The time-traveling “The Tomorrow War”, set largely within an alien apocalypse futurity, is a type of throwback.
These sprawling, sloppy, sometimes serious, and often hilarious summer sci-fi spectacles are no longer a regular feature. Although “The Tomorrow War” may not be as absurd as Will Smith’s “Independence Day”, it is Chris Pratt’s chance to kick some aliens.
Pratt was the star and executive producer for “The Tomorrow War.” He used his box office muscle to promote the film directed by Chris McKay, and written by Zach Dean. McKay’s original intention was to be shown in theaters. However, the film got caught up in a future shock and was eventually sold to Amazon. Prime Video will be streaming it this Friday. While “The Tomorrow War” may not be the first movie that goes straight to your home, it is one of the most popcorn-iest.
The Tomorrow War is a great choice for those who want to escape the summer heat. It is scattered and utterly unbelievable. However, movies that feature aliens, time loops, and machine guns have more features than bugs.
Pratt plays Dan Forester, a high school science teacher and military veteran. His wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin), has a young daughter, Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). The world is interrupted when, during a televised soccer match (presumably because “The Dark Knight Rises”) had already caused a cataclysm at a stadium football field, a portal opens and futurist soldiers emerge with a message: The world will be overthrown in 30 years. They need to rely on the past for help in defeating the “white spikes,” or voracious invaders. They must send new recruits to the fight through a time link which only allows them to travel backwards and forwards from the present to three centuries in the future.
There is much international animosity and TV-news debate that follows. Some claim that this is their war and not ours. There are clear parallels to today’s existential distress due to climate change in the near-future, foretold apocalypse. It has been the backdrop of many disaster movies over the past few decades. The Tomorrow War cleverly encapsulates its planet metaphor in sci-fi action, which ultimately culminates in the icy northern.
Forester is drafted and implanted with a digital wristband that allows him to enter the portal. The fight is so desperate that both military-trained and civilian recruits are involved. His decision to go to war is told with sincere emotion and a sense of sacrifice. Forester’s father, J.K. Simmons, a Vietnam vet who struggled to adjust to his family after the war, shows how soldiering has a lasting impact on generations. Emmy states that only 30% of those who return from the “tomorrow” war are still alive, while most others are just shells. The Tomorrow War spends most its time in the future. But its central theme remains timeless: the repeated tragedy that sometimes you don’t return the same after war.
It seems that the mix of civilians is also meant to bring some more fun people to the fight. Mary Lynn Rajskub, but particularly Sam Richardson, immediately made friends with Forester through his nonstop, anxiety-induced and deadpan prattle. Richardson, who is a veteran of “Veep,” excels at this and it’s a joy to see him more on the center stage. He’s even more impressive in “Werewolves Within,” a new horror-comedy film. McKay, the director of “The Lego Movie,” excels in humor and “The Tomorrow War” is a good example. Although it’s not as adept at striking the operatic notes that it attempts to strike, it can still be a good choice for aliens.
The Motion Picture Association of America has rated “The Tomorrow War” as PG-13 for its intense sci-fi violence, action, language, and suggestive references. Running time: 140 minutes. Four stars, two and a quarter stars.