The Tomorrow War debuts on Amazon Prime Video on July 2.
It’s been a wild ride from parks and recreation to Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World. In a rare feat, Chris Pratt made the leap from actor to character to action star, and he did so with alluring swagger and a gleefully goofy sense of humor. He had carved out a comfortable niche for himself where audiences loved to watch him boldly jump into action and throw out jokes. So what prompted him to sign on The Tomorrow War, a deeply tasteless and unsatisfying sci-fi action flick that only shows what it isn’t.
Pratt is at his best playing knuckleheads, who are adorable even when they are arrogant. A smirk and we could forgive him for all his infractions (even when they turn our favorite superheroes to dust). However, in The War of Tomorrow, Pratt goes against the guy, giving up his wisdom and arrogance to play a sulky scientist with daddy issues and thwarted ambitions. You see, Dan Forester (Pratt) feels like his biology skills are wasted teaching science in high school. He dreams of working in a revolutionary laboratory. But while lamenting his great wife (an underutilized Betty Gilpin) and young daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), the world as he knows it changes forever. A squadron of soldiers from the future crosses a wormhole and goes on a world broadcast to drop a bomb: in 29 years, humanity is losing a battle against a voracious and mysterious alien force called the “White Spikes”. Naturally, Dan will be taken out of his miserable life (along with his loving family, stable job, and spacious home) to embark on a high-stakes battle not only for his daughter’s future but for the future of the entire world. humanity.
Zach Dean’s original screenplay will definitely mention that Dan has a history in the military. So, of course, he’s a pragmatic hero, born to lead, even when the world is crumbling around him. Add to that the intelligence suggested by his scientific aspirations, and Dan should be a real force in this film. However, Pratt just doesn’t have the range to make it work.
Spotlight on Amazon Prime Video: July 2021
It’s the kind of role you might imagine playing Tom Cruise three decades ago: a self-confident but a little sad man of action. Chris Pratt is not Tom Cruise. Without the wise, cheeky smiles, he doesn’t seem to know what to do with his face. A puckered forehead at rest may be meant to express disbelief, determination, dismay, maybe even constipation. The point is, this is Pratt’s only move. Whether he’s faced with an alien assault, confronting his estranged father, or having a one-on-one with his heartbroken daughter, Dan frowns. And just like that, the dazzling on-screen presence that launched Pratt into several tent franchises is extinguished. It’s like smirking is the source of his star power, and now he’s Samson, bald and unremarkable. By the time a telegraphed twist calls him for the pathetic, he’s long lost track.
Throughout the film, Pratt is overshadowed by a sprinkle of supporting players who all deserve better. Gilpin, who was fascinating in GLOW and The Hunt, brings a welcome intensity to the thankless role of Dan’s wife, a running character defined primarily by her support for her hero husband. Yvonne Strahovski, Edwin Hodge and Mary Lynn Rajskub play to varying degrees from steel to sarcastic in future battlefields that need character. Cradling a sturdy body and grizzled beard, JK Simmons delivers a spark in a small but powerful part as an off-grid thug. But even this actor’s paragon struggles to make Dean’s outdated storyline work, choking on a “metrosexual” joke that’s old enough to buy a strong drink.
Comedic relief is mostly taken on by VEEP’s Sam Richardson, in a role that could have been Pratt not too long ago. Playing an affable ordinary man who rambles when he’s nervous, Richardson puts lightness in every moment he can: before wildly reckless military maneuvers, between brutal battle scenes, and amid mind-numbing exposure shocks. While his manic energy is welcome, the tracks he has given are not inspired. Of course, at the time, it’s funny to see him run away screaming curses. But none of the so-called jokes last long enough to be remembered.
That is to say, maybe even a real cruise could not have saved the war of tomorrow. Dean’s script is stuffed with lazy jokes, silly speeches, and awkward proclamations like, “We literally live on borrowed time. Yet none of this is as bad as the main plot, which is just inexplicably silly.
In The Tomorrow War, humanity invented time travel. Concretely, it’s a form of time travel that allows people from 2051 to go back to 2022 or vice versa. They can’t go anywhere else. Why not? This very good question is swept aside by an absurd explanation involving a bunch of mixed metaphors about roasting, chewing gum, and rivers. Okay. So what do people in the future decide to do with this time shuttle power?
If you’ve ever seen another time travel movie or TV show, you’d think they would use it to impart information or tools to help change the 30 in between and give humans an advantage over the years. vicious white tips. But apparently the folks in The War of Tomorrow have totally different pop culture touchstones than ours, as this idea isn’t even suggested until every nation in the world pushes its military forces through a blue portal. brilliant. And when that is insufficient, conscript civilians are thrown into the future war with no training or even a clue what aliens look like.
That’s a big request to be accepted on an act two setup. Yet The Tomorrow War seems utterly oblivious, throwing itself into a plot that makes less and less sense as it heads towards a climax of unimaginative explosions, glossing over the victims and a final confrontation that is dying. ‘a mind-numbing banality.
Maybe you’re not worried about the plot and the character and just looking for some cool action sequences and spooky creatures? Here too, The Tomorrow War disappoints, seemingly taking inspiration from everything from Skyline and Independence Day to Cloverfield and Gremlins, but taking away all the bad lessons. The action sequences are sprawling, full of carnage and CG creatures. Some of them are rough and slippery in a way that owes Joe Dante a debt. Others turn a tidal wave of civilian deaths into a grim spectacle. Still, there is little artistry in the pacing or tracing of such sequences, so it all feels laborious. Even the white tips that should be fierce look more and more silly the more the camera looks at them. It’s a pasty jumble of limbs, tentacles, and mouths that look like a sloppy Stranger Things scam.