Tomorrow War review: Chris Pratt stars in sci-fi mystery meat

Tomorrow War review: Chris Pratt stars in sci-fi mystery meat

07/01/2021

As Little Orphan Annie once sang, “The vicious fanged aliens will come out tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow … the vicious fanged aliens will come!” Well, it goes something like that.

Annie’s Great Depression was a jolly time compared to the global genocide earthlings go through in director Chris McKay’s “The Tomorrow War” — the garbage pizza of science-fiction films.

In still-peaceful 2021, time-traveling soldiers arrive in the middle of a soccer game — that’s being watched by, in an unlikely twist, a house full of Americans — and make a harrowing announcement.

the tomorrow war

Running time: 140 minutes. Rated PG-13 (intense sci-fi violence, action, language). On Prime Video.

“We are you 30 years in the future,” a woman in uniform says. “We are fighting a war. Our enemy is not human, and we are losing. In 11 months’ time, all human beings in the future will be wiped from the face of the Earth unless you help us.”

The creatures are called the white spikes and they are pale spider-worms with lots of teeth that shoot deadly projectiles out of their tentacles. They have no plans for world domination; they just want a snack.

So, 2021 Earth institutes a draft and begins sending military and civilian soldiers into the future for seven-day tours of duty to try to defeat the white spikes before they eradicate humanity, which is on its last leg.

Chris Pratt plays Dan, a high school biology teacher and dad who’s sent ahead in time to fight. He’s joined by Charlie (Sam Richardson with a geeky, tedious sense of humor), a college professor. When they arrive, you start to wonder exactly what the combat strategy is here. Guns don’t do much against the white spikes, and they’ve multiplied like mad. All the humans do is run and shoot and scream.

Proliferating even more wildly than the aliens are the cliches. In 2051, Dan meets the older version of a relative he knows from back home (John Connor?) and he uses his biology skills to help them concoct a chemical weapon, then goes on a rampage with the help of his dad (J.K. Simmons). Dan, channeling Marty McFly, even asks, “So do the Miami Dolphins ever win the Super Bowl?”

And then there’s the ending, a preposterous scheme that the group concocts in about a minute that scientists three decades in the future — who discovered time travel! — could not figure out for themselves. Audiences are cognizant of such loose threads because other movies have been telling this story better for years.

“The Tomorrow War,” in trying to become the new “Independence Day” (this release date is not arbitrary), throws “Alien,” “The Terminator” and “A Quiet Place” in a blender. And, like that gross kale smoothie you made once, the result is gray goop.

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