book series written by John Marsden. Once the characters are developed, the story movies along fairly quick and the action picks up dramatically.

Due to the slow development and large amount of books in the series, this would probably do better as a television series. I also wonder if U.S. audiences will connect with the movie since it's not based in the U.S. Tomorrow When The War Began is required reading for Australian middle school children which means most viewers are familiar with the story before they walked into theaters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Random Watch, January 25, 2014
This review is from: Tomorrow When The War Began (DVD)
I just randomly decided to watch this on Netflix instant view and am so happy I did. I thought it was such a great movie and it's one I'm definitely adding to my dvd collection. I'm assuming there will be a second in the series, which I cannot wait to see when it does come out and I am very eager to buy the book series as well and read them. I know Netflix often changes their selection of instant view movies, but as of 1/26/2014, it is available, so definitely watch it or rent it from Amazon..heck buy it from Amazon because it is so good it is one you'll watch again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I expected, April 6, 2012
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My 13 year old daughter and I watched this movie and we really enjoyed it. We read book one in the series and we liked it. I thought the movie was pretty good. I recommend you rent thi picture. We will read the rest of the books and more by this author.
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Tomorrow When The War Began
Tomorrow When The War Began by Stuart Beattie (DVD - 2012)
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