THE TOMORROW WAR Review

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With cinemas still not fully opened around the world one of the biggest movies of the year has just landed straight in everybody’s lounge-rooms. At a budget that topped the $200 million dollar mark The Tomorrow War is no low-budget feature, in fact it is possibly one of the biggest blockbusters to go straight to a streaming service since the Covid outbreak started.

Directed by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) the film gives obvious nods back to the great action films of the 1990s with some pretty amazing similarities and visuals as films such as Starship Troopers and Waterworld. The good news is though the film also has a screenplay that is much better than the films just mentioned, thanks largely to the work of Zach Dean (24 Hours To Live).

The film itself centres around former Green Beret Dan Forester (Chris Pratt – Guardians Of The Galaxy) who finds himself working as a biology teacher as he struggles to find work within the scientific community. While de-stressing with his family after another employment knock-back he witnesses a major interruption during a World Cup broadcast that alerts today’s society to the fact that in 2051 humanity will be wiped out after a three year war with alien invaders known as Whitespike.

When it is decided that people from today will be sent to the future to help save humanity Dan finds himself drafted. His wife, Emmy (Betty Gilpin – Isn’t It Romantic) and his young daughter beg him to do anything he can to stop himself from being sent. In a last bid effort he goes to see his conspiracy theory loving, ex-military father, James Foreter (J.K. Simmons – Whiplash), to see if he can find away to prevent him from that going.

But when that fails he soon finds himself being sent off to the futuristic war where he finds himself fighting alongside his now fully grown daughter, Colonel Muri Forester (Yvonne Strahovski – The Handmaid’s Tale), who reveals to him that they have been estranged for years.

It is hard not to notice the similarities between The Tomorrow War and Starship Troopers as you watch the film but while the 90s classic tried to create an anti-war storyline The Tomorrow War does nothing of the kind and instead in a way follows the formulas of films like Independence Day that centre around wars against some intergalactic visitors.

The thing that prevents The Tomorrow War becoming just another dull all action affair is the storyline that revolves around Dan and adult Muri. Dean’s screenplay drops little breadcrumbs throughout the film that suggests that the perfect Forester family that we saw at the start of the film have been ripped apart by something. When Muri tells Dan in 2051 that they have been estranged for years it opens up a storyline that is a lot more suspenseful than any of the alien versus human battle sequences throughout the film.

That is not to say that Chris McKay doesn’t make the action sequences quite a spectacle on the screen but to be honest there is nothing here that we haven’t seen previously, and in fact many of the battle scenes look a lot like what we saw in Monster Hunter earlier this year.

A mentioned earlier though it is the father-daughter storyline that makes this film so special though and that vision first planted by Dean in the screenplay is brilliantly brought to life by the performances of Pratt and Stahovski. We know though his work in the Marvel universe that Chris Pratt is an actor that can blend genres together seamlessly. And while the comedic skills that come into play as he portrays Star-Lord are not needed here he does show a more dramatic side to his acting as his character is faced with questions about his future that leave him completely confused. As usual Pratt also comes to the fore during the action sequences.

He is also well supported by Australian actress Yvonne Strahovski who portrays his daughter Muri. The very under-rated actress has been making a name for herself over recent years with her performance in the hit show The Handmaid’s Tale but is was her performance alongside Noomi Rapace in Angel Of Mine that revealed just how talented she is. She again brings the intensity of that role to this film as she mixes dramatic sequences with action brawn with ease.

The Tomorrow War is not the most original film to be released this year but if you are looking to waste some time with a big dumb action film it will certainly fill that void. Well worth a look though for the performances of Chris Pratt and Yvonne Strahovski.

The Tomorrow War is currently screening on Prime Video.

2.5/5 Stars