A family man is drafted to fight in a future war where the fate of humanity relies on his ability to confront the past. (from IMDb)
Twenty Five years after humanity fought off an alien invasion on the 4th of July in Independence Day, Paramount Pictures and Amazon Prime Video have brought movie fans another futuristic alien encounter with The Tomorrow War. Starring, and executive produced by, Hollywood superstar Chris Pratt, The Tomorrow War is about soldiers from almost thirty years in the future who come back to 2022 to recruit people to fight a war with aliens in their time. It's not nearly as large scale as the ambitions of Independence Day, but it's no less entertaining. And, if anything, The Tomorrow War just has a little bit more heart (and perhaps less blatant American patriotism) than the aforementioned 1996 box office smash.
The Tomorrow War is just another one of the many films affected by 2020's global pandemic. Paramount/Skydance had financed the film and reportedly sold it to Amazon for exclusive distribution for a whopping $200 million. It's actually unfortunate, in a way, because while it has become the top streaming film in its debut weekend (according to a social media post from Pratt), it's definitely the kind of movie best experienced on the biggest screen possible. This movie feels tailor-made for the theater experience, not just your home TV screen (much like Godzilla vs Kong translated so much more strongly on IMAX than the home theater). To be fair, a movie's life is short-lived in theaters, but I couldn't help feeling on more than one occasion that this movie would have been awesome on the big screen (especially IMAX or Dolby).
The story is a neat one, even if it will likely remind viewers of many other films that have come before it - like Terminator, Edge of Tomorrow, Independence Day, World War Z and other alien invasion or time-bending films. While many large-scale disaster/invasion films, like Independence Day to continue that example, include too many characters to follow just one central character, The Tomorrow War centers mostly on Pratt's character, Dan Forester, a science teacher who is also former special ops, who gets drafted (against his will) to fight the war in the future. As he's transported into the most dangerous world of tomorrow, he leaves behind a wife and his sweet 9-year-old daughter, Muri. He finds himself fighting alongside a few experienced warriors, but also other very green, very scared civilians that he must help keep alive as they battle forces unknown. These unknown enemies turn out to be aliens they call "white spikes," which kill their prey by shooting large, nasty spikes out of their tentacles, and eating their victims with gigantic, sharp teeth. They're also super difficult to kill, and hunt in numbers. It's a pretty hopeless, no-win scenario.
I've been a fan of Pratt's since his time in Parks and Recreation, and I think he's done well to make the transition from dopey slacker to charming action hero (surprisingly). From Owen in the Jurassic World series to Star-Lord in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and even the western remake The Magnificent Seven, he's proven he can do it. And for The Tomorrow War, he balances that everyday-man kind of persona with the heroics of a leading star, and it helps elevate The Tomorrow War above being just another bargain bin sci-fi action film. Now, in reality, this movie is pretty straightforward about what it is. There's some good character drama involving Dan and his family, with some wonderful scenes set around the midpoint of the movie, but the movie is primarily an action-packed monster flick. The body count is high (although the death moments are seldom all that gruesome), and the alien beasts are shown in great numbers. It's a great summer "popcorn flick" that you just shouldn't overthink or take too seriously. And I think it's good enough to be worth revisiting. The movie seems to be getting mixed reviews from viewers, but it's a satisfying sci-fi action film that delivers on the entertainment when you just want to sit back and be thrilled. It definitely sucked me in and took me along for the ride.
The content of The Tomorrow War is a firm PG-13. At first, with very little language heard in the first 20 minutes or so of the movie, I was feeling like it would be a lighter film in that regard. However, as the events escalate, so does the profanity, and one scene has the character Charlie rapidly using the "S" word about 40 to 50 times in a matter of a few seconds as he's being chased by a white spike. Later, the character Dorian uses the movie's lone "F" word in a casual-yet-stern response to someone's suggestion. Other profanity is a steady mix of what you'd expect from the rating and genre. Violence is intense at times. The monsters themselves are pretty scary looking and intimidating. We see some blood on characters, but none of it is especially gruesome. There's one scene where a large white spike gets a soldier caught in its jaws and it bites the man in half, but it's done right on the edge of the screen--and we see it from behind the monster, so it's not too graphically shown. There's lots of yellowish, gooey blood shown when the creatures are shot or blown up, and we even see the creatures get decapitated a time or two. Finally, there's one very quick shot of a man with an arm missing, and near the end of the film, we see a character drag a knife across their palm to draw blood (to attract a monster). Overall, it's a pretty intense movie, so I'd keep that in mind if any of the younger ones are hoping to see it.
While there doesn't seem to be any spiritual content in the film, the movie's story has a surprising generation-spanning family-centric theme. Dan is estranged from his gruff, military-based father (played by J.K. Simmons), and refuses to let him see his daughter. Things are even more complicated when Dan learns in the future that he's just as capable to commit some of his own father's faults, and the movie offers an encouraging theme about giving - and getting - second chances.
Overall, The Tomorrow War is an enjoyable futuristic alien invasion action movie. It's not super deep, but it doesn't try or pretend to be, and just aims to entertain. A solid cast delivers solid performances (it was great to see Yvonne Strahovski from TV's Chuck here as well), and some fun action sequences involving some really memorable monsters make The Tomorrow War a highlight of the 2021 summer movie season.- John DiBiase (reviewed: 7/5/21)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
|Jeremy Camp Releases Title-Track from New Album, "Deeper Waters," Today
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 16:35:00 EST
|We Are Messengers Drops "I Found Rest," Featuring Tourmate Ben Fuller, Today
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 16:30:00 EST
|Martin Smith Shares JOY With The World With New Single
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 16:00:00 EST
|"No Filter" From Sarah Kroger Is Out Now
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 15:55:00 EST
|Ernie Haase and Signature Sound Let Freedom Ring at NRB Presidential Forum
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 15:25:00 EST
|Gather25 to Unite Christians Globally on March 1, 2025
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 14:25:00 EST
|Bethel's Josh Baldwin Releases New Live Project, "Made for More"
Fri, 01 Mar 2024 13:55:00 EST
|No. 1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Duck Dynasty Patriarch Phil Robertson Boldly Shares I Could Be Wrong, But I Doubt It: Why Jesus Is Your Greatest Hope on Earth and in Eternity”
Wed, 21 Feb 2024 01:46:13 +0000
|God Loves the Whole World: Global Church Network Launches Synergize 2024 Conference on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14
Wed, 14 Feb 2024 19:19:54 +0000
|“1999: 25 Albums Celebrate 25 Years” by Josh Balogh
Sun, 11 Feb 2024 04:22:33 +0000