First he staged the solo adventure of the LEGO Batman, now Chris Pratt, who is sent into the future to fight a battle that the people of the future are not up to. If THE TOMORROW WAR entertains, we reveal in our review.
OT: The Tomorrow War (USA 2021)
2022: The world is eagerly watching the final of the World Cup when truly strange events unfold. Strange light phenomena appear on the field, the electricity goes crazy and out of nowhere a military squad walks onto the lawn and announces that they come from the year 2051, where humanity is waging a vain war against powerful aliens, which is why they are now people from today must recruit for the war of tomorrow. 2023: The tactic proves to be ineffective, most people from the present die fighting in the future, and those who return can only report a futile fight against an enemy that is superior to humans. When ex-soldier and teacher Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is called up, he is forced to re-establish ties with his estranged father Slade (JK Simmons). Shortly afterwards, Dan is sent on a special mission together with a scientist from the future (Yvonne Strahovski).
In 2022, humanity will receive a warning visit from the year 2051: humanity will perish if the current population does not join the fight against a future, raging, destructive threat. As the film progresses, it is repeatedly emphasized that it is possible to predict the outcome of the battle between humans and massive threats years in advance, always adapting to the tactics currently being used. Or to put it more briefly: In “The Tomorrow War”, humanity can accurately predict over decades whether the Earth, its only living space, will become uninhabitable for them in a few decades. Sounds familiar, right? After all, based on current climate protection measures (or their current lack) and centuries of experience, it is possible to predict how great the damage will be in the near and distant future… The misery of tomorrow can be conquered today – which seems like an allusion to the If you read climate change, “The Tomorrow War” remains just that: an allusion. The 130-minute-long big-budget sci-fi film, which Paramount Pictures originally planned for the cinema, has greater thematic ambitions due to the corona pandemic (another catastrophe that could have been contained, had the warnings of leading scientists :was heard more internally) but was sold off to Amazon, namely not.
A small ray of hope: main actor Chris Pratt.
That’s not a bad thing at first – pure entertainment can also contain a few grains of cautionary truth, and leave it at that if it fulfills its self-imposed, central purpose. So the entertainment. But unfortunately “The Tomorrow War” also has a bump in that regard. Among other things, because the Zach Dean script collapses as soon as you remember what happened before for even a minute too long. No one sane would question the realism of a sci-fi action film about an alien war in which people from the past are recruited to fight on the front lines. But internal plausibility is crucial, which is what unites films from “Armageddon” to “Z for Zachariah”. And in “The Tomorrow War” the internal rules are constantly being rewritten (e.g.: first the time travel laws are extremely rigid and leave no room for improvisation, not even a minute of the film later the military improvises and starts seven days earlier than planned next trip), so that no tension can arise: In a film in which it is never clear what works and what doesn’t work, there is no fear that this or that will have to happen next. That Chris McKay (“The LEGO Batman Movie”) In addition, the action scenes degenerate into a pure storm of noise and effects, without any significant inner dramaturgy, further inhibits the enjoyment. Often the focus is solely on the computer effects – and in crowd scenes and long shots they turn into pure dust particles-fog-sparks-mush.
“In a film in which it is never clear what works and what doesn’t work, there is no fear that this or that will have to happen next.”
The passages in which the visually unoriginal but solidly integrated aliens come into their own and the heroes have to stand up to them with courage, tactics and pure firepower are few and far between. At least the aliens have an innovative sound design to offer, which brings some variety to this otherwise generic film. The muddy blue-gray color aesthetic of cinematographer Larry Fong’s images (“Kong: Skull Island”) doesn’t do the work any favors either. This is more blatant than in the action scenes, in which this color world endangers the overview of the whole, in dialogue scenes, as the sometimes very unflattering shadows immediately swallow up several of the supporting characters – only Pratt, Simmons and Strahovski are granted the opportunity to be constantly illuminated in such a way that you can see their facial expressions sufficiently. What saves “The Tomorrow War” from becoming an artistic total flop is Chris Pratt’s charisma in the comedic scenes (which does not drown out how tense he plays in the serious moments), and a committed Yvonne Strahovski, who also manages to do that giving authentic emotionality to the most abstruse moments, as well as the final act. Its logic is still as full of holes as Swiss cheese, but Zach Dean’s script entertains in the final stages with a lot of payoffs: numerous setups that were long thought forgotten by the film are picked up again and implemented with snappy popcorn cinematic pathos. This lifts the mood way too late – but at least it lifts the mood.
Tomorrow’s war will be won today.
Conclusion: “The Tomorrow War” joins the not exactly short list of weak films that were intended for the cinema and then sold off to a streaming service by the responsible distributor. This sci-fi film is not a “Cloverfield Paradox”, but the anticipation for the potential second part is extremely limited.
“The Tomorrow War” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.