Arts & Leisure

“Tomorrow War” almost lukewarm

CHRIS PRATT stars in “The Tomorrow War,” a film about an alien invasion in the future.

By Jim Tortolano

Alien invasion movies are almost as common as Starbucks, but seldom as satisfying. “The Tomorrow War,” sits somewhere between a rapidly cooling cup of java at Denny’s and an espresso con panna.

There are aspects of the story that are original, the CGI is generally impressive and it’s hard not to like Chris Pratt (remember “Guardians of the Galaxy”), but as a war movie it is loud but laughable.

Pratt is Dan Forester, a high school science teacher with a military past. One day, soldiers from a future Earth interrupt a World Cup soccer game to announce that ugly aliens are kicking human asterisk 30 years in the future and need some help.

Forester is drafted and he and some stereotypical characters (the embittered war veteran, the clueless scientist, etc.) are sent to the 2050s on a seemingly hopeless mission.

Here is where the suspension of disbelief – so important to these kinds of motion pictures – gets, uh, suspended. The point of sending millions of untrained, unarmored raw recruits to fight monsters from your nightmares is lost on anyone over the age of 8.

Further, the aliens – who look like a re-engineered rip-off of the critters in the much better “Battle for Los Angeles” movie – have one weak spot: the belly. So, of course not only does everyone shoot at the head, but future military arms designers haven’t bother to design stomach-ripping hardware known to warriors since the Middle Ages.

Despite the passage of 30 years, the army and air force are going into combat with Iraq-war era weapons and aircraft. No wonder they’re fighting like Frenchmen.

Forester starts working with a colonel, who turns out to be a relative from his pastß. Yvonne Strahovski (known as Romeo Command) is not only one tough mother, she has the superpower of fighting massive critters without ever mussing her hair, or in anyway smudging her makeup, eyeliner or carefully shaped eyebrows.

There’s a subplot about estranged family members (nice to see J.K. Simmons), and it’s the human relationships that rescue “Tomorrow” from being a total waste of your streaming video afternoon.  And pay attention to potential foreshadowing: every little side eddy comes back to matter in the relatively satisfying (and drawn-out) conclusion.

The end result is a mixed bag (or beverage), tolerable if you like to see things blown up. It’s best watched with some popcorn, Red Vines and a cup of good Joe, even if it’s on your sofa.

“The Tomorrow War” is rated PG-13 for language, violence and dumbness. Chris McKay directed from a script by Zach Dean.

 

 

 

 

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