In 1994 John Marsden wrote the first part of his book series that now consists of seven volumes. Three years ago the first one was adapted for the cinemas, if the other parts will follow is not yet decided.
At first everything is fine. Ellie decides to go camping with some friends. They pack their things and head for the Australian wilderness. The teenagers go to a place that is called “hell”, a little jungle that is surrounded by high rocks and difficult to reach.
When they return home after a few days the teenagers sense several changes. None of the parents or siblings are home, the animals on the farms haven’t been fed in days. Telephone, radio and TV don’t work.
After some research they find out what has happened. While they were in the bush an invasion took place. Enemy troops invaded the country and captivated the people. The teenagers decided to spy in order to find out what is going on in the centre of the town.
Under cover of darkness they get on their way. When they are separated Lee and Robyn get in trouble and Lee is wounded. They can save their friends and retreat back to “hell”.
After spending some time there they make plans to fight the troops. During their first guerrilla attack they bomb the bridge which is an important connection to the harbour. Unfortunately Corrie is wounded badly. Therefore, her boyfriend Kevin decides to take her to town into the hospital although this means imprisonment for both of them.
Book vs. Movie:
With “Tomorrow when the war began” John Marsden created a series of books that is relatively close to reality and thus is fascinating. He writes characters you grow fond of and you feel with them. Furthermore, the description of the surroundings, especially of the bush, is very vivid and rich of details without being to extensive or boring. Although the group of teenagers is put together a little stereotypical (a country girl, a religious girl, a girl from town, etc) they develop in the course of the plot and don’t remain a mere cliché. Most of all the characters react very realistically contrary to the ones you find in similar stories.
To me it was fascinating to see how “hell” is pictured in the movie. The setting was perfectly chosen and also the casted actors were credible. The little changes in comparison with the book are bearable, most of it was implemented authentically.
Both the book and the movie are thrilling and capturing, definitely an insider tip. I also read the second and third part of the series and I would love to see how movies for these volumes would turn out.