Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)

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Released 22-Dec-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Main Menu Audio & Animation
Main Menu Introduction
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Director
Audio Commentary-Producers
Audio-Visual Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Alternate Ending
Interviews-Crew-John Marsden
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 99:31
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:19) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stuart Beattie
Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Caitlin Stasey
Rachel Hurd-Wood
Lincoln Lewis
Deniz Akdeniz
Phoebe Tonkin
Chris Pang
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Reinhold Heil
Johnny Klimek

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Australia is not renowned for its production of action adventure films with lots of stunts and special effects. Obviously a number of major blockbusters have been shot at Fox Studios in Sydney but they are usually overseas productions. This is a really high quality Australian produced, written, acted and directed effort based on the first of a series of Australian novels by John Marsden. It was written for the screen and directed by Stuart Beattie, who has worked as a writer on a number of Hollywood productions such as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Collateral. This is his first feature as a director and he has made a great start to his directorial career. If there was any need for more Australianness to this production it was shot in a number of picturesque locations in New South Wales including the Hunter Valley, Northern Beaches of Sydney, Raymond Terrace (doubling as the town in the story Wirrawee) and the Blue Mountains.

     The story (which is a very close adaptation of John Marsden's book of the same name) follows a group of seven teenagers who decide to go on a weekend camping trip into the bush to a place know colloquially as Hell. They include

     While they are camping, Australia is invaded by a large army of soldiers who are ruthlessly taking control of the local population. Once they arrive back and find all their farms empty of people, they realise something is wrong and after investigating find out the truth of their situation. Under the leadership of Ellie and Homer, they decide to fight back. Along the way they pick up another teenager, stoner Chris (Andy Ryan), and run into a local Dentist, Dr Clements (Colin Friels) who has evaded capture.

     This is an exciting and well made action adventure film, with some impressive effects, beautiful cinematography, quality acting from a cast of mostly unknown or little known Australians and assured direction all driven by an excellent story. The use of music, both Aussie pop and rock and a dramatic score, adds significantly to the feeling and atmosphere of the film both in the early carefree scenes and the later more dramatic or action focused ones. This film has romance, action, excitement and drama and should appeal to most audiences including teenagers who will hopefully respond well to the young heroes and heroines. My only very minor criticism would be that I felt the story was a little rushed at times and that an extra 10 minutes on the running time would not have hurt.

     A wonderful Australian production which is well worth your time and money. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is very good and close to excellent for SD. The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

     The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with excellent shadow detail. Wide shots especially looked very sharp and clear. The colour was excellent with no colour artefacts. There was some minor MPEG related motion blur during fast motion.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They were clear and easy to read.

     There is a layer change during the main program at 58:19 which causes quite a bad pause during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The audio quality is very good with one major issue. This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, an English Dolby Digital Audio Descriptive 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and two English Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks encoded at 192 Kb/s.

     Dialogue was fairly difficult to make out not aided by the entire soundtrack being recorded at quite a low level. Even with the sound turned up more than usual, the dialogue was still a challenge. The subtitles were certainly useful.

     The score by Johnny Kilmek & Reinhold Heil was excellent and was complemented by some wonderful use of Aussie rock & pop.

     The surround speakers used a lot for directional effects such a plane noises, gunfire, atmosphere and music. Good stuff. The subwoofer was used for explosions, helicopters and music support.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     A very large selection of mostly quality extras. One of the best set of extras I have seen for a while. Most sub-menus have play all options.


     The menu was very well designed and included an intro, animation and music.


     This 'limited academic version' includes a booklet which has a transcript of the included interview with John Marsden.

The Making Of (24:38)

     A decent but somewhat silly featurette hosted by three of the young actors, Deniz, Lincoln & Chris. Despite the silliness some interesting stuff is covered including sets, storyboards, working with the director, makeup, lighting, shooting, special effects and stunts. Worth watching.

The Characters (1:10, 0:48, 1:16, 1:00, 1:21, 1:03, 1:19, 1:01, 0:53, 1:44, 1:01, 1:08, 1:00, 1:15, 1:02)

     This section includes 15 short segments which are interviews with the main 8 cast members and/or on set footage. These are obviously of an EPK nature but aren't too bad anyway.

Audio Commentary - Writer/Director Stuart Beattie

     A high quality commentary. Beattie is engaging and interesting covering topics like his rewrite for the screen, differences to the novel, the characters, casting, visual ideas and locations. Well worth a listen.

Audio Commentary - Producers Andrew Mason & Michael Boughen

     Another high quality commentary, although a little drier than the previous one. They cover how they found the director, locations used, technical details, casting, detail and trivia of onscreen action, where CGI was used and how they used Raymond Terrace.

Mini Commentary - John Marsden (2:54)

     A picture-in-picture commentary on 3 scenes. He discusses the cast and changes to the book.

Stuart Beattie on set (1:03, 2:10)

     Two short pre-release EPK style featurettes which cover the characters, script and John Marsden’s visit to the set.

How to Blow up a Bridge (12:04)

     One of the best extras covering how they made one crucial scene in the film including the location used, art direction, special effects, pre visualisation, the decision whether to go with a model of CGI, he miniatures constructed and blown up and technical details of how the scene was shot. Great stuff.

VFX Breakdowns (0:57, 0:55, 0:32)

     Three short scenes with the various layers of effects and CGI revealed.


     DVD Credits.

Alternate Ending (2:22)

     A similar but slightly different ending without quite some much grandstanding.

The Books (23:52, 1:01, 2:06, 1:20)

     A long and interesting interview with the author about his books, career, influences, the movie, his use of the female voice and the characters. The same interview as transcribed in the booklet. Good stuff. The smaller sections are three readings from the book by the author.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is the only edition of this film available globally at this stage. It is also available on Blu-ray.


    A really good Australian made action adventure film.

    The video quality is very good. The audio quality is very good with one major issue. The extras are plentiful, genuine and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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