It’s no accident that The Tomorrow War got released on the Fourth Of Joly weekend. No doubt the film’s creators thought their creation might ride the groundswell of patriotism and love of country that occurs annually this time of year. Perhaps they were hoping that sentimentality might help to cover up the film’s many flaws. The idea of a film’s popularity based on emotions is not new. In fact, sci-fi fans are among the most sentimental movie-goers in the world. They remain loyal to films they remember as a great way back then that hardly deserve their affection, not considering how our sensibilities change.in time
If you are not certain, The Tomorrow War is a war movie; it says so right in the title, Which means all the classic war movie tropes are here. Including lots of macho masculinity, life and death situations, bloodshed, and in this case, almost inconceivably massive body counts. This film has all the moments you might expect in a movie about war moments of bravery from unexpected heroes and more classic war story tropes, including a touch of humor. A cast meant to represent people from all walks of life coming together over a common cause. The film is also based on several classic sci-fi premises. Premises that have gotten conveniently rearranged and polished up with a brand new coat of paint. Premises like ancient aliens, an alien invasion of said nearly unstoppable aliens, and a nightmare scenario where humankind is in a desperate struggle facing an existential threat. What makes things slightly different his time around is that it introduces time travel early on in the film’s narrative.
War and science fiction, not a bad combination. Lots of enjoyable films have come out of mixing those ingredients> Films like Starship Troopers (1997), Independence Day (1996), and of course, the well-loved modern classic The Edge Of Tomorrow (2014). The Tomorrow War is reminiscent of all those films which, if you are a new movie, that’s pretty good company. The problems with this movie begin when, after borrowing all the best ideas from all those other sources, it tries to marry them to a purely sentimental narrative involving the corniest, most sentimental, totally contrived feeling narrative about appreciating what’s right in front of you and getting a second chance in life.
Not familiar with this title? The Tomorrow War is a 2021 American military science fiction film directed by Chris McKay. It is produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, David S. Goyer, Jules Daly, and Adam Kolbrenner and written by Zach Dean. The film stars Chris Pratt (who also executively produced), Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin and follows a mix of present-day soldiers and civilians sent into the future to fight an alien army. The cast and supporting cast asr are excellent in their respective roles, with Pratt hamming it up quite a bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a little old-fashioned sentimentality, and there is nothing wrong with a story about the love between a father and his daughter. In fact, I am as sentimental as the next guy, maybe more, and there’s nothing wrong with corniness if it is done well. The thing is, this emotional subplot almost completely hijacks the entire film so that the action thriller part becomes the subplot, and the sentimentality takes center stage instead of the other way around. This film leans way too hard into sentimentality IMO. The writing rises to the challenge with weak dialogue during parts that call for something memorable. The Tomorrow War tries like hell to conjure some heart but fails to achieve that goal. One more thing, that final fight scene where father and son battle the gigantic alien ‘queen’ was meant, I am sure to give this film a memorable and heart-warming finish< but ends up being way over the top and way too long. I couldn’t shake the feeling this was a story created by the committee and not the heartfelt creation of an earnest mind. This, to me, is where the film blows it, and I am sure many of you have opinions of this film far less kind than I am here. If the film’s creators had not insisted on interjecting this overpowering sentimentality into the film, we might have a pretty good sci-fi war movie on our hands. Whether you think the film’s shortcomings are forgivable or not is up to you, dear reader.
The Tomorrow War actually does a pretty good job portraying the harsh realities of modern warfare into the 21st century and just how scary being in urban combat against an unknown enemy in unfamiliar territory can be, and just how suddenly fatal. Following the modern trend, like most action/thrillers these days, the film does make liberal use of CGI, which means a good chunk of this ‘live-action movie is actually animated. Like it or not, you may also enjoy it, because this is a trend that, as far as I can tell. Will be with us for at least a few more years, maybe decades. Besides, the aliens in this are truly nightmarish, a memorable synthesis of anthropoid and insect that is truly disturbing. Add to that they are tough and challenging to harm, and almost everything proof. They are like the equivalent of a fast-moving spider and a tank combined. What a waste of some truly frightening creatures
So, overall, despite some memorable and dazzling cinematic moments, along with a pretty solid assortment of sci-fi premises as a foundation, The Tomorrow War, while being moderately entertaining(mostly visual), in my opinion, falls short of greatness and is just another okay film in a myriad of recent action thrillers.