Cert – 12, Run-time – 2 hours 19 minutes, Director – Chris McKay
A former soldier (Chris Pratt) finds himself transported to the future to fight in a war against alien invaders, saving survivors trying to create a toxin to send to the past.
Far from the wildly colourful explosive battles of the Guardians Of The Galaxy films and The Lego Batman Movie, The Tomorrow War sees Chris Pratt and director Chris McKay find themselves placed more in the real-world. A real world that has been attacked by aliens, and where people are recruited to be transported thirty years into the future to fight against such aliens and save the less than one million population. Former soldier Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is one of these recruits, sent to help scientists who are trying to develop a toxin that can be sent to the past and be used against the aliens when they first arrive on Earth. The aliens in question are pale, towering, hunched-over figures with all sorts of sharp edges and abilities, such as firing spikes from their body – giving them the name Whitespikes. There’s no denying that there’s something rather creepy and unsettling about the creatures that line much of the action of the film.
While this doesn’t make up for the lack of tension within the almost two and a half hour course of the film it’s certainly something. The lack of tension is created from the fact that Pratt and his fellow fighters are able to easily escape and run-away from the aliens, almost entirely unscathed. Minor characters are killed off almost instantly with little fanfare but this doesn’t appear to raise the stakes. There seem to be very little consequences for everyone else on-screen for more than five minutes, or at least those who aren’t forgotten about. The overhyped nature also removes the emotional stakes that writer Zach Dean attempts to plant about halfway through. However, with all this being said, there’s still a somewhat appealing nature to some of the action sequences. It’s mostly after the establishing stages of the film are out of the way, and there are still a number of issues in the way, but over time you begin to warm to them.
Another element that you begin to warm to overtime is the presence of Chris Pratt himself. Initially he seems quite miscast in what’s aiming to be a completely straight sci-fi actioner. Yet, the crew appear to be trying to make the most of their cast and allowing them to insert oddly placed humour that doesn’t quite have an overall effect. The genre aims of the piece appear to change as the narrative develops. The core aim appears to change overtime and as things become a bit more coherent they stand up that slight bit better. The tone and style still somewhat changes with the rather episodic nature, however there’s at least a stronger narrative in place with a stronger performance with Pratt who has something better for his character to follow throughout the latter half of the film.
Tenuous and slightly forced links are still present. There are still a handful of clunky elements that you could easily rip apart and list off, yet, there’s still something about the film that keeps you in place. It isn’t a dreadful piece. It’s still watchable and provides harmless enough amusement with its punches, explosions and at times unsettling close-up interactions with and details of the Whitespikes. The search for a toxin, once finally introduced, to send to the past to use to destroy the aliens when they first land so the war in the future never happens (while creating some odd responses and plot elements) provides something better for the film to lean on and progress with, rather than the uneven track and action elements that it starts off with. It takes a while but it begins to slightly flesh out its stronger elements and develop itself. Things take a while to properly get going, but once they do there’s a harmlessly amusing, if far from perfect, film within The Tomorrow War.
It takes a while to kick in and get going but, while it remains problematic due to inconsistencies, there’s still something amusing and watchable about The Tomorrow War for the time it’s on.