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The Tomorrow War

“We are food. And they are hungry.”

“They” are some fierce and ugly aliens who are threatening to destroy human life in the new Amazon movie The Tomorrow War. That’s why Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) leaves his family behind to jump ahead in time. To help save the world.

Among the things to like about The Tomorrow War: A diverse cast. A respect for scientists. Snowmobiles. Betty Gilpin (as Dan’s wife). Family generational drama. Good pacing. And… the audience is not kept waiting too long to actually see those creepy creatures.

Forester is at a Christmas party in December 2022 watching a World Cup soccer match when soldiers from the future fly in to the stadium and interrupt the game to solicit support from the entire world. Their “cry for help across time” is answered by a joint effort of all nations.

(Wait, what? The World Cup at Christmas time? Actually, yes. Since the 2022 World Cup will be played in Qatar, the event is set to run from mid-November to mid-December. So they got that right.)

Dan is drafted. He visits his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) to see if dad can help him avoid the war. That doesn’t work out, so Dan (a vet who served in Iraq back in the 00’s) joins a group of citizens to jump ahead to 2051. At that point, the worldwide population is less than 500,000 and things don’t look good for humanity.

Time travel can be a confusing mess as a plot device. In The Tomorrow War it’s simplified: from 2051 to 2022 and back again. No variations. That’s it. (Not so tricky to keep up with as, say, the movie Tenet.)

After Dan and comrades ascend skyward a la the Rapture, they jump ahead and descend on a devastated Miami. (Unfortunate setting choice given the recent condo tragedy.) The action begins quickly as they pursue, then elude the aliens, grabbing vital vials from a research lab as they go.

After a female creature is captured, a scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) creates a toxin that figures to take the aliens down. But only if Dan can go back in time, produce enough of the toxin and then jump back to the future to wipe out the aliens.

But after he returns to 2022, the time travel mechanism stops working and other actions must be taken.

The face-offs with the aliens are intense. The settings (especially that ocean facility that looks like a gigantic oil drilling platform) look good. And Chris Pratt, the erstwhile Star Lord of the Galaxy and velociraptor handler at Jurassic World, as the everyday guy who gets a shot at being a hero, is an ideal choice for the lead role. Strap in and stream some action via Amazon.

Chris McKay who did the Lego Batman Movie directed The Tomorrow War. The script is by Zach Dean. Rated PG-13.

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