Cover Chris Pratt as high school teacher turned soldier Dan Forester (Photo: @thtomorrowwar/Instagram)

Chris Pratt returns to the screen with this exhilarating film about man-eating aliens and time travel

On paper, The Tomorrow War sounds like one of those fun summer flicks that would be a huge draw at the box office if it wasn't screening exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. The trailers promise plenty of guns-a-blazing action and nasty monsters bent on annihilating the human race. So while it's a pity we won't get to watch the spectacle on a big screen, it's still a massive a crowd-pleaser as evident in its 81 per cent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not a bad way to spend two hours stuck at home.

But before you do, here's what you may want to know about The Tomorrow War.

The plot is about an alien invasion in the future

Thirty years from now, mankind is fighting a losing battle with a deadly alien species. The trailer delivers an ominous message that these aliens only motivation is to eat humans ("They are hungry!"), thus making them extremely determined and dangerous. With their numbers dwindling, their only hope for survival is to bring soldiers and civilians from the past to help in the fight. 

Yes, the storyline is ludicrous and fantastical, but it's this suspension of belief that makes it a real escape from our very own pandemic problems. 

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It stars Chris Pratt and directed by Chris McKay

Pratt, as you would know, is a huge movie star with two major franchises to his name. He is Star-Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy and plays velociraptor whisperer Owen Grady in the Jurassic World. In The Tomorrow War, another potential franchise, Pratt plays high school science teacher Dan Forester who joins the army from 2051 to fight the aliens in a bid to give his young daughter a future. 

"I think the very best films in this type of genre are rooted in strong family relationships," Pratt says in an interview. "This film does focus on this character, Dan, and yes, he's a soldier and he gets pulled into the future to fight in this war, but really important are the relationships he builds and the relationships he has in his life—him being the father to a daughter, or the son to his own father."

Besides starring in it, Pratt is also the executive producer.

The director is Chris McKay, who previously worked mainly in animation including the mega-smash The Lego Movie. In choosing The Tomorrow War as his first live-action directorial feature, McKay told Variety:  "To get something that’s completely an original concept in the sci-fi space, where it’s got a budget for a big epic scope with a movie star attached to it, and has a family drama at its heart—being offered that that was like a dream come true for me."

Amazon paid top dollar for exclusivity

Amazon shelled out a rumoured sum of US$200 million for the exclusive global rights, one of the biggest deals from a streaming service. Amazon previously landed the exclusive right to screen Coming 2 America, the much-hyped sequel to the 1980s Eddie Murphy hit. 

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There's already comparison with Terminator

It could be pure coincidence but the time travelling hero to save mankind plot does bear some resemblance to sci-fi classic, Terminator

In the movie, Pratt's character uttered the words, "I will be back", which is the Terminator catchphrase. Incidentally, Pratt is the son-in-law of Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Reviews are mixed...

... but critics generally agree it's a solid actioner. Entertainment Weekly calls it "an enjoyably absurd action flick" while Vulture extols this wisdom: "Dumb but fast, loud and fun." Meanwhile, New York Times calls it "a hyperventilating sci-fi spectacle."

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