Review by Camden Ferrell
In between blockbuster franchises, Chris Pratt now stars in The Tomorrow War, an original sci-fi action movie. It is the live-action directorial debut of Chris McKay who most recently directed The Lego Batman Movie. While it’s a unique premise that delivers on occasional action-packed thrills, this movie can also be bogged down by its bland writing and daunting runtime.
Dan is an ex-military family man who works as a high school biology teacher. One day, people from thirty years in the future arrive to inform Earth of the forthcoming catastrophic war against aliens. Dan is one of many who are recruited to go to the future to fight these powerful threats. It’s a cool premise that has lots of potential for sci-fi thrills and action, and it also benefits from the originality of its premise.
From the start, Zach Dean’s script doesn’t do much to set this film apart from other action blockbusters. It lazily delivers exposition and cliched dialogue, and while it serves its most basic purpose, it mostly feels like a buffer until the action begins. It doesn’t do much to explain the logistics of this world, but luckily the film is more preoccupied with mindlessly entertaining its audience.
Chris Pratt leads the film as Dan, and he plays a very similar character to previous roles. He is a strong, noble, and funny action hero, and he surprisingly pulls that character off pretty well after all these years. He’s not great or revelatory, but he carries the film with the same charisma as his other franchises. Unfortunately, the supporting cast is severely misused or underused. Sam Richardson, who is a talented and funny actor, is ignored for most of this film and doesn’t get his due diligence. The movie also features Yvonne Strahovski, and while she gets ample screen time, she doesn’t always have the best material to work with.
The movie does a great job at crafting its aliens. The design is creative and really interesting and quickly prove to the audience that they are a formidable foe for our protagonists. I believe it could have benefit from more close-range attacks and fights with them, but the action we’re presented is still very good. McKay executes many of these action scenes well. They’re exciting and fast-paced, and they are the film’s saving grace.
Even though the PG-13 rating can hinder its potential for violence, the movie still manages to pull off some gruesome scenes and kills that will please viewers. In addition to the scenes with the aliens, there are a handful of really cool sequences and shots that are quite exhilarating. The movie has a hard time maintaining the quality of its entertainment, but it still has its moments to shine.
The biggest flaw with this film is its length, clocking in at nearly 140 minutes. The movie truly feels too self-indulgent, and it’s final forty minutes were mostly unnecessary to satisfyingly conclude its story. The pacing is rather inconsistent, and it really distracts from the things that were working in the movie’s favor.
The Tomorrow War benefits from its original premise and its action, but it’s writing, length, and misused actor bring it down throughout. Despite its flaws, it’s a fun movie that proves McKay has a promising future in this genre.
The Tomorrow War is available on Amazon Prime July 2.