Now that cinemas have re-opened in the UK and colossal blockbusters are being shown in them, it’s rare to see a big budget sci-fi spectacle such as The Tomorrow War being released straight onto a streaming service. But after originally planning to release the film in cinemas in December 2020 and then delaying it until July 2021, Paramount Pictures decided instead to sell the film to Amazon Studios for around $200 million which is why the science fiction extravaganza is now being released straight into our homes.
The Tomorrow War has a big plot that’s worthy of a big screen. The world are stunned when a group of time travellers arrive delivering an urgent message from the year 2051. In the near future mankind are losing a war against a deadly alien species and humanity’s only chance of survival is for civilians from the present day to move forward in time into the future to join the fight. Chris Pratt plays high school science teacher Dan Forester who gets drafted for the war and leaves for the future, determined to save the world for his young daughter.
As with most time travel films, if you try to think too hard about some of the logic of the time travel and how it all works you might end up stumped and you may find one or two plot holes in the film. Or you could choose to just accept all the timey-wimey stuff the film throws at you. After all, time travel doesn’t exist so we can allow the filmmakers some artistic licence with how it works.
Once the film’s set itself up and established the future conflict and after Chris Pratt and his fellow draftees have been briefed and sent to the future, this is when the film really begins to click into gear. The film’s action is really strong and it is a bit disappointing not to be watching a big spectacle like this on a gigantic cinema screen. The design of the extra-terrestrials known as the ‘white spikes’ looks really good and quite scary. The white spikes feel very different to a lot of other alien and monster designs in recent films that have sometimes looked a bit samey.
The Tomorrow War doesn’t shy away from showing these aliens either. Often in films like this the creatures have a tendency to be shrouded in mist or darkness a lot of the time and we don’t get to see them very well but here we get to see them in broad daylight and in all their glory. It’s refreshing to see them presented like this and it makes for much more suspenseful action scenes. The one thing though that really propels the action scenes and makes them thoroughly entertaining is Lorne Balfe’s phenomenal musical score which really completes the action scenes and puts you right in the middle of the action. Balfe’s fantastic score is something that, again, would’ve made The Tomorrow War a real ‘cinema film’.
As the film goes on it does definitely drag however. Clocking in at 2 hours and 18 minutes it is quite a long film and it’s really in the film’s final 30 minutes or so that they try and shoehorn far too much in making for a disappointing finale. The film doesn’t manage to hold your attention for the full run time and final act doesn’t seem as exciting or as engaging as it should do.
Chris Pratt is likeable as usual as the film’s protagonist but even with an impressive cast including J.K. Simmons, Yvonne Strahovski and Betty Gilpin, it’s Sam Richardson whose wonderful comic relief elevates this film. He injects a bit more life into the film making it more enjoyable to watch.
The Tomorrow War is nothing too special with a clunky plot and some dodgy dialogue but nonetheless it’s an entertaining sci-fi action film that probably would have benefited greatly from being seen on a big cinema screen.
The Tomorrow War is released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 2nd July.