I feel I need to write a blog post about this movie, seeing as the books are by my favourite author of all time and I’ve seen it three times already. Plus, I keep incessantly commenting on everyone else’s updates about it! I read Tomorrow When the War Began in 1994 for the first time, six months or so after it’s release. I was lucky that I read So Much To Tell You in 1993 and found my favourite author so early, otherwise I might have had that dreaded experience of reading Tomorrow When the War Began in English in Year 8 as my first Marsden introduction.
I bought the entire series in hardcover (including Tomorrow because the paperback was yet to be released at that stage) and then, as the paperbacks were released, did the really stupid thing of buying them and getting rid of my hardcovers. I don’t like hardcover books, I find them frustrating to read. If I buy them, I will always replace them with the paperback when it’s released. People think I’m insane for this. I really, really regret getting rid of my hardcovers of this series, though. Not because I would sell them but because they mean so much to me even after all these years. I own the Ellie Chronicles in hardcover and paperback; I think the covers of those are really pretty. I also have the "adult cover" of When the War Began in paperback from 1995 (apparently they didn't think adults needed the "Tomorrow" in the title), which I adore. It helps that my brother went and had this signed by John Marsden for me years ago ("Dear Linda, take risks! John Marsden") when I couldn't go to meet him doing a signing in a bookstore.
I don’t think I have ever been so happy (and relieved) about a movie adaptation in my entire life. I knew John Marsden had said he was happy with it, so I wasn’t TOO concerned going in. Not that your expectations are necessarily the same as the author’s because your imaginations are different, but it was at least reassurring that he was happy with how it turned out. Particularly considering John Marsden has been getting offers for movies/TV shows/mini-series for more than ten years and has apparently turned down something like 130 offers.
I won’t babble too much about it (because otherwise we’d be here all day), but I thought it was absolutely fantastic. The characters were great, the acting was a lot better than I was expecting, and the action was awesome. It was true to the book without being a direct translation (which in my experience doesn’t tend to work so well). Small things were changed, but nothing major. (I actually find some of the small things they changed kind of odd - like the snake being in Kevin's sleeping bag instead of Homer's, etc.) Wirrawee was perfect, I thought. Hell was different to what I'd imagined, but still so pretty. My favourite character from the start of reading the books was Homer. As we got further into the stories, Fi became my favourite character because of the amount that she changed and became who she did. I thought Homer in the movie was brilliant; definitely my favourite actor. Fi showed promise in the latter half of the movie of becoming the Fi that I love. I also LOVED the all-Australian soundtrack; I’m really pleased they did that.
I really hope they make more movies, at least the first three. I think The Third Day, the Frost would make the most amazing movie with all the action in it. When I was 14 (also the year the Tomorrow series finished), I decided I wanted to get a John Marsden book related tattoo if I still wanted it at 21. (This was my stipulation for all my tattoo ideas as a teenager, haha.) It was actually the first tattoo I thought about. I couldn’t decide between the words, “darkness be my friend” or the words “the other side of dawn”. Darkness Be My Friend is my favourite Tomorrow series book, but I fell in love with the title of The Other Side of Dawn when I first heard about it. I’m not sure why I never really thought about getting So Much To Tell You. Anyway, I think Dawn has won for a few years now but we’ll see what fits where I want it :)
Between the movie and John Marsden commenting on my blog entry a few months ago, this is has been a pretty awesome Marsden year!