The Tomorrow War is a 2021 military science fiction film following a group of present-day soldiers and civilians sent into the future to fight an alien army. The film stars Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons and Betty Gilpin and is exclusively available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
In December 2022, soldiers from the year 2051 arrive to warn that humanity is on the brink of extinction due to a war with alien invaders. In response, a number of present-day soldiers and civilians are sent into the future in an attempt to help try and save humanity. The plot is fairly easy to follow in the early stages of the film and I really enjoyed the concept of an already ongoing war in which civilians are drafted to fight. The aspect of these civilians having no military experience and being thrown into the frontline added a nice dimension from what we are usually used to seeing.
As the film progresses, more twists and turns are added to the plot that the narrative quickly becomes overcomplicated. It’s not that The Tomorrow War is at any point hard to follow, the film just adds so many layers that the story becomes a little convoluted. In addition to the time travel and alien invasion aspects of the film, at the heart of its plot is an emotional family drama. I was initially a bit dubious of the emotional storyline at the start of the film, but the narrative did grow on me and kept me invested throughout.
When it comes to time travel, there will always be questions regarding the logistics given how hypothetical it all is, however there seemed to be a few glaringly obvious faux pas’ which the film fails to address. Firstly, the film never explains why the soldiers from 2051 specifically went back to 2022 to warn humanity of a future war, why specifically that year? There’s the odd passing comment here and there which serve as an attempt to answer the questions the plot poses, but ultimately these are tiny plasters over very large cracks.
Likewise, I don’t understand why the soldiers from 2051 didn’t just warn humanity in 2022 of the future war so that they could prepare? Instead, thousands of civilians from 2022 end up losing their lives in what seems like one of the biggest film plot holes in recent memory! Granted, this would have made for a very different film, but the fact that the film fails to acknowledge any plausible alternative solutions again feels like lazy writing.
Chris Pratt stars as lead character Dan Forester and as we’ve come to expect from him, his performance is authentic and convincing. As his character adapts somewhat more of a serious role than we’ve seen in previous Chris Pratt characters, the much-needed comic relief in the film comes from Sam Richardson who plays Charlie, a draftee who deploys in 2051 with Dan. The onscreen chemistry between the two characters is brilliant, it’s just a shame we don’t see more of it.
The action scenes throughout the film are undoubtedly where The Tomorrow War is at its best. Its tense, edge-of-your-seat action sequences are complemented by the films terrifying aliens, the “Whitespikes”. The Whitespikes are most certainly frightening in their appearance but what I really loved about them was how difficult they are to kill. This sense of indestructibleness really adds a new dimension to the fear they bring and this translates well onscreen. Another really cool footnote in the latter stages of the film is the brief mention of the origins of the Whitespikes, something which is sometimes neglected in alien invasion films.
The first two thirds of the film, whilst not exactly nailing the execution of the concept, are enjoyable and fresh, but third and final act ends up feeling like a generic, predictable science fiction action movie. In fact, the final act takes a completely different shift in tone from the bulk of the film that I found myself hugely disappointed with the overall outcome.
All in all, The Tomorrow War is a pretty odd film. It has a great concept, but fails to deliver a plot which matches it. There’s enough intrigue and promise that it more than keeps your attention for the course and whilst there are some truly enjoyable moments in the film, for me, The Tomorrow War will end up labelled a ‘generic science fiction movie’ in years to come.
Its edge-of-your-seat action sequences and intriguing concept will certainly peak your interest, but The Tomorrows War’s overcomplicated plot and generic “science fiction feel” will leave you bitterly disappointed.
The Tomorrow War is currently available to watch on Prime Video in the UK. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime Video here – https://amzn.to/3hedsPD (as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases).