Hungry aliens make mincemeat of future humans in an action-packed, but nonsensical sci-fi blockbuster. The Tomorrow War has Chris Pratt conscripted into a temporal conflict. Mankind is getting decimated, so a time portal is invented to get reinforcements from the past. The high concept plot is easily picked apart by common sense and logic. What does work is an emotional core that marries well with the big-budget special effects. The Tomorrow War never lets you forget what’s at stake. That investment in the primary characters helps to smooth over bumps in the narrative.
Chris Pratt stars as Dan Forester, an Iraq War veteran working as a high school biology teacher. In December 2022, he throws a Christmas party with his wife (Betty Gilpin), and young daughter, Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). Dan tosses away a card from his estranged father (J.K. Simmons). The party is interrupted when the TV broadcasts a stunning event. Soldiers from the future appear with terrifying news. In thirty years, ravenous aliens invade the planet. Humanity is on the verge of being wiped out.
Global governments institute a draft to save the future. Once approved for service, conscripts are fitted with a Jump Band on their left arm. It allows them seven days in the future, before being automatically pulled back. That’s if you survive your tour of duty. Dan is called up for service. He’s placed in a research squad with the talkative Charlie (Sam Richardson). And battle hardened Dorian (Edwin Hodge), who’s returning for his third engagement. The future slaughter is much worse than expected. As Dan and his team fight for survival, a brilliant colonel (Yvonne Strahovski) hatches a desperate plan to save humanity.
The Tomorrow War gets specific on the details of time travel. The reason behind the seven day jump period is explained. They also have no idea where the aliens come from. No spoilers here, but you can drive a truck through the holes in the set-up. An obvious recourse could end the war before it even starts. But this is popcorn cinema, and not meant to be overly scrutinized. I can forgive the time shenanigans.
The aliens are better than expected. They’re called White Spikes. Drumroll please, they’re white and shoot spikes like bullets from multiple tentacles. State of the art CGI and creature effects deliver seriously dangerous critters. They also eat biological organisms, so the Earth is a gigantic Homo sapien buffet. The Tomorrow War does not disappoint with huge action scenes. The opening battle on Miami Beach is incredible. Sci-fi and action fans will certainly get their fill of carnage.
The family subplot that drives the film adds the right amount of heart. It’s admittedly hokey, but gives more depth than just violence and a barrage of visual candy. The Tomorrow War is the textbook, big-budget summer spectacle. It’s check your brain, purely escapist entertainment. The Tomorrow War is produced by Paramount Pictures, Skydance, and New Republic Pictures. It will premiere globally July 2nd on Prime Video from Amazon Studios.
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