For most of its first half, Tomorrow, When the War Began looks very much like a teen-friendly soap, with seven high-school friends wrestling with typical boyfriend-girlfriend issues during a camping trip to a remote and idyllic spot. The mood changes to one of gung-ho derring-do, however, when the campers return home to discover that a foreign enemy (Asian in appearance but of no specified nationality) has launched a military invasion of Australia. Somewhat improbably, the septet, led by Caitlin Stasey’s resourceful farm girl Ellie and soon joined by an eighth friend, decide to strike back, guerrilla-style.
Despite the far-fetched set-up (and the often clunky dialogue and acting), you’ll soon be rooting for the plucky teens as they set about a daring act of sabotage. Australian audiences certainly did, making the film the country’s biggest box-office hit in 2010. With seven books in Marsden’s series, there’s plenty of scope for sequels, the first of which is already in the works.
Incidentally, the remake of John Milius’s jingoistic 1984 flick Red Dawn is currently on the shelf, a victim of the financial travails of studio MGM.
Released on DVD & Blu-ray on 19th September by Paramount Home Entertainment.