The Tomorrow War is a 2021 American science fiction action film directed by Chris McKay in his live-action directorial debut. The movie stars Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson and follows a group of present-day soldiers who are sent into the future to fight an alien army (called the White Spikes).
S P O I L E R S
The Tomorrow War is a mash-up of various familiar scifi tropes mainly involving alien invasion and time travel. Thus scifi movie fans should have no trouble identifying the numerous borrowed story ideas from Independence Day, (there’s even a Will Smith joke in the movie), Aliens, Starship Troopers, The Thing, Terminator and even Back to the Future.
The time travel element is problematic at best, explained in the movie as only covering two points in time about thirty years apart (i.e. 2022 and 2051). No reason is ever given as to how humans acquired this technology during an alien invasion, no less. Also, it’s also illogical that this time travel technology is only used to bring soldiers to the future and back.
One of those soldiers is Dan Forester (Pratt) who effectively leads a motley crew of fighters to the future war. However, it is not clear what the original plan is before Forester and company are given a new assignment – to recover research to create a toxin against the White Spikes. Now, when the White Spikes are revealed, they look very similar to the aliens in A Quiet Place – and up to the final act, it seemed ludicrous that these animalistic feral creatures could have possessed the intelligence capable of interplanetary travel.
Now the twist is that when in the future, Forester meets his daughter Muri (Strahovski) who is now a colonel leading the human war effort and desperately working on a toxin to kill the White Spikes. However, Muri remains distant towards Forester despite this reunion and she reveals that Forester turned out to be a bad husband and father before his untimely death. This shocks Forester – and the audience – as he comes across like the perfect family man in the first act – so that is quite an incredulous development.
In any case, Forester helps Muri come up with an effective toxin but the base is overrun by White Spikes and Muri dies just as Forester returns to his own time with the toxin. As the base has been destroyed in the future, time travel is no longer possible. This leads to the final act, where Forester devises a plan to kill off the White Spikes in the past before the “invasion”.
Fact is, the White Spikes are revealed to have been hibernating in an alien spacecraft for years under the arctic tundra – shades of The Thing – before thawing out and attacking the earth. Though why nobody from the future figured this out earlier is truly illogical – that is exactly what a time machine is for!
In the final analysis, The Tomorrow War has everything a scifi blockbuster should have – bombastic action sequences, terrifying alien creatures and the feel good factor – sadly the plot and characterisations are once more lacking. If only intelligence was a pre-requisite for scifi films (as it once was). Pure popcorn fun, as long as you switch off your mind.
… still there’s more …