Last night my good friend Hayley took me to the movies to see, Tomorrow When the War Began.
I read the first novel in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden when I was a teenager. These books were all the rage when I was at school. Everybody was reading them. I have no idea why I only read the first book.. possibly it was hard to get my hands on a copy as they were always loaned out at the library.
Australian teenager Ellie and six of her friends return from a week camping trip to find their homes deserted, their families imprisoned, and their country occupied by a foreign military force. As their shock wears off, the seven decide they must stick together if they are to survive. After a life-threatening skirmish with the occupiers, the teens retreat to their isolated campsite in the bush country and make plans to fight a guerilla war against the invaders.
I must admit I don't remember much about the book, just the basic plot outline. So I didn't go into the cinema armed with a strong opinion on how this movie should translate.
I thought it was fantastic! It was action packed, suspenseful and funny. I was a bit skeptical about them picking Caitlin Stacey to play the role of Ellie. I've seen her on Neighbours and I wasn't sure that she was suited to the role, boy was I wrong. She not only pulled it off but did so with passion.
I also loved the setting. A lot of this movie was filmed in places I am quite familiar with, and it was quite lovely seeing The Blue Mountains on screen. I grew up at the foot of those mountains and they are just as beautiful in real life, as they were in the movie. They farmland, roads and showground were all also distinctly Australian. I loved that authenticity, even if the town is fictional.
The characters seemed to encompass the typical Australian stereotypes, but in an endearing way. Even the props were authentic. Maggi two-minute noodles, vegemite, the toys in the tree-house, the tapestries on the wall in one of the houses (my mum has done some of those!) all distinctly Australian.
For me, this authenticity made the movie all the more scary. I know this is fiction, but in reality, we do walk around with the feeling that we are safe from attack and we take our way of life for granted. This movie raises the question, what if? Like the novel, this film gave what I feel, is a realistic insight into what 'could' happen if we were invaded.
For me, Tomorrow When the War Began, is a classic YA novel and a must read for anyone who loves a good story. I am keen to re-read the first novel in this series now and finally make my way through the rest!
Have you seen this film? Have you read the books? What did you think?