THE TOMORROW WAR (AMAZON PRIME) (2021)
SYNOPSIS: In The TOMORROW WAR, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. Among those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet.
If The Tomorrow War was made 20 years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger might be the one starring in it. You know The Terminator who fought the Predator. In the present day however, his son-in-law Chris Pratt has taken over his duty of fighting aliens since the former is in quasi-retirement mode and Pratt is now a much demand star, a far cry from his TV days.
Pratt also being a first-time producer here teams up with The Lego Batman Movie’s helmer, Chris McKay in this major outing besides being Star Lord and handling raptors.
Dan Forester (Pratt) is an ex-military veteran turned biology teacher, not the ideal job which he craves but it is financially enough to support his family of three. When a group of soldiers are beamed down from the future, (the year 2030 to be exact) to request assistance to fight a war against alien creatures known as “whitespikes”, Dan is shortly being drafted to be send to a battlefield in Miami beach via a wormhole device known as a jumplink to rescue a group of lab personnel. Armed with minimum knowledge of the “whitespikes” and a bunch of inexperienced civilians acting as soldiers, will Dan survive in the end or risk endangering the fate of mankind?
There’s a high chance that writer Zach Dean is inspired by movies liked Battle: Los Angeles and Edge of Tomorrow because the story is strewn with bits and pieces from the aforementioned titles. It’s essentially a war movie to say the least but fortunately, it also has some important messages to tell. Just when you thought there’s nothing interesting coming up after the intro of Dan, his family and all the alien invasion hogwash, in comes a buff up J.K. Simmons playing Dan’s estranged father and shady anti-government war veteran, James. Well, James is an interesting character who probably has lots of epic war stories to tell and from what we know, he is trying to amend his relationship with Dan by writing to Dan’s daughter, Muri for a start. It’s always nice to have J.K. Simmons around and The Tomorrow War is a better movie partly because of him.
And just when you assumed it’s going to be a by-the-numbers action piece, Dean delivers a prominent stake in the form of Muri without giving the twist away. The time travel concept doesn’t always work still it’s credible enough to provide a few emotional beats in addition to the fancy effects. There’s also some comic relief courtesy from Charlie (Sam Richardson), a PhD science expert who manages to survive the first mission and Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a sombre, all too serious cancer stricken soldier who vows to die in the most honourable way. It’s a simplistic movie after all.
For a title which is originally meant to be seen on the big screen, it’s never short of frenetic action and mayhem. The sequence in Miami Beach is a standout for its tension-filled sequence which is largely set in a building. McKay delivered a good mix of mindless action and CGI for his first live-action debut. While there’s potential to be more edgy, brutal and less predictable, The Tomorrow War is still an enjoyable solid popcorn movie in spite of its flaws. Pratt should consider teaming up with his father-in-law in the next alien invasion pic.
Review by Linus Tee