Book vs Film: Tomorrow When the War Began
I read this one when I was in high school and swore that I would never bother with the Tomorrow series again. English classes have a lot to answer to for killing reading passion.
Seven teenagers head bush, and on their return to civilisation they realise the enitre region has become the epicentre of an invasion of Australia. They decide to slow down the enemy and take back their town.
Back then, I didn’t have the world knowledge to visualise the imagery, and the themes went over my head. Now, however, I get it. I no longer hate the unapologetic way that Marsden brings a country town atmosphere to the setting, and the fair dinkum Aussie-ness of the characters.
Yes, the book is now dated by 20 years or more, but the struggles are still relevant. It includes themes of love, fear, and the primal urge to survive, which are timeless and give Tomorrow, When The War Began a level of relevance, regardless of the decade. An Australian teen classic!
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Scholastic (first published 1993)
ISBN 0439829100 (ISBN13: 9780439829106)
The film opens with Ellie recording a recount of her experiences. It then moves on to aerial shots of outback Australia with Steer by Missy Higgins adding an authentic ambience to the shot. Ellie working the property with her Dad certainly highlights the contrast between innocence and survival.
The movie has been updated from the book with the inclusion of contemporary technology such as mobile phones and videos. Filming was done across New South Wales, including places like Port Stephens and the Blue Mountains, which is exactly how I pictured it while reading.
The casting is as I imagined it, though I am not entirely sure if actor, Deniz Akdeniz, thought he should act the way he did, or if he was directed to do so. It just seemed off.
The storyline gallops along and there are no fatty bits to be trimmed. The adaption by the director, Stuart Beattie, is respectful and authentically brings the spirit of the book to life. They hit all the high points and, thank goodness, some of the more gruesome elements from the book are just a flash on the screen.
As mentioned before, the soundtrack is also pretty catchy with Jet, Wolfmother, Missy Higgins, and quite a few other great Aussie acts adding our flavour to the score.
It looks like there are plans to make the second book, The Dead of Night, next. I just hope the casting, script adaption, and location shoots can be lined up to bring the world John Marsden created to life.