By JAKE COYLE
AP Film Writer
The time-traveling “The Tomorrow War,” set largely in an alien apocalypse future, is a kind of throwback.
Summer sci-fi spectacles like this — a sprawling, slightly sloppy, sometimes serious, often knowingly ridiculous extravaganza — aren’t quite the regular commodity they once were. “The Tomorrow War” isn’t as silly as Will Smith’s “Independence Day,” but, just the same, it’s Chris Pratt’s chance to punch some aliens.
Pratt, star and executive producer of “The Tomorrow War,” used his box-office muscle to push forward the film, directed by Chris McKay and scripted by Zach Dean. Originally intended for theaters, McKay’s film got sucked into a future shock of its own during the pandemic and was sold to Amazon. It debuts on Prime Video this Friday. “The Tomorrow War” is by no means the first popcorn movie to go straight to the home, but it’s still one of the popcorn-iest.
For those looking for that kind of summer-movie escape, “The Tomorrow War” should fit the bill. It’s tonally scattered and massively implausible. But in movies with aliens, time loops and machine guns, those are more features than bugs.
Pratt stars as Dan Forester, a military veteran turned high-school science teacher. He and his wife, Emmy (Betty Gilpin) have a young daughter named Muri (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). The world, though, gets a rude interruption when, in the middle of a televised soccer game (presumably because “The Dark Knight Rises” already did cataclysm in a football stadium), a portal opens on the field and out walks futurist soldiers with a message: In 30 years, an alien invasion will consume the world. To defeat the “white spikes,” as the voracious invaders are called, they need help from past. They need to send fresh recruits to the battle through a time link that only goes back and forth from the present to three decades ahead.