The Tomorrow War (2021)

dir. Chris McKay

Time travel is extremely difficult to tell a coherent story about. Even the best attempts, like Donnie Darko, Palm Springs, Terminator, or Your Name begin to fall apart as soon as underpinning logic is thought about a bit too much. All of those movies work well, though, because of their internal consistency and a prevailing commitment to character and storytelling above all else. The Tomorrow War does not do these things. Our hero Dan (Chris Pratt) is summoned to the future to fight a war against aliens due to arrive in a few decades’ time. The film’s own script sounds embarrassed as it tries to explain people’s unfortunately inability to use this time travel power to simply spend endless years preparing to defeat the aliens, or to defend properly against the aliens, or to investigate the aliens’ origins and motive. Instead we’re lectured about parallel eras, and time flowing forward like a river, and a general sense of “it just is”. There are so many questions raised about how any of the film’s plot can actually work, and The Tomorrow War‘s boring characters and turgid pacing do not compel a suspension of disbelief. The film’s merry ending treats us to Dan’s renewed bonds with his father, daughter, and wife, and he happily takes out the garbage, a content family man once more. No matter that this conclusion chooses to ignore glaring plot holes which suggest the entirety of humankind could be doomed at any given moment. The Tomorrow War thinks it’s doing and saying a lot more than it is, which makes its idiotic storytelling even more frustrating to sit through.

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