The Tomorrow War
Upcoming American science fiction film
|The Tomorrow War|
|Directed by||Chris McKay|
|Written by||Zach Dean|
|Music by||Lorne Balfe|
|Distributed by||Amazon Studios|
The Tomorrow War is a 2021 American military science fiction film directed by Chris McKay. It is produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, David S. Goyer, Jules Daly, and Adam Kolbrenner, and written by Zach Dean. The film stars Chris Pratt (who also executively produced), Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, and follows a mix of present-day soldiers and civilians sent into the future to fight an alien army.
Originally set for theatrical release by Paramount, the film's distribution rights were acquired by Amazon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and digitally released on July 2, 2021 via Amazon Prime Video. The Tomorrow War received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the concept, action and performances but criticism aimed towards its derivative execution.
In December 2022, biology teacher and former Green Beret Dan Forester fails to get a job at a prestigious research center. While watching the World Cup, soldiers from the year 2051 arrive to warn that humanity is on the brink of extinction due to a war with alien invaders referred to as the "Whitespikes". In response, members of the world's militaries are sent into the future via a wormhole device called the "Jumplink", but fewer than 20% survive deployment to return in 7 days, prompting the introduction of an international draft.
A year later, with no visible progress made, an anti-war movement forms and demands that the draft be abolished. Dan receives a notice that he has been drafted and reports with other draftees to basic training. Dan deduces with fellow draftee Charlie that to prevent a paradox, those drafted have already died before the war starts. The draftees are sent forward in time to a battlefield on Miami Beach but few survive, having been dropped at the incorrect location above the city. The field commander, Col. Forester, orders the draftees to rescue nearby lab personnel before the area is sterilized. The draftees discover the lab personnel are already dead but recover their research. Dan radios to command about the situation, but is told that no help will be sent to rescue the stranded troops. Nearly everyone dies, except for Charlie, Dan, and a soldier named Dorian.
The survivors wake up in a military encampment in the Dominican Republic. Dan reports to Col. Forester, who turns out to be his grown daughter Muri. She requests he accompany her on a mission to capture a female Whitespike, which are rarer than the males typically encountered. They trap and cage the female, only to have hundreds of males descend on their position. As the helicopter with the female lifts off, Dan and Muri escape to a beach and radio for rescue. Muri reveals to Dan that, dissatisfied with his life after losing the job, he abandons his family and eventually dies in a car crash in 2030. Dan, Muri and the female Whitespike are transported to a fortified oil rig close to Port Nelson, where the Jumplink is located.
Dan and Muri work on creating a toxin that can kill the Whitespikes and are successful. The Whitespikes attack and overrun the base to free the female, and Muri sacrifices herself to send Dan back to the past. Although he successfully returns to 2023 with the toxin, the Jumplink is destroyed. With the link to the future destroyed, the world takes it as a sign that the future war is lost and descends into chaos with rioting and looting as people panic over the impending doom of humanity.
Brainstorming with his wife, Dan deduces that the Whitespikes did not arrive in 2048, but came much earlier. Consulting with Charlie, they theorize that the Whitespikes are already on Earth, and global warming caused them to thaw out and emerge from under the ice caps. Dan leads a mission to Russia with Charlie, Dorian, a few surviving future soldiers, and his estranged father James to prove his theory. At the Academy of Sciences Glacier on Komsomolets Island, the team finds a crashed alien ship inside the glacier. They debate telling the world about the problem, but decide to end the threat right then and there. Once inside, they realize that the Whitespikes are not the aliens themselves, but rather bio-engineered organisms possibly used as a planet-clearing weapon or cattle by another alien race. The team injects several of the dormant Whitespikes with the toxin; this kills the injected ones but wakes the others and most of the team is killed. Dorian, terminally ill with cancer and wanting to die on his own terms, stays behind to blow up the ship with C-4. Dan and his father hunt and kill the one female that had escaped, leaving them and Charlie as the only survivors of the team.
Content with the knowledge that the war is averted and humanity is saved, Dan brings James home to meet his wife and grandchildren, determined not to make the same mistakes that Muri had warned him about from her future.
- Chris Pratt as Dan Forester, a biology teacher and former Green Beret who served two tours in Iraq
- Yvonne Strahovski as Colonel Muri Forester, Dan's adult daughter and a military scientist.
- Ryan Kiera Armstrong as young Muri Forester.
- J. K. Simmons as James Forester, Dan's father, an anti-government survivalist and Vietnam veteran
- Betty Gilpin as Emmy Forester, Dan's wife and a therapist for returning draftees
- Sam Richardson as Charlie, a draftee with a PhD in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
- Edwin Hodge as Dorian, a cancer-stricken draftee on his third tour of duty
- Jasmine Mathews as Lt. Hart, a future soldier who warned the world during the World Cup
- Keith Powers as Major Greenwood, Muri’s executive officer
It was announced in February 2019 that Chris Pratt was in negotiations to star in the film (then known as Ghost Draft) and that it would be directed by Chris McKay. In July, Yvonne Strahovski was cast. J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Theo Von, Jasmine Mathews, Keith Powers were cast in August, with Mary Lynn Rajskub, Edwin Hodge, and additional cast joining in September. The movie was later retitled The Tomorrow War. Creature designer Ken Barthelmey designed the film's aliens.
The film was initially scheduled for release on December 25, 2020 by Paramount Pictures, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was rescheduled to July 23, 2021, taking the release date of Mission: Impossible 7, then later pulled from the schedule again. In January 2021, Amazon Studios was in final talks to acquire the film for around $200 million. In April 2021, it was announced that Amazon had officially acquired the film, and released it on Amazon Prime Video on July 2, 2021.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 52% based on 125 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Chris Pratt ably anchors this sci-fi adventure, even if The Tomorrow War may not linger in the memory much longer than today." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 45 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Nick Allen at The Playlist gave the film a "B+", writing that "blockbuster movies are often as loud and action-based as The Tomorrow War, but they’re rarely as diverse in tone or so delightfully wild when it comes to in-your-face entertainment." He also called it "bold" and compared McKay's style to that of Michael Bay and Zack Snyder. Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 out of 4 stars and wrote, "The Tomorrow War is an earnest effort to bring something new to the time-travel action genre, but this movie is a 2021 vehicle made of parts from the 2010s and the 1990s and 1980s." IndieWire's David Ehrlich gave the film a C grade, writing, "Which isn't to say that The Tomorrow War is bad — it boasts a clever premise, a killer supporting turn from Sam Richardson, and an uncommonly well-defined sense of place for such a murky CGI gloop-fest... But for all of those laudable attributes, this flavorless loss-leader of a film is neutered by its refusal to put audiences on their heels." John Defore writing for the Hollywood Reporter wrote that "the pic may be missing that certain something that would have made it huge in theaters" but that it is entertaining on Amazon stream anyway and praised Chris Pratt's acting. IGN criticized then described the movie as "Supremely stupid sci-fi", and further stated that Chris Pratt flounders in the supremely stupid time-travel war movie.
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