Ellie Linton (Caitlin Stasey) and six friends persuade their parents to let them go on a camping trip out of town, which of course is to "experience nature". It is whilst they "experience nature" that they witness a series of military planes flying fast and low overhead but think nothing more of it, even joking that maybe WWIII has begun in their absence. But when they return to town they find their homes are empty, meals abandoned and sense that some thing isn't right. On further investigation they discover that their country has been invaded and now with no training must find a way to fight back against the enemy.
I reckon that back in 2010 when "Tomorrow, When the War Began" was released it would have worked for the right age group as it wasn't till 2012 that the remake of the comparable "Red Dawn" was released. The thing is that for those like me who had already watched the old "Red Dawn" or for those who watch "Tomorrow, When the War Began" after watching the "Red Dawn" remake, there is a very good chance that this movie is going to leave you under whelmed with a style which seems a little unsure of what it wants to be. What I mean is that at times the characters seem too self aware and not only say unrealistic things but behave in an unrealistic manner yet then it tries to deliver some big drama but also some Aussie style character based humour. It makes it a movie which ends up hit n miss to the point of trying to appeal to too many people causes it problems.
But pushing through those issues which include characters which feel both unrealistic and cliche there are some entertaining scenes in "Tomorrow, When the War Began". In truth most of the most memorable scenes surround action be it dealing with a snake to avoiding being blown to pieces and those big action scenes are pretty effective especially when it gets explosive. But it is a case that where once the humorous nature of these characters and the action would have been enough to entertain me, now days I need some thing more and "Tomorrow, When the War Began" doesn't offer that.
What this all boils down to is that "Tomorrow, When the War Began" probably does have enough going on to keep a young audience entertained but for those who have watched either of the "Red Dawn" movies are likely to find this lacking, in fact they might even find this a bit messy as it tries to deliver something for everyone.