'The Tomorrow War' movie review: A generic ride

'The Tomorrow War' movie review: Chris Pratt powers through an otherwise generic ride

There is nothing exciting about watching a faceless CGI horde plow through every human alive, but at least Chris Pratt is not wasted here

Chris Pratt as Dan Forester is the only saving grace of 'The Tomorrow War'. Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The Tomorrow War

Director: Chris McKay

Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski

Score: 2.5/5 stars

Imagine one day you're watching a football match, when suddenly a portal opens and people claiming to be from the future call upon you to fight a war with an alien species. Would you go with it?

Probably not, but this is exactly what The Tomorrow War does. As ominous or exciting the prospect of a war involving time travel might seem, the movie does so little with its elements, it's almost tiring to go through it all, with only a couple of saving graces to its credit.

The idea of a hopeless alien war is nothing new, with a shopping list worth of Hollywood movies having tackled that old topic. The concept of time travel in an alien war is not new either, with Edge of Tomorrow having used that in a Groundhog Day-style fashion, and neither is a horde of grotesque CGI monstrosities being the sole face of the enemy force.

So what makes The Tomorrow War anything close to worth watching? Chris Pratt. In the grand 2 hour 18 minute movie, if there is one thing that is worth looking forward to, it's Chris Pratt's excellent acting as Dan Forester, an Iraq War veteran and a biology teacher.

There's not much to say about the plot, at all. Future humans barge into a football match and summon their grandparents in a war, causing years of escalating conflict and chaos on both sides of time and instituting a mandatory global civilian draft as military casualties mount. It's an interesting concept, but like most other concepts in the movie, it's simply brushed aside at a moment's notice with just a few minutes' worth of exposition.

The humans are fighting an alien species called 'White Spikes', which look a lot like grotesquely mutated canines with six legs, fang-like teeth and tentacles. It's another generic Hollywood monster design with nothing unique or truly scary about it, barring its overwhelming force of number.

As said before, The Tomorrow War is as generic as generic Hollywood alien action movies can get. People go into the future, time travel gets messed up, people die, fight aliens and die, as the movie drags through its runtime. There is nothing about the war itself that captures the attention for any significant amount of time, barring the short-term exhilaration of watching an alien war movie.

Where the movie does get interesting is with Chris Pratt and his interactions with the people around him. It's not often that a movie weighed down by a meagre script and tedious, repetitive action feels like there can be a refreshing face, and Chris Pratt delivers that with gravitas. He is the sole light of hope that drives the movie, both literally and figuratively, as he has to work against time to find a way to kill all the aliens and end this war. Seems generic, but the execution in this area, at least, is delightfully well-done.

It's strange that Chris McKay, who in the past directed amazing things like The Lego Batman Movie, would have his hand on such a generic film, but really, it is bogged down entirely by a mediocre screenplay. One wonders if the movie could have been better in the hands of a better writer. For better or worse, The Tomorrow War is certainly not a film that will have any real impact on you after watching.