So many great tales on time travel come to mind, and it’s the notion of destiny versus possibility that always make this is an exciting backdrop when it comes to science fiction. It’s got the charm of Back to the Future, is less complex then the inversion and entropy theories of Tenet immediately sparking the screen with intricate CGI in the style of Aliens, Terminator, with a father – daughter story that rivals the closeness found in Interstellar.
The world stands still with a cry for help across time with the arrival of military troops thirty years from the future announce they are fighting a losing war. They’re from a time where the world population is now just 500,000 and mankind appears to be doomed to a fate of extinction by an alien species.
Worldwide conscription begins to see generations of fathers, mothers, grandparents of this future world being called to action. Recruits are only enlisted if they are dead in the future they are fighting in and the military trainers preparing them are young because they haven’t been born yet. Conscripts are from all walks of life and when chosen, have 24 hours to get their affairs in order. Their mission of service is for 7 days in the future where the survival rate is just 20%. For science teacher, Dan Forrester, there’s no escape as running away deems one of his dependants obligated to take his place.
Who they are fighting is a mystery, referred to only as ‘White Spikes’. Recruits are being prepared for a battle with an enemy with no idea what their enemy looks like. The dramatic suction into a wormhole from the past ends with a free fall drop in to the future. Surviving that, is just the first step as a city ravaged by flame and beast is revealed.
It isn’t until 48 minutes into the 137 min feature we finally see the human feeding ‘white spikes’, a creature that moves as fast as a leopard, repitilian in appearance with an arachnid like multi-legged and mouth ready to devour humankind who are their main source of sustenance.
Chris Pratt maintains his action hero status following Jurassic World and Star-Lord, while bringing out a softer side to his repertoire, playing father to daughter Miri. There are some great unspoken emotional moments we are taken too, in ways we haven’t seen from him before in other roles. For Pratt, it’s a nice followup to his last Sci-Fi with Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers.
Early on, a complex history with his estranged father is established and it’s this contrast to the relationship with his daughter both in the past and in the future where things get really interesting. On arriving into the future, the Colonel in charge of his troop, turns out to be his grown daughter, Miri who seems to know a very different father to the one that left the past. For local Maroubra native, this is Strzechowski’s first real blockbuster role, with a strong history in acclaimed television series spanning almost two decades which shows in the delicate balance she portrays as vulnerable damaged daughter and groundbreaking scientist and military leader.
Comedic moments are provided by sidekick, Charlie (Sam Richardson) but for the most part, the supporting cast are a little underdeveloped. Unexplored and hollow backstory like for instance, Dorian (Edwin Hodge) who we meet having served on two missions seems to have a death wish while collecting war souvenirs served no real purpose to the story. Under utilised performers like 24 veteran, Mary Lynn Rajskub who plays self sacrificing, barely had two lines before being killed off in the first hour.
A dazzling visual spectacular of computer generated imagery, pyrotechnics and high angle aerials, the right proportion of action, drama and suspense are formulated. Does it command the same kind of legacy, in the way Spielberg’s, Back to the Future does, probably not so much. Like similar films, including Ryan Reynolds’ 6 Underground or Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction, there’s no flaw in cinematic quality, but probably wouldn’t have been that memorable without the principal cast headliners. As a fan of apocalyspe dooms day films like, Into the Storm, Greenland, San Andreas and 2012, this definitely gets a replay on the watchlist.
The Tomorrow War is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video: