77 / 100
Watchable Minutes : 100 / 138. After I finished watching this movie, I felt like I just left a buffet and overate to the point where I need to loosen my belt. There was a LOT of content jammed in here and most of it could have been doled out to the audience a little bit better.
Trailer Comparison : I don’t think that Prime Studios has any reason to not make a good trailer, especially if the movie is somewhat decent. This matches the movie beat for beat.
Movie or Film : Most sci-fi is going to fall into the movie bucket, it’s pretty much a given. The messaging and themes are often times too weak to make it into the film category and The Tomorrow War is no different.
- Run time : 2 hours 18 minutes
- Studio : Paramount Studios
- Director : Chris McKay
- Where to Watch : Prime Video
Not far into the future, an alien race is wreaking havoc across earth and has pushed humanity to the brink of extinction. With rudimentary time travel technology, humanity looks to their past to find the answer to their crisis. Civilians from the past are drafted to fight in the tomorrow war. Dan Forrester is one such civilian drafted to fight and despite his family’s wishes for him to stay, he feels this is his chance to do something special with his life and save his daughter from an uncertain future of destruction.
Dan Forrester, played by Chris Pratt, was a good soldier who turned to academia after realizing that the army wasn’t going to give him the career he wanted. He has motivations and desires outside of being a soldier and wants to provide for his family but also reach what he believes to be his full potential. I found this character to be pretty relatable and interesting. He wasn’t just another generic sci-fi main character, which was refreshing even though he wasn’t that deep. As we progress through the story from the viewpoint of Dan, we learn about the doomed war that humanity is fighting in the future and what the stakes are. It’s not entirely unique, and I think that Edge of Tomorrow (Live, Die, Repeat) did it better, but this was passably entertaining. The subplot about Dan’s daughter being the lead researcher for humanity in the future was the low hanging fruit option that I didn’t really enjoy that much. What I did enjoy about that decision was the follow up to SPOILERS kill her, thus motivating Dan to go back to the present and eliminate the horde of aliens with the help of his estranged father. Speaking of the aliens, the creature design was interesting. They were creepy looking and sounded unsettling, kinda like the shoebill stork. While the story wasn’t completely original, there were some cool bits and pieces of lore and worldbuilding that I thought were really cool. I liked the way that the time travel worked, with two flotillas anchoring the two points in time together. I also thought it was cool that they mentioned that while the two points are anchored together, time still moves forward. It created a special sense of urgency that really helped move the movie along. All that said, I think the story was well though out and entertaining but a little too much fluff (and one really stupid plot point that I don’t want to discuss yet) keeps it from being great.
The big names in this cast were obviously Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, and JK Simmons. All three had some pretty great chemistry, particularly Pratt and Strahovski. There were some awkward moments where the writing quality dropped, particularly where JK Simmons and Chris Pratt interacted. Their scenes just didn’t seem to be as well thought out as Pratt and Strahovski’s. While they were never on screen all at the same time, they all managed to create the same tone in all their delivery which helped keep me immersed in the world. The ancillary cast which included Sam Richardson, Jasmine Mathews, and Edwin Hodge were all excellent additions. They provided several key personalities and characters that were needed to keep this movie afloat. Richardson had some sneaky funny dialogue that prevented the movie from getting too serious. Mathews and Hodge both brought experience and precision with their roles to round out the desperation and precision of the whole story.
I’m not the world’s biggest Chris McKay fan, but I did really enjoy his work on The Lego Movie and on Lego Batman. Both of them were obviously very funny and entertaining in their own rights, and it translated well into The Tomorrow War. Like I said above, there was some sneaky good humor in the writing that made it come off far less serious. The biggest flaws I noticed was the extra fluff here and there plus the point where they needed to find out some information about volcanoes and they turned to a freaking high school student. That’s just unforgivably stupid, not even funny. The entirety of the human race has just come together for the first time to ensure we survive as a species and not one person in Chris Pratt’s immediate vicinity at the military base has a single brain cell devoted to random volcano trivia. No, they have to go to a random high school student that Chris Pratt’s character was teaching before he was drafted.
On the surface, The Tomorrow War seemed to me that it would be another “Groundhog Day” type sci-fi movie, a la Live, Die, Repeat (Edge of Tomorrow). However, there’s enough of a difference here that it isn’t completely overshadowed by similar movies and I think that there are a few key elements that really make this movie stand on its own two legs. This time bending adventure (that’s got some sneaky good humor) from Chris McKay and Amazon Studios is a fun option for a weekend night in.
If you like this, check out :
- Live Die Repeat
- Groundhog Day
- The Lego Batman Movie