The actors are likable, but the aliens are “Independence Day” boring.
“The Tomorrow War” is a Sci-Fi action movie that channels on the success of “Independence Day,” which wasn’t that good of a movie to begin. And you know how its sequel “Resurgence” was on my lists of the Worst Movies of 2016 and of the Decade with its insipid and pathetic recycled alien invasions. This is almost as lame as that would-be franchise. Almost, because the actors here are more interesting than anything else going on in the movie.
Chris Pratt produces and stars in the lead role, and as usual, he delivers as an action star with a sense of humor (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Lego Movie,” “Jurassic World,” etc.). After all, he was a comedy star with “Parks and Recreation” helping him reach for the top. And he’s also given fresh support from Yvonne Strathhovski and J.K. Simmons, both of whom use their timing and attitudes. But why couldn’t the script or the aliens be as lively as them? Why couldn’t director Chris McKay (“The Lego Batman Movie”) make his live-action debut with the same kind of heights as James Gunn in “Guardians of the Galaxy?” I guess not everything can be like that movie, and I suppose McKay wanted to jumpstart his movie career, but “The Tomorrow War” just feels so lackluster.
The movie takes place next year, where soldiers from the future come back to warn people that humanity will perish by an alien invasion, unless they do something about it. Militaries have to send their best soldiers into the year 2051 to battle them. Pratt portrays an Iraq vet and biology teacher named Dan Forester, who gets drafted into the fight. Basic training is required for him and the other draftees, which includes the comic relief character Charlie (Sam Richardson), and the more serious Dorian (Edwin Hodge).
Before being drafted, Dan is a family man with his wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin) and his little girl Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). And since he’s now in the future-located on Miami Beach-his little girl is all grown up, and portrayed by Yvonne Strahovski, she’s now his Colonel. When the movie isn’t consumed by all the fights and attacks, we’re able to see them as individuals who try their best to cut back on the routine formula. Well, when Muri criticizes him for nearly putting the mission at risk, Dan still tells her he’s still her father, whose trying to protect her.
The draftees all know what year they’re supposed to die, although some can’t know how. For example, Dorian has cancer, while Dan would end up in a car accident. I assume the former found out by coughing or something, while Muri tearfully tells Dan about the results of him leaving his family. However, she’s developed a formula for Dan to save the future and end the war. That’s when he enlists his new war buddies and estranged father (Simmons) for assistance.
The alien’s Achilles heel is their necks and their bodies. But who cares? They’re just as boring and generic as the ones in “Independence Day,” only this time, they either look like video game creature or splices of the Xenomorph in “Alien” or the monsters in “The Great Wall.” Let’s say they both had a baby, and it ain’t cute.
Not only do the aliens suck, but also the action and explosions are wall-to-wall. Does every action movie need rely on all these disasters and noises? And Michael Bay had nothing to do with this. And as always, the story has to be convoluted and confusing. Written by Zach Dean (“Deadfall”), I still don’t understand how the time jump functions, and why the scientists who specialized in can’t give their soldiers a safe landing.
Again, the actors are fine for their own respective reasons-Pratt and Strahovski being the action heroes while Richardson provides some laughs and Simmons and Hodge use their tones wisely. And it may have been released on Amazon Prime for obvious reasons, but “The Tomorrow War” is still not something I’d see again and again. It’s more of the same gimmicks we’ve seen done better before.
Streaming on Amazon Prime