Most helpful positive review
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining adaption of an excellent book!
on January 8, 2011
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 ½ stars