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  • Updated: March 24, 2022

'The Tomorrow War' Review: Chris McKay's Film Stumbles Before Soaring To New Heights

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Sydney Elike
Sydney Elike

A graduate of Theatre Arts, Writer, Movie Buff, Avid Reader, and Video Game Enthusiast. 

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The Tomorrow War is a compelling story about humanity's desperate fight for survival in the midst of insurmountable odds; more than the battle itself, it reminds those fighting what they are fighting for.

Directed by Chris McKay and starring Chris PrattYvonne StrahovskiJ.K. SimmonsEdwin Hodge, and a host of others, the movie was made available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video on July 2, 2021.

Pratt is Dan Forester, a Biology teacher who unwillingly joins a war decades in the future against vicious aliens bent on wiping off humanity from the face of the earth. The fighters are transported to the future and it's no secret that it's a losing war for earth's inhabitants.

Dan meets a future version of a loved one and together they figure out a chemical formula that could be the key to winning the war. Unfortunately, the creatures launch an unprecedented attack on the future facility and the hero must journey back to the past to save everyone's future.  

The Tomorrow War has a plot that has been executed so many times in Hollywood that it's becoming increasingly annoying to watch. Almost every sci-fi movie before it has the same basic story. But what makes this one different is the emotions and heart it rides on.

Before I get to the good parts, let me start with the film's downsides. The humour for the most part is forced as most of the jokes and cheesy one-liners ring hollow. The viewer gets the impression that the writer so badly wants him or her to laugh hence the cringy remarks.

In the early goings, some important scenes are almost marred by overly dramatic scenes; Pratt obviously struggles to show some range as an actor and is clearly overshadowed by co-star Betty Gilpin, who plays his wife.

Chris Pratt and Yvonne Strahovski in THE TOMORROW WARChris Pratt and Yvonne Strahovski in THE TOMORROW WAR

The daddy issues the protagonist has with his father are just so cliched and the talented J. K. Simmons seems a bit redundant at first. The estranged parent character stereotype is something Hollywood never gets tired of exploring and it needs to stop.

For a movie that has a lot of carnage and ever-rising casualty figures, it was disappointingly devoid of gore to make it look more realistic. I guess the PG-13 rating was always the goal here.

One thing that didn't make sense to me is the time jump explanation. It sounded like mumbo-jumbo that the writer put in there to make whoever was saying it look smart. It also brought a lot of unanswered questions.

Now, for the good parts; Yvonne Strahovski brings the needed humanity to her character. Though her screen time is shorter than I expected, the impact she makes reverberates throughout the film. As an actress, she shines alongside Pratt, holding her own in the process.

The character of Dan is more or less an as*hole whose journey and arc make him develop into the hero the story needs. Pratt's charisma and presence are undeniable and he establishes himself as a bonafide action star here.

Action lovers will have a lot to enjoy as the director leaves no stone unturned in executing the battle scenes. They are filled with pulse-pounding moments, with the viewer pondering the possibility of all those involved being eviscerated.

The alien creatures reminded me of the gigantic insects in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers. They are strong, fast, and relentlessly efficient. After watching them in action, I wondered how humanity could stand a chance against them.

One of the best elements of this movie is the musical score. It proves to be perfectly suitable to the constant mayhem and as the stakes continue to rise, so does the acoustic rendering.

For me, The Tomorrow War works not because of the glorious action and the mind-blowing spectacle but as a result of the inner struggles portrayed within two of the film's main characters. Even when faced with certain doom, moments shared with loved ones tend to rouse one's spirit to rise to the occasion.

Most of the supporting characters don't leave any lasting impression except for Edwin Hodge as a pessimistic soldier who goes out with quite the bang in the film's final act.

I will finish my review by saying that The Tomorrow War shakes off a forgettable first act to redeem itself with an engaging second part, and ultimately wows the viewer with a stunning conclusion. 

Rating: 7/10.

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Sydney Elike
Sydney Elike

A graduate of Theatre Arts, Writer, Movie Buff, Avid Reader, and Video Game Enthusiast. 

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