Chris Pratt used all the fame and clout he gained from his roles in the “Jurassic World”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and “The Tomorrow War” franchises to create… “The Tomorrow War”, a boringly derivative and long sci-fi thriller.
It was originally scheduled to premiere in theaters pre-pandemic. However, it is now available on Amazon Prime Video streaming. Although it is hard to imagine how much better it would have been to watch this movie on the big screen, Chris McKay is the director of “The LEGO Batman Movie”. He combines a lot of familiar elements in an unremarkable way. There’s a bit about time travel, an invasion of aliens, a band of men who come together to stop them, and some father-son issues that remain unresolved. Along with a few sidekicks for comic relief, McKay also handles some misfit sidekicks. This script, which is claimed to be original by Zach Dean, offers little in the way of innovation or inspiration.
Pratt is caught up in all the cliched madness, trying to tap into dramatic skills he doesn’t possess. Pratt can be charismatic as Peter Quill, a cocky superhero who flies through Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or he can be Owen Grady, a brave action hero who rescues dinosaurs. As Emmet Brickowski, his voice, he’s a charming charmer and a great actor in “The LEGO Movie”. Pratt isn’t a great actor, but he’s not a boring suburban dad trying to save his family (and humanity) He doesn’t have the confidence to show off his swagger.
After he jumps forward to stop the marauding invaders, his wide-eyed, open-mouthed expression brings back the famous Pratt meme. It’s a scene in which Pratt’s character is thrown into the future and dropped from the roof into a swimming pool on a high-rise rooftop.
Human visitors have returned from 2051 to warn us about an alien invasion. Civilians must jump ahead three decades in order to fight them. That’s how devastated the population has become. Pratt’s Dan Forester is a calm-mannered high school science teacher who also served in the Iraq war. He’s reluctant to part with his wife, Betty Gilpin, and nine-year-old daughter Ryan Kiera Armstrong, but he also declares at the beginning of the film that he is meant to do something different with his life, just like so many middle-aged, mediocre white men before him. That is the thing.
He must confront his father, J.K. Simmons, before he is zapped. This allows him to overact and gives an indication of what’s to come. As he is getting fitted for the armband do-hickey to transport him to the future, he discovers that he will die in seven years. His troop also includes Charlie, a nervous tech nerd (Sam Richardson from “Veep”), and Norah (Mary Lynn Rajskub). These characters aren’t very interesting.
They’re all confronted with an army of albino creatures called White Spikes upon their arrival. They are scurrying and gnashy, with tentacles that strangle, slash and strangle, and make a staccato growl similar to the one in ” Predator”. They also look very cheesy individually and collectively. They are jittery in their movements and how they edit the huge action scenes. Their mania is incessant and slick. It’s not distancing. It’s not surprising that they are surrounded by gunfire and Lorne balfe’s overwhelming score.
Pratt moves, grunts and shoots through it all. It’s a lot. This is some of his most convincing work. His scenes with Yvonne Strahovski, the no-nonsense colonel delivering commands, are less impressive. She connects with him partly because of his military history. The “Handmaid’s Tale” standout actor is also the one who comes out the best from the hard work. He delivers clunky, expository dialog in this wild setting with remarkable understatement. Pratt is, however, outmatched by her.
The “Tomorrow War” finally caves to its ” Alien ” influences. There are ear-splitting shrieks, blood, and yellow-green fluids spewing everywhere. It’s almost as if a condiment bar from the ballpark became sentient and turned into evil. At this point, things start to get so-bad-it-is-good, but it’s too late. You won’t be heard screaming in the future.