Director Chris McKay’s action-thriller is reminiscent of big, bad alien flicks from a few years ago; standard fare, but good fun nonetheless
Time travel, nasty toothy aliens, fathers and children, mean choppers and meaner muscle, and an adequate sprinkling of humour — the only way you know for sure it is not the ‘90s is because you are watching this film at home.
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The Tomorrow War opens with people falling out of the sky into a swimming pool. Then we are in 2022 with Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), a former soldier, now high school teacher, coming home to watch the football game with his precocious nine-year daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). The game is interrupted with a message from 2051—the planet is under attack from aliens and losing the fight spectacularly. The only hope seems to be to send soldiers from now to the future to fight the aliens — yay time travel!
Since a large proportion of the world’s armies cannot make the 30-year-jump, a world-wide conscription is initiated with civilians being sent off into the future to fight the alien hoards. The mechanics of time travel means that only those dead in this timeline can be recruited to fight the tomorrow war. The recruits are trained by people who have not been born yet so that there is disruption in the time line — you would not want to create more paperwork for the TVA now would you?
The Tomorrow War
- Director: Chris McKay
- Cast: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Keith Powers, Theo Von, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Seychelle Gabriel, Mike Mitchell
- Storyline: A former soldier goes into the future to fight aliens
- Duration: 138 minutes
The middle-aged recruits are sent to the future for seven days at a time. For some reason, the aliens go back to their nests on the seventh day — they are religious if not anything else. Forester sets off for 2051 much to his psychologist wife, Emmy’s, (Betty Gilpin) dismay. She asks him to reach out to his estranged father, James, (J. K. Simmons) for help. That meeting does not go as planned with both men snarling angrily at each other.
Forester and team land in 2051 in the middle of all the action with aliens, flashes, bangs, fires and all sorts of mayhem. He meets Romeo Command and realises the tough, brilliant young woman is Muri (Yvonne Strahovski) all grown up. Though they seem to be fighting a losing battle with the aliens, Muri is working on a toxin to destroy the critters so everyone can live happily ever after.
The action is thrilling and as relentless as the aliens. The humour is standard issue, testosterone-fuelled tough talk. The aliens are just that wee bit disappointing. Even though director Chris McKay told this writer in an interview that they have tried to create a different-looking alien, they just seem to look like angry, scraggly, toothsome versions of the abominable snowman.
Well, never mind, as long as the wormholes leading you to and from different timelines are kept up and running, and people fall out of the sky into the heart of action, an ancient glacier in Iceland stands in for Severnaya, and Chris Pratt flexes those happy biceps, we are not complaining.
The Tomorrow War is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video
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