Starring Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, and J.K. Simmons, The Tomorrow War is a new Summer action movie available on streaming, meant to capture the essence of past Summer blockbusters before the reality of a pandemic made theaters seem like a thing of the past. Is it dumb fun, comedically clichéd, or compelling? I think that’s up to the viewer – it has a little bit of everything.
Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is looking to leave his job as a science teacher and dive into the world of medicine in a real lab. A former army man and current family man, he is raising his daughter to know all about science and wants to make the world a better place. However, people from the future arrive and tell the world’s population that they are from the future, and they need to recruit people to time jump in order to fight an alien invasion- or else there won’t be a world population to save. Of course Dan is recruited, and thus begins the Tomorrow War, which sees people (military and civilian alike) ripped away from their every day lives in order to fight horrible monsters, in a timeline that is all but already doomed.
Dan teams up with Romeo Command who is in charge of his particular mission, and she (Yvonne Strahovski) helps him understand what has happened in the past, in her version of history that Dan has missed since he’s jumped forward in time. Also joining is Sam Richardson and Edwin Hodge, all teaming up to fight the aliens. However, the events that have transpired since Dan time jumped hit closer to home than he realizes. And the butterfly effects may just wind up saving the world in a different way than they all thought.
This film was nicely void of a lot of clichés – I’d say they don’t really pile up until near the end. The story is easy to follow if not rushed at parts, and the feel of it changes very quickly. The first several minutes almost feel like a light-hearted family movie, but then you quickly get reminded that this is a war movie, and it doesn’t play around. Even while they are doing impossible things like time traveling, some of the tension is very real. It’s also an epic hero film, something almost of the past. No heroes trying to understand the villains, or having to change their ways, and no big twists– just a story about a character who wants to save his family. There was almost a big twist in the middle, but they didn’t drag it out thankfully because it was very obvious to the audience (it was to me so I’m making that assumption). The aliens are terrifying, and are built up expertly.
If you are a fan of Independence Day and even something as hard-hitting as Band of Brothers, definitely give this a watch. Chris Pratt and the rest of the cast are excellent. There are certainly rushed parts like explaining the recruiting process (this could have been a two part series), and towards the ending things go a bit sideways. J.K. Simmons plays his father and I always like seeing him in every role he has. The ending also had some other kind of “twist” that I thought was unnecessary but I think they were trying to add another sense of expanded mystery, so I get why it was like that. I was concerned about the characters, which is also good- a lot of action films are almost like slasher horror movies; you’re just there to watch people die. This movie did not shy away from realism, while also playing with fun ideas like time travel. I love seeing time travel approached in different ways, so this was yet another unique one that I thought really fit the theme.
All in all, I’d say it’s definitely a hit if you can stomach some rushed explanations and a few clichéd parts (a few lines of dialogue could have been generated by a robot). I also felt like it had a theme of “everything happens for a reason,” that I like to see. It’s not forced, but rather makes you think a bit. This movie is one that Chris Pratt and everyone involved should be proud of.