“The Tomorrow War” is an action-packed ride into a battle of humanity against alien creatures. But it does not happen now, instead it is in the future, as in “Tomorrow’. But for all familiar ideas that pop up, they are scrubbed and polished with a great group of actors who can take some retread plot lines and make everything seem fresh and new. The action is almost non-stop, and it is presented in an exciting manner. The stakes are raised high, and the cast delivers on the goods.
Dan Forester (played by Chris Pratt) and his wife Emmy (played by Betty Gilpin) are raising their young daughter Muri. Dan’s father, James Forester (played by J. K. Simmons) is not welcome in Dan’s life. But the world changes when a group of military soldiers from the future arrive and tell everyone that a catastrophe is in the near future. A race of alien beings has come to Earth in some undetected manner. These aliens find all people of Earth delightful — for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In less than 30 years, almost all humanity will be wiped out.
Dan becomes drafted into a future Armed Forces to do battle in the ‘Tomorrow War’. He meets another draftee named Charlie (played by Sam Richardson). There is also a reenlisted guy named Dorian (played by Edwin Hodge). Using some time displacement wormhole tech — these and many other soldiers are taken from the present into a decimated future Miami in 2051. The place is in ruins, and many people are dead. There are creatures that are called ‘White Spikes’. They are not to be confused with the band called ‘The White Stripes”. But the White Spikes are deadly hunters and fierce fighters. They can shoot ‘spikes’ that can kill from a distance. They can run and jump and eat you in an instant. All the soldiers have pretty intense weapons, and still it can barely make a dent.
Dan finds some scientist specimen work in a lab, and his group barely makes it out. He goes with Dorian, who is mean and knows how to kill the monsters, and also with Charlie. Charlie is more of a science geek than a war nerd. He is out of his element, but sometimes his skills come in very handy. Dan meets a person in charge with the same last name. She tells him she is Col. Muri Forester (played by Yvonne Strahovski). It is it his future daughter, the same one he saw the other day as a nine-year old. She is high in the ranks, but is also a science researcher. Her job is to take the specimens and create a viral toxin that will kill these monsters. But beyond that, she also needs Dan.
Dan and the rest of the time-travel soldiers have a seven day window to ‘serve’. After that, they will be brought back to their original time. Muri Forester plans to create the toxic mix that will kill the White Spikes and send it back with Dan Forester. That way, he will have enough time and resources to develop enough killing toxin to take on these evil creatures when they finally arrive. Dan does not want to leave his daughter. But out at special lab on a deep-water drilling platform, Muri develops the deadly mix and makes Dan take it back home. The swarming masses of monsters have overrun the lab, and Dan disappears just as the end of humankind arrives.
Dan arrives back to his home, back to Emmy and back the nine-year old Muri. He is back home and back in his time. But he feels like he is out of time. He knows that other people came back with him, including Charlie and Dorian. The toxin designed to kill the White Spikes is also back with him. He can make boat loads of the stuff. But what good will if do if he does not know where the aliens are and when they will get here? But with some help from Charlie and Dorian, they make some discoveries that give them a clue. One thing they might need is a pilot with a wild streak who will live on the edge of the law. Someone like Dan’s father James, perhaps?
So out they all go into frozen Russian tundra, out to find a ‘White Spike’ in a very large white haystack. But if they are able to find these monsters, will such a small group of dedicated soldiers and scientists be able to accomplish anything? Can they find the monster hiding place, and get them by surprise? Can the creatures be killed by a toxin that was created in the future? Dan and James reconcile that broken relationship?
“The Tomorrow War” creates a huge conglomeration of ideas and boils it down to an enjoyable action thriller. There are elements of the War movie, and of Alien monster movies. There are some bits borrowed from Time Travel adventure movies, and ‘Scientists against a Deadline’ movies. There are visual call backs to the movie ‘Aliens’, and ‘Starship Troopers’, and even a scene or two from ‘300’. But the bits and piece that are borrowed and repurposed are always the best parts.
Above it all, the Krazy Glue that holds all of this together is Chris Pratt. His presence on the screen holds a lot of value, because he is such a mix of humility and charisma. Also J. K. Simmons is a treasured part of this movie that is underused. Even more wasted is the talent of Betty Gilpin. Her role is not more than an extended cameo. Yvonne Strahovski is also very good as the brilliant and trouble grown-up daughter Muri. Sam Richardson and Edwin Hodge play nice sidekick characters.
“The Tomorrow War” is quite an enjoyable thrill ride and worth checking out. Plus there is no need to wait until Tomorrow!
The Tomorrow War
Directed by: Chris McKay
Written by: Zach Dean
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge
Music by: Lorne Balfe
Cinematography: Larry Fong
Distributed by: Amazon Studios
Release date: July 2, 2021
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and some suggestive references.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sciene Fiction
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But it sure is good to get some big names making fun summer movies that can be watched at home.