One day, American soldiers from the year 2051 suddenly materialized on the field during a World Cup match. Their leader announced to the global audience that the earth was being overrun and the human race practically decimated by deadly alien monsters called Whitespikes. They need the help of this present generation to help them eradicate the enemy. Soldiers and later drafted civilians were sent to the future to join the fight.
One of those drafted was high school Biology teacher Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), so he had to leave his wife Emily (Betty Gilpin) and little daughter Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). After making the jump into the future setting, Dan used his background as an ex-Green Beret to lead his fellow civilian draftees through their missions under their female mission commander and scientist with whom he shared the same family name, Col. Forester (Yvonne Strahovski).
The science fiction concept of the future asking help from the past to prevent their total annihilation was a very interesting one. Of course, since there is time travel involved, it ran the immense risk of plot holes about altering the whole course of history. The scriptwriter added the detail that those chosen to be sent into the future should have been dead by that time. However, when they had to bring a tech invented in the future to try and kill the aliens in the past, all logic is thrown out. But I guess we are not supposed to think too hard.
The best thing about this film was its lead actor Chris Pratt, who carried the film squarely on his shoulders. He had that assured heroic carriage that dominated the screen. We simply knew he would pull through despite all the odds (and all of the aliens) going against him, be it a gunfight in the streets of Miami Beach or the thick snow in the Russian polar cap. He also had that aura of kindness and unselfishness that made us root for him all the way, which also served him well in the sentimental family scenes.
There were some corny story elements (really, a high school volcano expert?) or cliche action scenes (letting go and falling into the abyss below again?), yes. This is really as popcorn as it gets. However, the heartwarming scenes of Dan with his daughter Muri was very cleverly woven into the story as its beating heart.
This essential aspect distinguished "The Tomorrow War" from being just one of those generic, forgettable CGI-heavy alien invasion films we've seen over and over before. Also, J.K. Simmons in a film is always a major plus.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."