We have not been having enough block busters since the pandemic hit cinemas last year so it was with heightened anticipation to see The Tomorrow War opening this month. On paper this looked like something to get excited over. After all it has the ever reliable superstar Chris Pratt in a genre, science fiction action, that he is very comfortable playing.
Alas, this was not to be as it soon becomes obvious that The Tomorrow War, is a poorly conceived science fiction movie that does not seem to have any original idea of its own. Its plot about sending able men forward into the future to fight an losing battle with aliens, may sound like an opportunity for a fun science fiction romp. But the characters and storyline all seems so familiar it was like watching something stitched out of a dozen other (better) movies. The film’ starts off slow with its long boring scenes of non action spewing corny dialogue and sentimentalism. When the action finally sets in, the film’s low budget gets painfully obvious. The CGI effects were sub-standard, and short cuts such as blurry images and dark environment used to minimise the CGI details needed. The design of the look and feel of the aliens was also unoriginal and looked like a hybrid of what we have seen in other better movies. The film’s has an inflated running length of 2 hours 20 minutes. This is not necessary when you have such a simple storyline. There were too much boring dialogue in the beginning and the epilogue in the icy mountainous terrain in Russia felt too long especially when it has a foregone conclusion.
Chris Pratt has to carry the movie on his own on this since he is the only one with star power. However, his character is so poorly conceived, that his motivation and relationship with his family falls flat. The so called emotional scenes between father and his grown up daughter (played by Yvonne Strahovski) and his strained relationship with his father (played by J.K. Simmons) comes across feeling forced and unconvincing. I certainly get more emotional and teary eye from watching a typical Pixar animation than here. I would not fault Chris Pratt or any of the cast members here. I think the main fault lies with the director Chris Mckay’s lack of vision, the poorly written script by Zach Dean, and their casting agents for landing them roles in this movie. I would not blame it on its undersized budget because what comes out ultimately depends a lot on the creativity and not necessarily on expensive CGI effects. At least the sound system throughout the movie was consistently good. Thankfully, the producers know better than to slot in some sort of teaser at the end to leave things open for a sequel.