The premise of The Tomorrow War is that in the year 2051, terrifying alien creatures come to Earth and wipe out almost all of humanity. However, a group of survivors find a way to travel back in time and alert the people of today to the catastrophe, and beg them to come back with them to join the fight.
Chris Pratt stars as Dan Forester, a family man with a wife and daughter. He’s drafted to go to the future with a varied bunch of similarly reluctant people who try to make the best of it, but who are frightened about what they’ll find. The odds of returning aren’t good — so far the percentage of draftees making it back alive is small. Undaunted, Forester, a former soldier, takes his duty seriously because he wants to preserve the future for his young daughter.
To go into the synopsis further would be giving away too much, but suffice it to say that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill survival film. Although you might expect that once the present day humans arrive in the future, the rest of the movie would be a battle for survival, it actually is only a portion of the film.
There’s far more to the story, involving a mystery and a search for information as to why the aliens appeared when they did. For me, that’s where it got interesting and steered away from the obvious fight-for-survival-against-aliens (or other catastrophes) type of film.
J.K. Simmons plays Forester’s estranged ex-military father, and nearly steals every scene he’s in. Sam Richardson as Forester’s frightened but eager-to-please fellow draftee Charlie also grabs the audience’s attention, and has one line in particular that had me laughing, which was a surprise because the film isn’t comedic (despite Chris Pratt’s history of adding a comedic touch to his lines).
This film wasn’t written during the pandemic — although shooting was halted due to COVID and the film’s release was delayed a few times due to it — but as it happens, it is an incredibly timely film. The characters are going through a crisis that could wipe out their world and this is something with which the entire world can now relate.
There’s plenty of action for fans who love action/adventures, but there’s also an intriguing story that gets the audience involved — from the Forester family dynamics, to the close relationships Forester forms with his fellow “soldiers,” to the mystery and intrigue that will have everyone glued to the screen to find out what happens next.
Although The Tomorrow War was initially slated for a theater release, eventually, as with many films in the past year, it wound up on a streaming service. Nonetheless, it has the feel of a big screen movie — audiences will still enjoy the epic movie experience.
The Tomorrow War debuts on Amazon Prime Video Friday, July 2, 2021. Watch our interview with Sam Richardson below. ~Alexandra Heilbron
5 out of 5 stars.
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