This is a straightforward action movie
THE TOMORROW WAR (2021)
When I watched The Tomorrow War trailer I was intrigued. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a really engaging, well done action movie and I wanted this one to feed my craving. Although I had grown tired of Chris Pratt, this role looked like it could be a winner for him. The supporting cast of Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, and Sam Richardson looked promising so I was on board to sit back and enjoy what I hoped would be an excellent apocalyptic alien movie.
Chances are you probably aren’t familiar with director Chris McKay. His most well known directorial project is the animated movie, The Lego Batman Movie (2017). The Tomorrow War is his first stab at a live action feature length film. For a first effort, The Tomorrow War is not too shabby. There are a lot of moving parts in this movie including different timelines, a revolving cast of characters, large action sequences, and heavy CGI to make the aliens come to life. McKay doesn’t do anything revelatory here, but he doesn’t royally botch it either. This is a straightforward action movie and McKay treats it as such.
The Tomorrow War begins in 2022, at a normal suburban house party. Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) and his daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) are watching a soccer game when it’s interrupted by a massive glowing force field. A group of soldiers emerge from the force field and one of them gives a speech. She explains that they are from the future and have returned to ask for help in fighting a future war against an alien species. A draft is set up and those who are eligible are sent 30 years into the future to fight. Admittedly, the first twenty minutes could be better. When the soldiers emerge onto the field Dan asks, “Is this a joke?” And it certainly feels a little hokey. After the rushed and awkward opening, The Tomorrow War picks up and gets interesting. When Dan time jumps into the future he is greeted with a very changed world and learns some things about himself that he doesn’t love. In trying to avoid spoilers, I won’t mention the fun twist in the future but it adds an emotional layer to the story I wasn’t expecting.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Chris Pratt gives his reliably average performance as Dan. He wasn’t uber believable as a family man who is also a biologist but he was able to pull it off well enough to keep the story moving. J.K. Simmons is only in the movie very briefly but he plays the grisled father of Dan and puts in a memorable performance. Yvonne Strahovski plays Romeo Command and has probably the most compelling performance in the whole movie. She is incredibly believable as a military commander and highly intelligent biologist. The dialogue especially in the first half of the movie is a bit cringey at times and a little too on the nose. It’s a large and intricate story so things needed to be direct, but the dialogue could’ve used some tweaks to make it sound a little more believable.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Most of the visual effects for The Tomorrow War involve the aliens. They look like a cross between the monsters in Annihilation and A Quiet Place. I found them to be very well done and believable. When a swarm of them starts chasing the main characters it was intense and you could imagine being terrified if you had to face them in real life. The rest of the visual effects are your standard explosions and warfare, all of which was well done. The only visual effect I did not care for was during the soccer game at the beginning of the film. But I’m chalking that up to that entire scene being ridiculous rather than blaming it on bad visual effects.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Lorne Balfe was the composer for The Tomorrow War. Balfe is known for his work on a variety of movies including Mission Impossible - Fallout (2018) and The Florida Project (2017). Balfe creates an intense but subtle score. It highlights the drama and the turbulent emotions of battle very nicely and each scene is intensified due to the music. The score and music aren’t particularly memorable but Balfe does a good job of making sure the music works with the action on screen.
The Tomorrow War will feel similar to folks who’ve seen Edge of Tomorrow (2014) with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. A man has to fight aliens alongside a strong and extremely competent woman and time travel is involved. While the dialogue could use some work and the intricacy of the story at times feels a bit rushed, The Tomorrow War is an intriguing story about a family man who is called to action. The time jumps were interesting and the overall story was engaging. Plus there are a lot of war action scenes that you hope for in a summer blockbuster. The Tomorrow War is a solid apocalyptic action movie that will entertain you for two hours and twenty minutes.
Amazon Studios will exclusively release THE TOMORROW WAR globally on Prime Video July 2nd, 2021