The Tomorrow War Review

Posted 2021/07/08 10 0

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The Tomorrow War

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WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

Parents need to know that The Tomorrow War is a sci-fi action movie starring Chris Pratt as a man who’s sent to the future to fight a war against aliens that are on the verge of destroying humanity. Make no mistake, this is a creature feature — and the monsters are fanged, spiked, and terrifying. And the war violence is intense, with nonstop gunfire/heavy artillery, explosions, and weapons use, though it’s all shown in the context of fighting against an invasive species that’s literally eating the human race into extinction. A bloody wound is shown, as are blood smears and corpses. A married couple kisses, there’s a little drinking, and one scene has a character saying “s–t” over and over for comedic purposes (there’s also one “f–k”). Lead characters are White, but the supporting cast is more diverse. Overall, characters are from all walks of life and make positive contributions with the skills they have — including women who are assured leaders and kids who love science. Pratt’s character, Dan, is ex-military, and the story highlights the value of what he learned in the armed forces.

 

WHAT’S THE STORY?

In THE TOMORROW WAR, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is a military veteran-turned-high school teacher/father who’s recruited by time-traveling soldiers from the year 2051 to join them in fighting a war they’re currently losing against invading space aliens. Forester will have to reckon with his past in order to help save the world — and, more importantly, his daughter. As people fight back to save humanity, guns with endless bullets spray faster than it’s even possible to count.

 

IS IT ANY GOOD?

Animation director Chris McKay brings the science back to sci-fi while delivering a shoot ’em up monster movie that seems tailor-made for action fans. McKay knows kids — he’s behind The Lego Batman Movie. And he knows older teens, having directed much of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken series. His knack with comedy is also on display in The Tomorrow War, combined with other factors that will appeal to older tweens and teens. First, there’s Pratt, who’s a consistent draw, even if he isn’t quite as funny and relatable here as he is in Guardians of the Galaxy. Second, McKay uses his animation expertise to create ghastly human-eating aliens that will wow kids — just make sure they’re old enough not to have nightmares. Plus, kids are shown to be really smart, making significant contributions to the solution. And Forester is a cool high school science teacher, bringing viewers back to the classroom, where he lays the groundwork for elements that will play out later.

And make no mistake: What The Tomorrow War is really about — the message that slides in subtly underneath the movie’s splashier elements — is that what you learn in school matters and has a real-life application. In fact, at one point, the film more or less says this clearly. And hopefully kids will pick up on it, because there’s not one line of dialogue here that’s wasted. If we see someone reveal a key character trait or hear them say something, it will pay off later. Of course, a tight script doesn’t necessarily mean that the film makes sense; it definitely takes leaps in logic. It’s also too long, and it ends in a moment of preposterous ridiculousness. But teens may well not care, enjoying it for what it is: a chaotic, video game-like retaliation against an alien coup with a nice father-daughter story layered on top.

 

TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT …

  • Families can talk about the violence in The Tomorrow War. How does the fact that much of it is directed at alien creatures instead of humans affect its impact? Does changing their blood color to yellow make it less upsetting?
  • How do the characters use their individual skills to succeed as a team? Why is teamwork an important life skill?
  • How do you think you’d fare if you were suddenly dropped into a battlefield with a gun? Some experts believe that future wars will take place in the lab rather than the battlefield. How does that idea play out in the film?
  • What would you say are the movie’s takeaways? What is it trying to say about second chances?

 

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