By Arré Bench Jul. 02, 2021
Amazon Prime Video’s The Tomorrow War is one of those rare sci-fi action films that has it all – an emotional core, a fascinating time-travel twist, gruesome enemies and yet a reassuringly human heart.
Action movies are everyone’s go-to binge-watch material. Primarily because they offer unparalleled thrill and are powered by an emphasis on entertainment. In return they only demand a leap of faith and an open mind prepared to absorb both the wondrous and the absurd. Sci-fi action films have become such forces of nature they spawn not just franchises but years’ worth of fan-theories, analysis and deep reading.
It’s the ability to awe and baffle the audience that makes a good sci-fi action film stand the test of time. It’s not just about the gung-ho action, you also need to get your characters, your script, the tone and most importantly your pseudo-science right. Amazon Prime Video’s The Tomorrow War, is a glowing example of a film that gets all its variables right – from the action to its humbling existentialism. Here are five reasons that make The Tomorrow War a complete action entertainer:
A fascinating sci-fi angle to the war
True to its name, The Tomorrow War is indeed about a war between humans and alien life. What’s fascinating about this very basic and tried premise is that in this particular case this war is fought across timelines, by people alive in the present, for the sake of a tomorrow. Time travel, who doesn’t want to see some of that? Not only is it clever but it also provides some of the key plot points over the course of the film.
People, a certain age, are recruited by humans in the future, because apparently a large amount of humanity has been wiped out by alien infiltrators. To build that army then, the future must look back at the past and appeal to everyone’s good sense to fight to save their own futures. It’s easier said than done, and it throws up a fair share of complications, not to mention endless theories. But that’s really the charm of a good sci-fi film, it leaves you guessing even after the end.
Pitting common people against the unknown
Most people recruited to fight for humanity in The Tomorrow War are your commoners – people who work 9 to 5 jobs until they are asked to pick up a gun and fight the likelihood of their own elimination. Most action films are so obsessed with the idea of the buxom, toned protagonist they usually end up looking like a modelling line-up.
The Tomorrow War, on the other hand, throws the formula out of the window and brings in the average Joe to be part of the team. There is also a metaphor here if you’d like to read it that way. That humanity’s saviours aren’t built in gyms and trained by militaries alone. Come the time, everyone may need to pitch in and do their bit, gun-in-hand or without it. Incredibly it’s the scientists and PhD’s leading the fight in The Tomorrow War, telling us anyone can be a hero, as long as they are willing.
The sheer breathlessness of the action
One of the key strengths of the film is that once the action starts rolling, you are in the middle of the missions, there is little time to catch your breath. People are stacked up against the odds to the point that they can barely catch a nap or even let the battle be off of their minds.
From nightmare sequences down winding staircases, to planes bombing cities and helicopters whirring drunkenly before audaciously crashing into the trees, there are sequences that just take your breath away. Thankfully the film doesn’t moon over the grandiosity of its scale or the effectiveness of its action. It moves on from one chaotic yet masterfully created action sequence to the other, so much so, you might have to pause at times to fully take in the audacity of some of them.
A brutal, insurmountable enemy
For decades the greatest filmmakers of the world have tried to imagine the alien life-form. Some even mime them for comedy and telling innately human stories. But most see them as violent infiltrators who will, should we ever get to the point, engage humanity only through conflict. These are arbitrary creations with imagination as the only marker for a fair comparison.
To which point the alien organisms in The Tomorrow War aren’t just hideously terrifying, but also principally outrageously demonic. They are here, on earth, for the simple purpose of eating everything that looks like meat. That simple. “We are food, and they are hungry” a character says, in the film, pointing to the diplomatic hopelessness of the situation at hand. A brutal, man-eating enemy that you can’t argue with. It will surely give you the chills.
Love, laughs and some life in the end
Action movies have to eventually be redemptive in some way or the other. The cloud of dread and misery must ultimately make way for hope and reconciliation. There are a few harsh lessons along the way, sure, but a good action film always covers its losses, however painful. That said, The Tomorrow War isn’t just about the redemptive climax, it is in fact, littered with an amicability and profoundness that may well be elusive even today.
Love, relationships, fear and loss all make for this thoroughly otherworld experience, one of our own. At the end of the day it’s about that connect, and The Tomorrow War instantly establishes one where most viewers might deem it unlikely.
Catch this rare sci-fi action packed movie, The Tomorrow War now streaming on Amazon Prime Video