Tomorrow, When the War Began, is an Aussie action flick, as eight high school kids single-handedly face down a foreign invasion. Think “Red Dawn Lite.” It’s beautiful to look at, and the VFX are great, but it always felt like I was watching the feature length pilot for a tv series. A tv series, I’d probably watch, I hasten to add.
But I want to chat about something here; the missing language for us to discuss “alternative” political scenarios, without being accused of racism or xenophobia. Because who would invade Australia, if not Asians? I mean, is that racist? Or is it just an inevitable plot device when imagining a geo-political dimension in that specific part of the world. (Australia largely being surrounded by Asian countries etc. etc.) One of the main Aussie characters is of Asian descent, so its not like all yellow skinned people are painted as nasty Fu Manchu bad guys. So if it’s not racist, is it xenophobic? In the recent Total Recall, Australia had been recolonised by Britain; we didn’t see any raised eyebrows over that. Are we only concerned about xenophobia when its clad in racism? Or was it because Recall was billed as SciFi rather than Action Adventure? And what of the “Red Dawn” remake? With an eye on Chinese box office receipts, the peril comes, laughably, from North Korea. All in all, I suspect we’re in need of new language, or at the very least, a new descriptor for geo-political movies that allows us to play with clearly imaginary storylines, to suspend our disbelief, without us being bogged down in and dragged back to, real world correctness?
For what it’s worth, Tomorrow was filmed in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. The country town of Raymond Terrace was chosen as the major stand-in for the fictional town of Wirrawee, with the Fitzgerald Bridge and historic King Street featuring prominently in the action.