Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Tomorrow War

Movie Name:
The Tomorrow War
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Jasmine Mathews, Edwin Hodge, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mike Mitchell, Jared Shaw
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
"The Tomorrow War" which was originally scheduled to premiere in theaters in December of 2020 (and didn't due to the pandemic), was in turn sold to Amazon who has premiered the film in the middle of blockbuster season. The film follows the story of Dan Forester, an army veteran, who is currently working as a high school teacher. While watching the soccer world cup, everyone is shocked and amazed when a series of what seems military personnel, materialize out of nowhere in the middle of the field. Turns out these people are coming from the future, and are here to warn everyone about a current war taking place in their timeline, 2051, in which the human race is in dire need of help. Even with the assistance of all worldwide military factions, the outcome of the ongoing future battles is not improving, forcing a mandatory drafting for everyone, including Dan. As Dan is sent to the future, he and his team are tasked with securing precious research which can destroy the enemy, while he also realizes that his daughter, now a grown up leading researcher, is the person who can change the fate of the world. As Dan and Muri sacrifice everything to salvage that toxin, and as Dan comes back into the past, he has to figure out a way to prevent that war of ever taking place.
Chris McKay, who previously directed "The Lego Batman Movie", alongside a variety of other animated shows and shorts, makes his live action feature directorial debut with this big budget endeavor. The film has some influences from Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and even Paul Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers", without being quite as successful at carving out an identity of its own (even if Verhoeven's film was met with some derision upon its premiere, it's a film that has gained a steady cult following throughout the years). McKay manages to establish in the first half of the film an interesting premise, which includes drawing out the challenges of Dan's family life, and how his existence, and everyone's is turned upside down with the visitors from the future. However, and as the action escalates, the more interesting aspects about the film also start losing much of its resonance and impact. The whole aspect of fish out of water, something most of the characters in this film experience, and which Doug Liman for instance explored so well in "Edge of Tomorrow", is quickly abandoned, and replaced by what seems a rather standard, and closer in tone to a Michael Bay action feature. As the film progresses, and seemingly the future of the human race rests solely on the shoulders of Dan's character, whatever nuance and intelligence the narrative promised, is quickly abandoned, with the final chapter ultimately feeling like a rushed device to close the narrative on a happy note (even if the film in this part has influences of both Ridley Scott's "Alien" and James Cameron's "Aliens"). The cast tries their best to bring these characters to life, with Chris Pratt and J.K. Simmons being the particular highlights, but for the most part, these characters have little to no dimension. The visual effects are solid, as is the score from Lorne Balfe and cinematography from Larry Fong. Unbalanced and ultimately forgettable.


Mark said...

A Forgettable Summer distraction, alas. Nice CGI but the secondary characters were all one dimensional. Loved the 14 year volcano expert, tho!