The Tomorrow War

By: Chris McKay
Pandemic Movie Index (out of 5): 🦠1/2

This new science-fiction saga starring Chris Pratt isn’t a movie, really. 

It’s a mashup. A cinematic fusion, where video games meet film — a movideo, if you will (trademark that) —  that follows a carefully crafted logarithmic recipe. Take Call of Duty. Pepper with some Alien and World War Z. Simmer and allow to fester interminably. Repeat.

It’s also a frantic mess of special effects and time-travel nonsense that will never withstand the test of time, let alone reason and entertainment. And it is what you get when you have way too much money, as Amazon clearly does, having reportedly spent $200 million to acquire this empty package from Paramount. 

In it, Pratt creates a hybrid of his former characters from Parks and Recreation and Guardians of the Galaxy, you know, his usual goofy, quirky, loveable self, which in this case is a high school teacher and father of a 10-year-old young daughter, who is looking to «make a difference» in the world — which ultimately involves putting a gun in his hands and expediting him to the future to fight an alien invasion.

The time this movie spends explaining its laughable premise, plant its plot points and justify its incongruities to make it somewhat credible is probably the most entertaining part of it all.

Why are the drafted soldiers sent to the future not told what they are about to fight? Because if they did, nobody would want to go. Why can we go to the future but not back to the past to prevent this mess from happening? The time link is weak and you can’t do a two-way. How do you quickly get an army plane loaded with ammo to fly an overnight rogue commando mission to the Russian arctic? Just ask daddy (played by a jacked J.K. Simmons). And how is Chris Pratt’s character supposed to die of cancer 14 years later but is still alive to fight aliens 30 years later? … What was that question again?

Along the way, there are father-daughter issues, father-son issues, some artificial bonding among fellow soldiers and comic relief from tertiary characters, all of it to conceal what this movie really is: a full-fleshed video game, complete with different settings and missions that allow you to move up to the next level as you go along.

Level 1: Fight rampant aliens in an apocalyptic Miami and retrieve crucial “blue vials”. Level 2: Capture alien queen in a desert cave and retrieve toxins from beast. Level 3: Ride to the arctic to neutralize aliens conveniently frozen in a mothership, under tons of ice. And finally, Level 4: Frantically look for the button on your remote to get your two hours and money back. 

But sadly, by then, it’s Game Over.  

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