I watched this Australian film earlier this week. As a huge fan of Red Dawn, I anxiously awaited being able to see this as it has been described as “the Australian Red Dawn”. It’s based on a series of young adult books by John Marsden that began in 1993 and the ending certainly left it open to the possibility of a sequel or sequels, even.
As far as the movie itself, I enjoyed watching it and I think my wife liked it even more than I did. It was very suspenseful throughout the movie, which was enhanced by the fact that very little information on the invaders was given.
My complaints about the movie was that the group dynamics seemed a little too Dawson’s Creek and there was a little too much political correctness with the character roles. I suppose these are matters of personal taste though. I thought some parts of the movie seemed a little too close to Red Dawn and made it walk a fine line between “influenced by” and “ripping off” at times. Despite these minor irritants, it’s definitely a fun movie to watch.
Some information about the invaders was given – they were part of an Asiatic coalition of nations that invaded Australia in order to gain land and resources for their restless population. According to a shortwave broadcast they picked up from the invaders, they deemed Australia as being “greedy” with what they had and after invading the island they could bring about “equality” in their part of the world, presumably by siphoning off Australia’s resources and preparing the continent for colonization.
This situation, although fiction, made me think about the situation in A Few Paychecks Away From Crime but on a much larger scale. There have been a ton of conflicts throughout history based on one side wanting something the other side has, be it oil, spices, water or whatever. When things start to get scarce, sometimes people or states can act out of desperation. I should also add that in Red Dawn, one of the catalysts for the invasion of the US was that the Soviet Union experienced the worst wheat harvest in 80 years (or something like close to that). The war in the film didn’t start because they hated their freedom, they were harboring terrorists or anything like that – it started because the Asiatic coalition were desperate for Australia’s land and resources to appease the domestic population.
Although no specific country or countries are named as the aggressors, it’s implied that China has something to do with it. Although the book was written before China’s rise, the book/movie seems to have a little more weight these days as China is increasingly demanding resources and Australia, a relatively sparsely populated Island is overflowing with natural resources. Many currency investors hold Australian (and New Zealand) dollars, banking on these economies to remain strong due to the abundance of resources within both nations. Many hold the Canadian dollar for the same reasons, too.
Interestingly enough in the real world, President Obama has recently ordered 2500 US Marines to take a permanent position in Darwin on Australia’s north coast:
What could 2500 US Marines do against an onslaught of the Chinese Army? Act as a deterrent to anyone wishing to make a grab at our ally. I’m sure the devil dogs would lay waste to a ton of them on their way out, too. I don’t think anyone is really concerned about an imminent Chinese invasion of Australia, but the move by the US certainly sends an aggressive signal to Beijing.
One theme that seemed to run throughout the film was the idea that “this can’t happen here” and it most definitely did. In one particular scene, the group sees an Australian fighter plane get shot down in air-to-air combat with the invaders, giving the viewer the sense that no one is going to be able to come to their rescue. In another scene, a detained Australian complains about the treatment from the guards and he is killed. While I’m not going to suggest that China (or any Asian country) is on the precipice of invading Australia, I’ll definitely say that pretty much anything can happen anywhere and the attitude that you’re removed from calamity by being within a certain border is a bad one to have. Bad things happen in good places all the time and this movie is an extreme (fictional) example of one.
I’d recommend watching this if you’re into this kind of thing and maybe thinking about some of the underlying issues behind the storyline whenever the afterschool special-esque love affairs and coming-of-age camaraderie become too unbearable. In short, these issues are:
– Australia has a lot of resources and could be a good investment play.
– Bad things can happen to anyone anywhere so be prepared for all kinds of contingencies.
– When individuals or countries are short on resources, they tend to get desperate and sometimes do irrational things.
– When you have things, there’s probably someone out there that wants them so a bit of security goes a long way.
– Red Dawn rules.
I think it’s also interesting that the Red Dawn remake dropped the plan of using China as the bad guy in favor of a coalition of nations, similar to that in Tomorrow, When The War Began. Honestly, it’s probably a smart diplomatic play to do that- I know we would be pissed off if someone in China made a movie with us as the bad guys.