Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past.
Me: (Sits down, picks up remote and scrolls through my Firestick to see what’s new this week)…“Hey! The Tomorrow War is out, wonder what’s this is about as I refuse to watch trailers anymore because they suck the fun out of every movie before I can even see it.” (I have long-winded conversations with myself).
Me after reading synopsis: “Okay, time travel shenanigans. I know EXACTLY what I need to do. Time to switch off the old logic-having side o’ my brain!”
Me 15 minutes into the film: Ha! I knew it! Who needs logic when there’s alien blasting fun to be had!
GO CHRIS! SHOOT ‘EM IN THEIR UGLY FACES!!
The above is just to give you a glimpse into my frame of mind while watching The Tomorrow War, a movie that borrows heavily from earlier films like Independence Day and Edge of Tomorrow. But you know what? I’m not mad at it! Retreaded ground or not, this was the first movie I’ve seen for the year that made me TRULY wish my local cinemas were open.
Yes my friends, the blockbuster force is strong with this one. It tells the (mostly) straightforward story of a future world on the brink of extinction due to brutal and incessant attacks of an alien invading race called the Whitespikes. With zero options and time running out, humanity creates a time machine to send soldiers back into the past, not to prevent the war from happening mind you (if they did that we wouldn’t have a movie) but to recruit bakers, bankers, teachers, the guy who drops off your Amazon packages, basically anyone they can, to travel back to the future (heh) and help them stop the human race from being wiped out.
Director Chris McKay might be more familiar with animated action (he directed both The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) but that just means he knows how to have fun with his action sequences, and that’s on full display here. No two moments were alike and I was entertained by all of them. The stakes jumped a bit each time which kept the energy levels high, and while I wished the final showdown between the aliens and our heroes was a bit more bombastic, I was still fully on board.
The creature designs and special effects were top notch. Add to that the stellar sound design and you have instant nightmare fuel on your hands. Yes, the Whitespikes were a formidable looking race of monsters. They could almost pass for demons which upped the thrill factor and added to the “believability” that such creatures, even without the use of futuristic weaponry, could take out an entire planet.
Chris Pratt is also quite good here as our leading man Dan (hey, that rhymes). He doesn’t do smart-ass Star-Lord or…smart-ass Owen Grady (Jurassic World) but instead he’s a family man here with dreams of being a recognised scientist instead of just a school teacher (with an ex-military background of course, because every action hero needs be ex-military). So when he’s drafted into the war he wants to not just do the right thing but he also wants to ensure a future for his family and himself.
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale, Chuck) is quite good as his older daughter and their scenes together add emotional weight to a movie that doesn’t leave a lot of room for it. J.K. Simmons, who plays Dan’s estranged father, makes me wish he was my dad, Edwin Hodge (The Purge 1, 2 and 3) has a small but impactful role as draftee Dorian, while Sam Richardson (Werewolves Within) is our comic relief. It’s a big cast and sadly not everyone can get the screen time they deserve, but I felt like all involved gave it their best and I appreciate that.
Where The Tomorrow War stumbles may be in the plot holes that come with nearly all time travel-based stories. They do try to answer the kind of questions viewers will come up with like, “Why not travel to BEFORE the war and stop it from ever happening?” Answer: Because the machine they built can only jump to two specific points in time. “Why don’t the humans in the past find where the aliens landed and take those sons o’ bitches out?” Answer: Because no one is sure WHERE or WHEN they landed, they only have a rough estimate. “Why send Chris Pratt into the future to pull off a secret mission that might be affected by his emotional attachments?” Answer: Because we have a movie to make dammit! Stop asking questions!
This is a movie that doesn’t require digging beneath the surface. Like almost all blockbuster movies you’re just supposed to lay back and enjoy the scenery, and I don’t know about you but I had no problem doing just that.
Yes The Tomorrow War is derivative of Independence Day and yes it has plot holes you could drive a truck through. Then again, so does Independence Day or Terminator 2: Judgment Day or most any other movie with “day” in the title. I’m being a bid ridiculous but you get my meaning.
This is a movie, like its predecessors, that would’ve benefited greatly from a large screen, a killer sound system and a pitch black room that smelled of popcorn and soda. Instead I put on my headphones, dialed up the volume and just let this sci-fi action-packed blockbuster make me feel like it was the old days again. And any movie that can pull that off gets a gold star in my book.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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