Sunday, July 11, 2021

THE TOMORROW WAR

 


It’s on Amazon for those of you who’ve been hiding in a cave somewhere.

An army from the future shows up during World Cup finals to warn the planet of an alien invasion that will happen decades in the future. Not only that, but they come to the past to recruit soldiers to fight in the war against the aliens and prevent the extermination of the human race.

Poor Chris Pratt, with this turkey along with PASSENGERS and his JURASSIC PARK entries, seems doomed to play the lead in some of the dumbest movies ever to come out of Hollywood.

This sci-fi actioner is cobbled together from tired ideas strung together in an endless band of cliches, shallow emotional moments and lifeless action scenes. What might have been an interesting framework for an alien invasion shoot ‘em up is poorly presented with very little thought put into making its creaky high concept plot work. This is where movies have come to in the post-modern, post-pandemic, post-woke world. It even manages to blame global warming for the planet’s doom at the hands of carnivorous extraterrestrials.



You’ve all seen this so many times before, right? Act One is sprinkled with lots of characters with oddly specific areas of interest or character traits that you just KNOW, because of those quirks, will show up again in Act Three AND be pivotal to the resolution of the plot. Remember alcoholic crop-duster Randy Quaid in the equally moronic INDEPENDENCE DAY? Or Jeff Goldblum’s Olympic gymnast daughter in JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST WORLD? Only this time out there’s a half dozen of these characters who pop up for a brief moment only as set-ups for their eventual, contrived, re-appearance.

There’re many other examples of totally blinkered thinking to be had here. Like the carnivorous aliens apparent lack of appetite for petite African American women given how many of them form the command core of the future army. Does this make the aliens racist or supporters of racial equity? Or is it just pandering? It’s certainly not diversity as the entire cast is made up of either white or black Americans. Apparently, the alien invaders choose from the Latin and Asian portions of the menu first.

 


The aliens themselves have nothing really clever, new, or surprising about them. Some producer thought that the more appendages they had the better so there’s lots of limbs they flail about as well as some that fire projectiles at about the same rate as a semi-automatic rifle. I’m surprised they didn’t shoot flame out of their butts or grenades from their nostrils.

And how exactly did a land-based species of predators wrest control of the planet from the human race in only a matter of years despite the fact that every nation is allied against them? This alliance, BTW, entirely falls apart within the span of a week for no other reason than to provide an excuse for our cast of heroes to go rogue in the final act.

Seriously, a species (ours) that used sticks and rocks to become the dominant lifeform on the planet, can’t take care of a horde of galloping beasties with all our vast array of weaponry and total air superiority?

The imponderables arise with a dizzying rapidity as the main conceits of the film are contradicted and violated at every opportunity for the sake of plot development or lame attempts to create dramatic tension. I’ll detail a few here…

SPOILERS AHEAD!




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The most jaw-droppingly inane aspect of this film is the creation of the story’s main MacGuffin, the creation of a toxin that will kill the hungry critters dead. Of course, the research into finding this superweapon reaches its crux at mankind’s darkest hour. It’s one of Hollywood’s hoariest tropes. “We’ve got to get that serum through!”

What makes this particular plot element an historic low point in cinema history is how later events in the film (like three minutes later) make the creation of the toxin irrelevant. And yet, the MacGuffin is still kept on board as a major plot point. Not only that, but the ticking clock introduced in the second act becomes irrelevant as well. Instead of hours in which to act, the heroes literally have a decade in which to save the human race from extinction and yet ignore this reprieve in order to try and pump some suspense into the tedious, explosion-laden climax the lazy filmmakers have conceived.



And, as an aside, if you did come up with a sure-fire poison to knock off a bajillion deadly monsters crawling all over the planet, would you really administer it in the form of an injection? Wouldn’t an aerosol have been a better delivery system? Was the CDC consulted? Is that what happened? Did Dr, Fauci suggest going door to door?

Also, don’t get me started on how yet another action epic reduces itself to a drama about abandonment issues. I swear, the only emotional component that seems to touch the flinty heart of Hollywood producers always has to do with either divorce or custody issues. How many movies have you seen where the unfairly wronged Good Dad has to redeem himself in the eyes of his children? How often is our studly hero as consumed with making to his son’s soccer game or his daughter’s recital as he is with saving the free world from destruction? It’s as if the entertainment moguls have reduced all human drama to an argument in the car on the way to drop off the kids. “The world is ending, and you still forgot my birthday!”



I could go on, but I won’t.

Anyway, it’s not hard to see why the original studio abandoned this feature and were only too happy to unload it on  a streaming service with an odious track record for selecting projects. Honestly, this movie serves as a prime (get it?) example of how Amazon sees its consumers. They believe that we’ll buy anything so long as they can push it to the top of the list hard enough. Well, a turd is a turd no matter how many times they send me emails about it.




8 comments:

  1. The contemporary Hollywoodite has never actually seen the mythical creature called 'the audience'. They can only assume they're troglodytes who work for a living, otherwise they'd live in giant condos and live hedonistic lives like 'normal' people.

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  2. The book was so much better.

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  3. huh. Well, action films as a general rule are pretty suspect to me in general. Action on its own account is ultimately just boring--i could spend 5 minutes on a roller coaster ride and have the same thrill--and Chuck is correct in noting that tropes are tropes. Movies and tv series are pretty atrocious at telegraphing later story developments in such obvious ways

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  4. I agreed with every point you made about this movie. It’s simply not good. Reviewers keep complaining about the wrong things.

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