Jul 4, 2021
Review: The Tomorrow War (2021)
The Tomorrow war was directed by Chris McKay and stars Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Zero Dark Thirty) Yvonne Strahovski (I, Frankenstein, The Predator), and J.K. Simmons (Spiderman, Justice League).
When I originally heard The Tomorrow War was going straight to Amazon Prime, I had low expectations. Then I found out the runtime was 2 hours and 40 minutes. I groaned. I watched it anyway, and let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised.
When Pratt’s character is introduced at the beginning of a frame story, his performance reminded me of Star-Lord. Thankfully, his new persona quickly overtook preconceived notions and I forgot about his previous roles for the rest of the runtime.
The film follows Dan Forester, played by Pratt, a former Special Forces soldier turned high school science teacher who dreams of becoming a “real” scientist. As the movie begins, he’s unhappy with his lot in life and feels he’s destined for greater things. It’s a simple case of not appreciating what you have. Betty Gilpin (GLOW, Nurse Jackie) plays his long-suffering wife. She convinces Dan to repair his relationship with his dad, played by J. K. Simmons. But at first, the rift is just too great.
Simmons is excellent playing the grizzled Vietnam vet with a troubled past. He makes the character likable and it’s easy to root for a reconciliation. I’d love to see Simmons in more roles like this.
Soldiers from the future of earth arrive at, of all places, a soccer game to announce that aliens have invaded earth and will quickly make humans extinct. They plead with the nations of the world to create a unified army to combat the alien threat.
Drafted into the war with the aliens, Dan must reluctantly travel to the future and use skills that have remained dormant for over a decade.
The supporting cast is stellar, with Edwin Hodge (The Purge, Bumblebee) playing Dorian, a veteran of many time jumps who waffles between trying to stay alive and fighting nihilistic despair. Mary Lynn Rajskub (24, It’s Always Sunny) and Mike Mitchell (Love) who play conscripted everyday citizens rising to the challenge, show what it means to face adversity with aplomb and honor.
Charlie, played by Sam Richardson (Veep, Detroiters), picks up much of the comic relief heavy lifting. Richardson allows Pratt to give a more restrained performance, and it serves him well.
As with any time travel movie, there are plot holes and unbelievable moments, but the movie is so fun, they’re easy to ignore.
Although I really liked this flick, I think this is a one-and-done type of film. If you like this sort of thing, you’ll enjoy it for the moment, but it will be quickly forgotten. If not tomorrow, in the near future. See what I did there?
Also, don’t allow the runtime to intimidate you, this picture is all popcorn, and the pacing works—mostly.
The Tomorrow War might not win any awards but as a fun distraction, it’s recommended. Just turn off your brain and enjoy.
The Tomorrow War is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
The plotting here is pretty tight. With that said, they could have trimmed a few minutes to improve pacing in areas where the story sags.
Four stars out of five.