The Tomorrow War would surely be a flop had it been released in cinemas. A cheap-looking, hackneyed-plotted, science fiction film heaving with militarism isn’t something movie-goers were hankering for but the writer of Deadfall (nope, me neither), the director of The Lego Batman Movie, and “the worst Chris” apparently thought this was a good idea. The Tomorrow War is uncomfortably and noticeably long, 138 minute, B-movie-esque trash. I don’t mean “B-movie” in a 1970’s, 1980’s, Larry Cohen kind of way, I mean a wannabe-blockbuster B-movie like 2000’s John Moore. Zach Dean’s writing is flat and forgettable and when paired with Chris McKay’s directing which is uninspiring and unremarkable, the end result has “flop” written all over it. Many films have used the Coronavirus as an excuse for their under-performance (Tenet for example) but pandemic or not, theatrical release or at home, The Tomorrow War is atrocious and deserves to fail, just so Hollywood stops making this kind of garbage. I mean, when will studios stop hiring directors who have absolutely no skill in directing action? If we’re sat at home yawning at gunfire and explosions, you’ve got a talentless hack on your hands.
The plot for this abysmal movie is that time travellers from thirty-odd years in our future arrive in the present day to bring news of an impending war between humans and an alien species. Apparently, the only way to win this war is to recruit soldiers, then draft civilians from our present and transport them to fight in the future (grandfather paradox out of the window I guess). Dan Forester (played by Chris Pratt) is an army veteran and a teacher and he’s soon conscripted so he and a bunch of other tits in tactical suits can save the world from foreign beings that don’t look like us and err… hate our freedom or something…
Beginning in December at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, suddenly some bad actors show-up through a portal exclaiming “We are you, thirty years in the future”. From this point onward, we the audience are confronted with something that looks right at home on the telly. There’s no bloody way this should ever be shown on the big screen. I have my suspicions however, that the film-makers thought they were creating Michael Bay-level Action-Americana, or failing that, maybe Zack Snyder-level elongated-music-video (okay, so there’s a passing resemblance to Army Of The Dead) but instead The Tomorrow War comes closer to Paul W.S. Anderson or Len Wiseman. This is B-movie hackery all the way, from the stream-at-home CGI and crapily-designed “aliens” (which look like giant bed bugs) to the bad acting (by the extras and the main characters). Given the premise about time, there’s no real time machine. The plot instead features something called a “Jumplink” which is closer to Stargate (limited travel between two points) than Back To The Future (complete freedom) which means there’s no enjoyable time travel to compensate for the rest of the dross. I might as well also mention that the sound mix is awful; the voices are too low and everything else (gunfire, explosions etc.) is too loud.
Time-travel and alien wars sounds very familiar, but alas, this isn’t Edge Of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat) which managed to be fun and funny in parts. Aesthetically, this is Skyline meets any Milla Jovovich film – something like Monster Hunter perhaps – although The Tomorrow War somehow manages to be worse, looking like a right-leaning Christian conglomerate funded it, or the Army itself. With an ex-grunt lead, a wife who works with vets, a dad who has a P.O.W. flag up in his garage; it may not be your regular, gung-ho, pro-war bullshit but make no mistake, this is your very regular, right-wing xenophobia bullshit in disguise.
The best sci-fi poses questions or serves as a metaphor for real life events. This movie therefore, could have asked its own unique questions: is war inherently wrong, should conscription exist, is being anti-war achievable, is there such a thing as a just war? But don’t expect any kind of analysis of conflict here. This is merely: weren’t you in Iraq? Thank you for your service (which is uttered numerous times 🤢). Aliens could have easily been representative of our real-life foes. We could have then asked the question: is a foreign adversary really our enemy or are civilians exploited regardless where they’re from? Ergo: aren’t aliens the same? Hey, if all you want is a right-wing slice of pro-war propaganda disguised as an alien bug-hunt, you’d be better off watching Starship Troopers. At least that flick knew what it was saying.
In terms of cast, Pratt is without his Marvel sheen here, looking more like a TV-star than a movie-star. Because Chris “Join Me On Parler” Pratt doesn’t have James Gunn making him look likeable, this is closer to Zero Dark Thirty than Guardians Of The Galaxy. Along with Betty “The Hunt” Gilpin, we have what looks like a clique of actors who’ll show up for anything that promotes American ideals and cliched concepts of heroism. Bottom line: it doesn’t matter how “diverse” they’ve made the supporting cast, everything here is old hat. The central premise is trite, the plot is predictable, the score is generic, and the action is unexciting. How this ever got green-lit is anyone’s guess.
After sending civilians to war whilst demonising the Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Russians, and Arabs, I’m certain that a warmongering leader in our lifetime will lie to us about an alien attack, thinning-out our population with a fake interstellar war on the pretext of a green or grey boogeyman. This is most likely far in our future, but the brainwashing has to start today I guess. That being said, by next year everyone will have forgotten about this shite film so it’s next to useless as entertainment or as propaganda.
War! What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing (Not Even Movies).