Tomorrow When The War Began – A Review

Tomorrow When The War Began – A Review

I actually started Tomorrow When the War Began as a book a few years ago and it was just a little too ‘Judy Bloom’ for me.  I have no issues with an inner monologue, but John Marsden’s running dialog straight from his main character’s (a teenage girl) head was a little much for me.  I just looked the author up…a guy wrote that book?  Anyway, I get my more than my share of teenage angst with all the teen girls in my family…so I never finished the book.  However, I still thought that it sounded like a great story if I could get past all the inner monologue and straight to the story.

The story itself sounded like an Australian Red Dawn…and I liked the movie Red Dawn.  Did I mention that Tomorrow When the War Began is a juvenile novel…so are many of Heinlein’s greats so I don’t prejudge…wish I had with the book though.  The book is actually the first of the very popular ‘Tomorrow’ series.

So…back to Tomorrow When the War Began, the movie…even though the book wasn’t for me, I was still interested in the story line so when Tomorrow When The War Began came out on Netflix I jumped at the chance to watch it.  The movie is a beautifully filmed and well acted Australian production about a group of Australian teens that go camping and return home to discover that an unnamed military force has invaded Australia and taken all their families hostage.

[MINOR SPOILERS ALERT]

Tomorrow When The War BeganThe kids must come to terms with being on their own and eventually decide to fight back against the invading army.  I especially liked the scene where the kids sneak up on the fairground where their families were being held only to be fired upon by the invaders.  What I liked about that scene was how realistic a portrayal it was of that first moment…that moment that you realize another human being is actually trying to kill you.  In that moment you hesitate as your mind wraps around a new paradigm…that the world is still a savage place and you must be self reliant to survive.  Following that momentary hesitation you react with renewed purpose, with vigor and with a renewed commitment to survival.  The filmmakers portrayed that moment well.

In another scene the kids watch a dogfight (much better filmed and less confusing than the dogfight in Red Dawn by the way).  When the Australian fighter was shot down I half expected to see a parachute bring Powers Booth into the tale…yea, pretty reminiscent of Red Dawn…but no such luck.

Anyway, this is (primarily) a self reliance and preparedness website so here are your survival takeaways from Tomorrow When the War Began that our heroes mostly had to learn the hard way:

  • Maintain noise and light discipline.  Blackout curtains will keep from betraying your location at night and loud noises (like a generator) not only can tip off the enemy but they can mask the noise of your enemy approaching
  • Keep someone (or multiple people) on watch at all times…and don’t forget to make sure they stay awake
  • Use your knowledge of the area and intelligence to discover ways to counter an enemy with better technology
  • If you are going to become proactive and attack your enemy, identify and focus on the weakest link in their networks (logistics, communication, etc.)
  • Don’t underestimate the affect that can be achieved by properly employing heavy equipment (not sure where that teen girl learned to drive the big rigs…but what the heck it’s just a movie)

I can’t speak to how true to the book the movie was…because I never finished the book…but the movie is definitely good enough for a free streaming video on Netflix or even a couple of bucks to rent on Amazon.  By the way, if you had a different take on the book than I did, let me know in the comments below…I think it is probably a good read for some audiences just not my bag of (Southern Hemisphere British Commonwealth) tea.

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