July 2nd, 2021
MOVIE: THE TOMORROW WAR
STARRING: CHRIS PRATT, YVONNE STRAHOVSKI, J.K. SIMMONS, BETTY GILPIN, SAM RICHARDSON
DIRECTED BY: CHRIS MCKAY
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
With The Tomorrow War I think it’s safe to say that Chris Pratt just doesn’t have the factors needed to drive a movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy star often works better in comedies, or playing a character that has a sarcastic air about them. His newest venture is not entirely a Chris Pratt problem, it certainly doesn’t help, but is missing the smaller things that make a cool science fiction work. The Tomorrow War is also a victim to the various issues that occur with stories involving time travel. There are many things that keep Chris McKay’s (The Lego Batman Movie director) newest action film from being a massive hit, while it has thrilling scenes, very cool monster creatures, it’s the minor things that create massive frustration. The Tomorrow War might be a movie to revisit in the future, but today it’s a big disappointment.
The main character is Dan Forester (Pratt), a high school science teacher, and former marine, looking for a big promotion and keeping his focus on wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin) and daughter Muri. When watching a soccer match, a convenient event occurs, where soldiers from the future arrive to warn people of the bleak existence ahead of them, where humans are being wiped out in massive numbers. From that day forward the world reinstalled the military draft, sending humans into the future, with dire results and a thirty-percent survival rate. Fast forward to Dan being chosen for the draft, where a time travel wristband is applied to his arm, and given seven days to help save the world before he’s taken back to his present day.
The screenplay for The Tomorrow War is written by Zach Dean, where he receives credit for attempting to make something original. There’s a sense of Independence Day, where common people with zero military training are thrown into the mix to save the world, but what Roland Emmerich’s classic blockbuster never had was a long list of plot holes that the audience can pick apart. And there are a lot in The Tomorrow War, the biggest one being that McKay and his team never seem to answer why they just don’t go back in time to stop any of the bad things from the beginning? It seems like humanity has reached a peak of scientific discovery, but can’t do anything logical with it. Instead they just go full steam ahead to fight the monsters.
The positive side is that The Tomorrow War has some of the coolest monsters in a movie for quite some time. They are massive crawling crab-like, tentacled beasts, shooting spikes, and ferocious, gnashing teeth that bite heads off. It’s in the same boat with the creatures from A Quiet Place II, Monster Hunter or the bugs of Starship Troopers, and McKay sets up two fantastic set pieces. One where the beasts are first revealed on a building stairway, as Dan and his ragtag gang- which includes Sam Richardson as Dan’s new buddy, Edwin Hodge as the veteran of missions, and Yvonne Strahovski as the general on the ground- fight for their survival for another day. And a second scene where Dan’s troops enter a massive nest for the monsters, forced to shoot their way out, while trying to capture one of them for scientific research. It’s in these moments where one could easily sink into The Tomorrow War, but as the plot thickens, the dumber the entire concept becomes.
The Tomorrow War is a true two star movie, constantly swinging back and forth between exciting sci-fi action, and a clunky big budget bomb. Scenes shift between shitty CGI green screen shots, only to turn around and have fascinating monster beasts infesting a mountain, like a horde of zombies in World War Z. The other problem is just the performances, which all can be filed under the lacking emotion category, especially Pratt. You throw in the fact that Betty Gilpin is saddled with being the weeping wife at home, waiting for her man to return, and J.K. Simmons in a minor role as father that was never there. You top that off with the fact that The Tomorrow War is an egregious two hours and twenty minutes long, complete with an unnecessary third act, and what you have is an expensive misfire. Hopefully it’s the final straw in the Chris Pratt leading man experiment or maybe he can go back into comedy. That suits him better. As for today, The Tomorrow War is going to be a forgotten movie the further we go into the future. I think that will be a good thing.
THE TOMORROW WAR PREMIERES ON AMAZON PRIME FRIDAY JULY 2ND
Written by: Leo Brady