"...another CGI action gloop-fest..."

Tomorrow Creeps in its Petty Pace

(070921) You almost have to marvel at the level of obliviousness that 'The Tomorrow War' brings to the table. For a start, it's an action movie set in a future war where humanity must band together to stop an alien invasion, and time-manipulation plays a big role in it. Right there, you're inviting comparisons with 'Edge of Tomorrow' and the 'Terminator' franchise and yet 'The Tomorrow War' offers nothing remotely inventive compared to either of them. Next, it's a movie with a subtext about global warming destroying our future, yet it's being released on a streaming service owned by a company that regularly destroys millions of unsold stock in waste and increased its carbon footprint by 19% during the pandemic.

'The Tomorrow War' is another CGI action gloop-fest that's slugged its way onto Amazon Prime and has nothing to say for itself. Sure, it's going for big thrills and it's got Chris Pratt, but there's something so bland and annoyingly trite about it all. Pratt veers from smell-the-fart acting to yucking it up with one-liners. JK Simmons tries to elevate things in his sole scene, but you can't help but be fixated by his giant arm guns instead of the clunky dialogue he's rattling off. Betty Gilpin, a fantastic actor with range, presence and humor, is reduced to being "Wife Exposition Character". Yvonne Strahovski is "Military Exposition Character", meaning you can't blame her for the dull performance on her part. Even Sam Richardson, always a delight in any role he takes up, is reduced to "Comic Foil Character" to Pratt's "Military Teacher Dad Character" with flat results.

Respectfully, Pratt still lacks the palpable onscreen intelligence that a Harrison Ford could give a character like this real depth (and feels tailor made for a more Ford-like actor), but he nevertheless juggles the script’s implausibility's with the exact kind of studied obliviousness that they require. Except for Strahovski, who laces their reunion with desperation and reluctant joy, everyone else feels largely on autopilot, though some spectacular production design in the film’s final scenes elevates interest long after the plot as run out of gas. But ultimately, this is a film that feels emblematic of the streaming era — not a real movie but one that’s too big just to premiere online, all loud noises and anemic star wattage and no real ideas except for the one somebody probably literally green lit while riding up in an elevator to an executive’s second-floor office.

Throughout 'The Tomorrow War', it all feels so aggressively like a mass-market advertisement for the US military that it feels like the CGI aliens are just getting in the way of it. Although Chris McKay has a background in animated movies like 'The LEGO Batman Movie
' and 'The LEGO Movie 2', live-action movies clearly aren't his forte. Indeed, the movie feels like it's been edited with a chainsaw and the overbearing score by Lorne Balfe just zaps any kind of natural tension and atmosphere out of each and every scene.

The script by newcomer Zach Dean is leaden with trailer-speak, not to mention a concept that has been done before and done better. Time-travel movies don't necessarily have to be complex to be enjoyable and entertaining, but they do have to try something new or at least exploit audience expectation in a way that gives them something they haven't seen before. 'The Tomorrow War' doesn't do any of this. You've seen this movie before, and you've seen it done better. It's a knock-off, version of something more inventive and exciting.

Nothing, but nothing about 'The Tomorrow War' is redeemable. There are so many better movies out there, even on Amazon Prime, that are worth watching instead of this. That Amazon paid Paramount close to $200 million for the distribution rights to this is mind-boggling. They could have easily given that money to Doug Liman to make a sequel to
'Edge of Tomorrow' and it would have been a far better use of that money. Better yet, they could have given that $200 million to literally any environmental group and it would have made a better impact than a crappy action movie about saving the planet.

With echoes of Starship Troopers (minus the pointed satire), The Tomorrow War, starring Chris Pratt, is the second noisy “temporal war” movie of the pandemic era, after Christopher Nolan’s 'Tenet'. To differentiate between the two, this is the one Nolan would have written if he’d suffered a head injury.

Directed by:     Chris McKay
Written by:     Screenplay by Zach Dean
Starring:     Chris Pratt, J.K. Simmons, Yvonne Strahovski
Released:     070221 on Amazon Prime
Length:     140 minutes
Rating:     Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence
 and action, language and some suggestive

THE TOMORROW WAR © 2021 Amazon Prime
Review © 2021 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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