TL;DR – An interesting film with a concept that intrigues you, delights you, and also kind of terrifies you.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this film.
The Tomorrow War Review –
The Alien Invasion genre and the Time Travel genre are ones that you would expect to crash into each other more often than they do. But there are times when they crash into each other you get fantastic, weird works like Edge of Tomorrow. Today we get another entry into this world with a war that is coming in the future, but we are fighting it now.
We open with Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) crashing into a city on fire. War has come to this land and left carnage in its wake. Twenty-eight years earlier, in December 2022, Dan is with his wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin), and daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) are watching the World Cup after Dan lost out to another private-sector job when an explosion happens in the middle of the final match. It was not a bomb, but Lt. Hart (Jasmine Mathews) and her team coming back from the future. They are at war with an Alien force, and humanity is losing. They need people from the past to jump to the future and help them fight, or all humanity is doomed.
There is a lot to recommend here, but I will look at the visual effects first. The White Spikes are a fascinating example of creature design. Some elements feel familiar, and there are elements that I have never seen used in that way before, which leads to them being particularly dangerous when they have a mix of seven appendages that can destroy. You feel they are a threat from the moment they first appear, and that level of threat never abates throughout the film. There were also some nice touches on the cinematography front, with the film going out of its way to make it feel that the camera was right in the middle of things, including a lot of digital splatters, which I do quite love. This is combined with some big wow moments as the camera slows down to reveal the vista, usually a vista of destruction.
While we don’t see that same level of destruction and modification to the world in films like Love and Monsters, what we do get is intriguing. The highlight on this front was the design of Deepswell-9 that look both cobbled together with whatever they could find and tailor-built for what it is. This also supports all the action scenes, of which there are many throughout the film. As you always feel that the enemy holds all the cards, every engagement feels like you are already in a losing position. Add into the mix people who are primarily not trained military professionals, and well, then you have carnage waiting to happen. I did like the small touches that show that people have been fighting the aliens for so long that they have learned some tricks to take them down.
On the surface, this is an action film where Chris Pratt shoots his way through as many enemies as he can, trying to save as many people as he can. But this film also wants to be more than that, and this is where it sucked me in. For a start, this is a film that understands people will ask about paradoxes, so it knows how to answer that question. As well as this, The Tomorrow War explores many different aspects of the world, including post-traumatic stress and what happens to people when they come home from war? The effect that a probably no-win scenario has on society and the people within? How do families cope with the world shifting 180 degrees out from underneath them? The film makes a valiant effort in exploring each of these themes and more. Because there are so many themes going on here, some aspects of the film feel a little short-changed or wrapped up a bit too nicely. However, there are some moments where the emotion did hit the target because of some good work from Chris Pratt and Yvonne Strahovski.
In the end, do we recommend The Tomorrow War? Yes, yes, we would. It is a solid action flick that is grappling with some more significant themes, and while they don’t always stick the landing, I appreciate that they tried. If you liked The Tomorrow War, I would also recommend to you Occupation Rainfall.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Tomorrow War
Directed by – Chris McKay
Written by – Zach Dean
Music by – Lorne Balfe
Cinematography by – Larry Fong
Edited by – Roger Barton & Garret Elkins
Production/Distribution Companies – Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, New Republic Pictures, Phantom Four Films, Lit Entertainment Group & Amazon Studios
Starring – Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mike Mitchell, Jared Shaw, Alexis Louder, Rose Bianco, Seychelle Gabriel, Alan Trong, Chibuiken Uche & Dave Maldonado
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: PG-13; Germany: 16; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: 12; United States: PG-13