The Tomorrow War
Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow War opens with strong audio to set the short introductory scene. So many things happen at once: ears ring with loud noises, colours explode in scorching hot orange, dirty grey and drab blue. Then the action goes as quickly as it comes, bringing the timeline back to a few days – or years – prior, to establish some sort of context. The whole concept of time travel is dumped on the viewers all too suddenly, and while this suits the narrative in a particularly niche manner, it’s a little too unnatural in terms of storytelling.
From that point forward, the film uses news pieces and footage from real life to enhance the realism. It adds scientific jargon and theories, as well as copy-pasted historical patterns to make logical sense of the events that unfold. All this effort falls flat because of how far-out the basic plot concept is, without the aid of a decent script. There is no easing viewers into the story, no world-building, no early characterisation – no nothing. So even when something profound and supposedly deep is explored, there is no way for the audience to truly buy into it. Key character moments, such as Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) meeting his father (JK Simmons), lose impact because of how expository it all is. The effect not only kills immersion, but bombards the audience with overwhelming information.
The Tomorrow War revolves around the quote, “Do what nobody else is willing to do,” but Yvonne Strahovski’s (who plays Colonel Muri Forester) line, “Nothing about this for me is sentimental,” seems more appropriate: the film doesn’t evoke any strong emotion at all. Pratt’s acting is bland and lacks so much of the regular charm he has in his other roles; it’s tired and missing heart. Strahovski, on the other hand, carries these moments as best she can. Still, the misplaced humour, cliché-heavy tension-creating bass drop, and unimpressive use of graphics pull the overall quality of the film down.
Nonetheless, there is something quite cathartic about a war initially fought by father and daughter ending with father and son, wherein one dies and the other lives. It does bring some interesting parallels and questions of generational divides of the past and future.
The Tomorrow War is released on Amazon Prime Video on 2nd July 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Tomorrow War here: