The Tomorrow War starring Chris Pratt has this fundamental issue of being a hybrid of several other blockbusters. From time traveling to alien invasion, the script written by Zach Dean is not trying to achieve anything unique. We are not given a lot of details about how and why many things are happening. And at the end of the movie, we have Chris Pratt doing a fight with the alien that reminded me of what happened to the helicopter in the climax of Radhe. The visual effects extravaganza could have given the movie an illusion of being an okay one on the big screen, but it just looks like a waste of money in a direct OTT release.
So the movie is about a war that happens in 2051. Aliens (Whitespikes) have invaded earth, and the remaining humans of 2051 travel back in time to 2022 and request maximum people to go to 2051 and fight the war with them. Thus, our hero Dan Forester, who is now working as a science teacher, also gets recruited for this mission. The Tomorrow War is basically Dan’s experiences in this future world and how he eventually stops the war from ever happening (No. It’s not a spoiler. It’s there in the trailer).
The very first scene of the movie is Dan’s entry to 2051. Then Chris McKay takes us to the present (or future) 2022, where we see Dan as this struggling scientist who is looking for a better job opportunity. Then when the whole time-traveling thing happens, and the film starts to skip through a lot of practical confusions. Like I already said, the beats are pretty familiar, and maybe that’s why they never bothered disclosing all the vital plot points in the movie’s trailer.
First, you have this apocalypse phase happening in the movie where Dan and a small team need to escape from a place that is highly populated with the Whitespikes, and it’s too much at the beginning itself. It was almost like you started watching the last one hour of a Michael Bay movie. The next phase is largely on the emotional side, and it’s the area where you get some breathing space to know what actually happened. There are certain surprises here, which you will get to enjoy only if you turn off that XRay feature in Amazon Prime. Then you have the third phase, where the solution for the whole thing is happening. The only thing that made this movie interesting was the fact that in terms of the chaos quotient, it was following the reverse order from the other films.
Chris Pratt does tend to be Star-Lord whenever possible. It felt more like his solo attempt at a blockbuster big-screen experience rather than a challenging character. In terms of performance, I think it was Yvonne Strahovski who got the better role here. She has to be this stubborn leader and that extremely emotional girl who lost everyone at the same time, and the script also offers her some scenes to display all that. JK Simmons was fine as Forester’s hard-to-get-along father.
Chris McKay and Zach Dean are in no mood to explain what is happening to the viewer for almost 3/4th of the movie. That strategy would have been great if the events happening surprised us on a creative level. We are shown these bits of father-daughter sentiment, patriotism, etc., as the story progresses, and despite being very chaotic visually, it never really holds your interest. The script can be divided into four major action set pieces. The makers are trying to tap into the emotional angle of the story, but all these are already tried and tested. And the last set-piece in the movie has Chris Pratt literally punching and kicking a dangerous Whitespike, and JK Simmons’ dialogue at that point might have been added later in order to save the lack of logic in that fight. The editing was really bad in terms of giving us space continuity during set-pieces. Even in one of those initial scenes that depict Dan’s frustration, one could see unnecessary cuts that just made no sense.
The Tomorrow War is a movie that wants to touch those emotional aspects in the usual time-travel, save the world story. But they are in so much of a hurry like those soldiers in the future that neither the science nor the emotion in the story gets a breathing space to explain itself. It was a script that needed a lot of fine-tuning and layering, but the makers were only focusing on visuals that projected a large-scale event.
It was a script that needed a lot of fine-tuning and layering, but the makers were only focusing on visuals that projected a large-scale event.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended