We didn’t really need a futuristic apocalypse film that focuses on fighting aliens from another time, as Edge of Tomorrow really nailed that down several years ago. But Amazon, teaming up with Paramount, really felt compelled to try it anyway – and here we are with The Tomorrow War.
Directed by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie), The Tomorrow War does have a storyline that can be a bit flimsy at times, and it also goes a bit overboard sometimes on its visual effects. But there’s no doubt that it provides summer entertainment, and that’s something the filmmakers – including Chris Pratt – clearly had in mind. Empty your head and you’ll have a good time with it.
Pratt portrays Dan Forester, a former military man who spends his days working as a biology teacher and taking care of his wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin) and his young daughter Muri. But one day, trouble comes knocking when soldiers from the future arrive to enlist extra humans to help them fight an extraterrestrial force. It turns out that humanity has dwindled to less than 500,000 folks 30 years from now, and if the war isn’t fought, it could all be lost.
There are questions to be asked here, like why the time travel wasn’t used to just stop the war in the first place instead of whisking people into a war zone with minimal training. But, hey, this is summer movie territory – if everything made sense with that, we wouldn’t really be getting anywhere, now would we?
The film does have some flimsiness with its storytelling, particularly with the relationship between Dan and his estranged father James (J.K. Simmons, who can certainly rock a beard). But things pick up when a Colonel from the future (Yvonne Strahovski) arrives, adding a personal touch to the proceedings without going too overboard on the schmaltz. We won’t spoil it here, but you’ll find it interesting when it comes.
McKay does a great job with directing the film. Again, the effects aren’t always the best, but the creatures involved here are terrifying and well designed. For that matter, some of the wide shots – like a full-blown attack on a military installation – are stunning.
The performances are good, too. While this isn’t Pratt’s smoothest role, he delivers the goods where needed. Strahovski and Simmons are good fun as well, and Sam Richardson has his moments as a nervous draftee who isn’t quite ready for the futuristic fight.
The movie doesn’t quite hold up to other future sagas – Edge of Tomorrow leaves this in the dust. But it is passable – and highly enjoyable – entertainment if you’re in the right frame of mind for it. The Tomorrow War has gaps of logic and signs of being rushed here and there, but it also has some thrilling moments and solid acting. You could do worse adding it to your viewing list for…tomorrow?
The Tomorrow War is streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime.