I’ve often mentioned that my wife will view these movies with me. She typically edits my reviews, so seeing the film helps. In this case, however, it made for an interesting film viewing experience. When I watch a movie to review, I typically watch it straight through, occasionally pausing to review a scene or take notes. With The Tomorrow War, my wife and I spent 90 minutes discussing time travel and the potential flaws around the way that time travel was utilized in the film. Interestingly, many of our discussions played out in the film or we saw our theories proved and disproved. It made for an interesting movie watching experience and I suspect that others will do the same with this film. I’ve spent a lot of time at pop culture conferences over the years and line-con (conversations while waiting to get into events) are real. I could definitely see this movie discussed in those lines in the future.
The film’s premise is quite simple – Aliens invade in the future and humans are unable to defeat them. As a result, they build a time machine, travel back, and recruit soldiers from present day to travel forward in time and help them fight. You get a lot of Sci-Fi, a lot of action, and bit of heart. The film has touching scenes, anger inducing scenes, and thrilling scenes. It is a little bit of everything and, with a 2 hour and 20 minute running time, it has to be.
Chris Pratt plays our lead, Dan Forester, a retired soldier who got a science degree and teaches high school. In the beginning of the movie, we can see his frustration with the direction of his life, he wants to move on from teaching to actual industry science, but is having a hard time accomplishing that. Ultimately, he ends up drafted to fight in the war with the aliens and, as a result, we spend much of the movie in the future. Pratt is surrounded by amazing co-stars including Yvonne Strahovski, who will always be Sarah Walker from Chuck in my eyes, J.K. Simmons, who is ALWAYS brilliant, Sam Richardson, who I just saw in Werewolves Within, and many others.
I want to take a minute to address the timeline in the film because it can become confusing… so much so that it is the biggest reason why I didn’t call this a 5-star film. The film starts, very briefly, in the future, and then jumps back to the present. The caption tells us that it is 28 years earlier and December 2022. It is during this first present sequence that we learn about the future and time travel, when a soldier (Jasmine Mathews), shows up on a World Cup field. She announces that she is from 30 years in the future. So, now we’re working with competing dates… is it 30 years in the future or 28 years in the future? We then jump forward 12 months (a newscaster explicitly says this rather than 1 year), making it December 2023. The updates they are giving are from 2051, which would bring us back to the 28 year mark. Then, at another point in the film, we learn that the time travel mechanism opens a wormhole that traverses 30 years. The film uses a lot of dates and ages and time frames and most of them seem to line up, but the 28 vs 30 year inconsistency really needs to be clarified.
In trying to figure out the time discrepancy, I rewatched parts of the films to track down all time and date mentions. There’s a single scene, where documents fly past a computer screen too quickly to read in normal viewing. I reviewed this scene frame by frame to capture the dates. I want to emphasize how important it is to NOT do that on your first watching. It will, in my opinion, spoil some aspects of the film for you.
The film has a few surprises, some of which they tried hard to prevent from leaking, including how the cast list is formatted on IMDB. Don’t go looking trying to figure it out unless you want spoilers. For that reason, I don’t want to talk too much about the specifics of the film. So, what I will say is that the film has an all-star cast, a great story, awesome action, and incredible Sci-Fi. I can’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t want to watch this film… unless you don’t like Sci-Fi films with awesome Aliens. I definitely want a White Spike model on my desk… I really hope that’s something we see in the future. I also think this movie is setup well for a prequel and, potentially, even a sequel, so I’d really hope they have more planned.
The Tomorrow War premieres on Prime Video on July 2.
The Tomorrow War
Movie title: The Tomorrow War
Movie description: In The Tomorrow War, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. AMong those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet.
Date published: 2021-07-02
Director(s): Chris McKay
Actor(s): Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers, Mary Lynn Rajskub , Mike Mitchell,
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