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The Tomorrow War

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The Tomorrow War

Synopsis:
A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past.

People from today are sent to fight an alien threat three decades in the future in . In December of 2022, the world is shocked when soldiers from the year 2051 arrive asking for help to fight back an alien threat known as Whitespikes, which have almost completely decimated humanity. For Green Beret turned biology teacher Dan Forester () ends up being one of many drafted to travel into the future and fight in this war, leaving behind his wife Emmy () and young daughter Muri (). In the future, Dan works with Colonel Muri Forester (), who turns out to be his adult daughter, in a last-ditch effort to defeat the Whitespikes and save humanity.

The Tomorrow War is the debut live-action film from director Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie), which follows a familiar sci-fi/action premise of saving the world from the alien threat. We are introduced to the protagonist Dan Forester when he finds his post-military career stalled when he fails to get a job at a prestigious research center. This is right before the sudden arrival of soldiers from nearly three decades into the future, who desperately need help to save humanity. Sent into the nearly 2051 with other drafted recruits, Dan is surprised to find that the grown-up version of his daughter Muri is leading the resistance, though she feels a similar feeling of estrangement that Dan currently has with his father James (). The resistance has developed a toxin that can help to eliminate the Whitespikes, but it will first need to be sent back into the past safely in order to be mass-produced.

Right down to the title, The Tomorrow War is a film that is so trying to capitalize on the success of Edge of Tomorrow, I'm surprised that they didn't cast in the lead role. The film is the latest attempt to make traditionally comic actor Chris Pratt, who is also an executive producer on this film, into an action star and he still doesn't seem right for the part. The film also wastes a somewhat intriguing time travel premise that doesn't really bother with the possible repercussions of sending people from the near-present to fight a war nearly three decades into the future, other than a throwaway line deciphering that the people drafted to fight are those who would already be dead by the year 2051, in order to avoid any possible time paradoxes.

Once the action jumps into the future, The Tomorrow War becomes not too distinguishable from other sci-fi/action films, though the very monstrous-looking Whitespikes are quite impressive looking when it comes to CGI aliens. The plot of The Tomorrow War is quite by the numbers, even the “aha” moment that leads into the film's third act. This is also a film that does not need to be 2h20m long and some major trimming would have made this a much more streamlined film.

I suppose that as long as he's bankable in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, they are going to try and continue to give Chris Pratt leading-man action roles, even if he's not quite suited for this genre. At least he does not come off feeling as wasted as Yvonne Strahovski, who despite having second-billing, doesn't feel quite as important to the overall story by the end of its lengthy run-time. In fact, it can almost be argued that J.K. Simmons ends up having a more important role, despite having much less screentime than Strahovski.

Ultimately, The Tomorrow War may make a fine film to waste away an afternoon with, but there are way better entries in this genre.

The Tomorrow War is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.