The Tomorrow War the next (surprisingly) big-budget sci-fi action flick for Christ Pratt has dropped on to Amazon Prime. If you’re one of the 65% of Amazon shoppers who have Prime you’ve likely already had it plastered across your UI. But is it worth your time? After all, it is asking for a hefty 2 hours and 20 minutes of your time!
First, let’s take a look at what the movie is doing right. The conceit is a cool one, future war! The effects, especially the time travel portal sucking people into the sky looks great and even a bit scary – like time travel should. The aliens, called whitespikes, are gnarly a mix between a displacer beast from the Monster Manual and a xenomorph. The cast is rounded out with Sam Richardson and Mike Mitchell who add enough levity to the movie to make you question whether it’s supposed to be this funny?
Where does it all go wrong? First, it’s a bit long, isn’t it? After reaching what felt like the clear climax and hitting pause, I was stunned to see there were another 30 minutes in this film. What was in those final minutes? A whole other unnecessary sequence and a set-piece that ends up being mostly just okay – though it does give us some of the most ridiculously over-the-top fight beats. The dialogue is also rough at times, especially when characters decide they need to vocalize their motivations and thoughts out loud – it rarely comes off natural. The final set-piece is just Alien set on earth. The whitespikes are Xenomorphs, right down to their true origin and purpose which makes for a pretty meh moment when it’s revealed.
You’ll spend much of this movie correctly guessing what’s coming soon, but never with a spark of delight or eureka. No, it’s much more a “This is going to do X isn’t it?”
There is a weird vibe throughout this movie whether because of the cast, the plot, the beats, where it feels an equal blend of legitimate theater movie and straight-to-streamer effort. It’s strangely off-putting at times. I don’t think this is necessarily the fault of the movie, but more in how I have been conditioned to expect certain things from certain movies.
Potentially the biggest flaw this movie has going against it may very well be viewer dependent. If you, like me, sometimes find yourself spiraling over climate change, well you may not have a great time. The Tomorrow War seems very heavily to be about just that. After all, what if the governments of the world, heck all of the people all knew that in ~30 years human life on Earth was going to be completely threatened? Well, I know The Tomorrow War is science fiction because in their world everyone bands together to do something about it. That’s the most unrealistic part of a movie that features both aliens and time travel! I guess because this problem can potentially be solved with bullets the governments of the world are on board with giving it a shot.
The Tomorrow War is fine if you have the time and want to watch some action, it has a few early moments of novelty and then just goes through the motions.