Who is ready for some big sci-fi action from Amazon just in time for the summer season? Their latest acquisition is a time-bending alien invasion flick where an unexpected action hero connects with a strong and resourceful woman who will lead the charge. Wait…is that Edge of Tomorrow? Not this time! This time we are here to discuss Chris Pratt’s new action flick The Tomorrow War.
Can you believe this is from the inventive mind that brought The LEGO Batman Movie to life? Chris McKay channels his fun and humor into this film that tries to balance a semi-serious tone like Independence Day. McKay does struggle to find that balance as there is plenty of quippy dialogue which feel odd when the next scene might be horror movie level tension and suspense. Kiddos to McKay though as he can create that tension especially during a stairwell sequence when the audience (and the main characters) get their first look at these aliens. The third act of the film takes a crazier turn with a borderline campy climatic fight that felt more comfortable in a cheesy 80’s movie than in comparison to the rest of this film. There are some touching emotional moments as well between Pratt and Yvonne Strahovski’s character…but even those moments get TOO over-the-top. One such scene went so far that I almost laughed watching it.
The film has a strong cast of actors in it, but do they put their best foot forward? Let us start with Pratt. Is he funny? Check. Does he meet the emotional moments? Not always. He feels uncomfortable during some of those scenes. Some of his choices are strange especially with line delivery during an angry confrontation with his father. Speaking of his father…J.K. Simmons is ripped and a real highlight for when he is on screen. Strahovski is saddled with a lot of explaining but she is a strong presence and a great pair with Pratt. Sam Richardson is the key comic relief which he delivers so well with ease. The rest of the big cast including Betty Gilpin are underutilized.
We know this film delivers big and bold action with plenty of tension along the way but does the script follow suit? No really. By far the weakest part of this film is Zach Dean’s script. The storytelling and narrative structure are…odd. I thought the film was ending with a big emotional moment but there were 45-minutes left in the movie! Where was it going from there? This film is bloated almost 2.5-hours which it really did not need to be. The film is also filled with 75% exposition which much of could have been negated by allowing the audience to think for themselves. Most of the non-expositional dialogue is also cliched and flat. When it really comes down to it, the charisma of the cast and the action really drive the boat here.
Is there enough big dumb and bloated fun here in The Tomorrow War to make it worth the streaming investment? I had a really good time watching this! Despite channeling some of the worst narrative aspects of other sci-fi (like Prometheus), McKay’s film derives enough from films like Independence Day to at least be a fun time. This is no Aliens or Edge of Tomorrow, but it doesn’t have to in order to be a good time.