Friday, July 2, 2021

The Tomorrow War

The Tomorrow War, about soldiers from the future who arrive to draft earlier generations to fight a war against aliens who are wiping out humankind in the future, is a passable horror movie. The problem is it's also a below average sci-fi film with aspects of a TV-movie thrown in for good measure. Director Chris McKay and writer Zach Dean struggle to make the various pieces fit into a coherent whole.

Any movie with Chris Pratt, who stars as a high school science teacher with delusions of grandeur, and Yvonne Strahovski, who stars as the future commander, starts out on pretty good footing. The film makes less use of the rest of the cast, which are mostly monster food or stuck in family drama subplots which, will of course, need to be resolved for our hero to learn his lesson.

The aliens, named "White Spikes" for their ability to shoot spikes out of their tentacles, are Chimera-ish monsters interested only in killing. Although not that interesting, the creatures do fit the bill as mindless movie monsters when the film steers into horror where it turns out to be the most successful.

At 139 minutes, The Tomorrow War is too slow to get going and drags at the end. The majority of the film focuses on Pratt's time in the future fighting aliens where his former training as a soldier helps keep him alive (but somehow didn't make him a candidate for an earlier draft). While other members of his thrown-together unit, which might as well be called Monster Fodder, play marginal roles in the tale, none really stand-out. The only other performance worth noting is J.K. Simmons as our protagonist's absentee father. And, because the script calls for it, there are of course idiot politicians and government officials who keep the plot moving by fighting against their own self-interest and survival. The Tomorrow War is a mixed bag. For those who can stick it out, there are some fun monster moments and enjoyable action scenes interspersed with mostly clumsy attempts at sci-fi jargon, underdeveloped time travel paradoxes, and family drama.

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