The Tomorrow War

What is the movie about? :: From a distant future of war and destruction, we come back to December 2022, as a biology teacher and Iraq War veteran, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt), is highly disappointed during the Christmas season, as he fails in his dream, which was to get a job at a research center. As he watched the FIFA World Cup with his family at a Christmas party, he was shocked to see a few soldiers from thirty years into future arrive in the middle of the ground. They warn everyone that humanity is facing extinction while facing a group of aliens unless they get some help for this timeline. The world’s militaries respond with drafting, and a huge number of well-trained people are sent into the future, but less than 20% survive, and there is always the need for more people to be sent to future. There are lots of rebellions against the war, because people feel that they are going to die anyway, and there is no need to finish one’s life much earlier. Everyone is depressed because there is the clear idea that it is the alien group that is going to win in the end, and there is no real hope related to that.

And what more is to follow? :: As the hope remains low, there is not much that there is left to be done, but the drafting goes on, and Dan is also chosen to fight in the war of the future. His family is not happy with what has happened, and his wife Emmy Forester (Betty Gilpin) hopes that he can find a way to bypass the drafting with the help of his father James Forester (JK Simmons), a former veteran soldier who has turned an anti-government activist after the Vietnam War. But he has to go anyway, and joins the team which is undergoing basic training under the troops from the future. But there is an emergency as there is an attack going on in the future, and without any further training which was to last about seven days, they are sent forward in time to Miami Beach but the coordinates get messed up, with most of the members of the team dying. Soon, they are ordered by Colonel Forester (Yvonne Strahovski) to rescue the nearby lab personnel and recover their research data before the area is bombed for clearance from alien infestation.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The team does manage to complete the mission, and they barely escape from the situation. Charlie (Sam Richardson), a techie, and Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a third time traveler into the future are the two survivors who are able to make it to the camp. Now, there is a lot to be done in a future, which seems to point towards human extinction, and the alien control over the planet one way or the other. In the new world of the future, they have to capture a female alien, and the types are rarer than the males which are basically everywhere. As they are living in a future where there are not many safe areas, with most of the continents already infested by the creatures which have reproduced enough to limit the human activity to certain areas, a research into causing the aliens to go extinct instead of humanity is a near possible adventure. The question also remains if there is a future that they can save, and if all these are worth the pain which they take.

The defence of The Tomorrow War :: There is an interesting future in store within The Tomorrow War, as this film with both aliens and time travel have you interested in the science fiction elements yet again. This is a combination which has worked really well before, with films like Edge of Tomorrow, working so well with the audience – being in a tomorrow with a war going on against aliens is a fair deal as far as any sci-fi fan is concerned. There is a lot of action in store here, and the alien detail is nice, even though having similarities with the Alien franchise which we have been missing since Prometheus and Alien Covenant, two films which had us asking for more. The visuals of the future Earth is also very nicely detailed, and the destroyed cities make us want to have more battles with aliens out there. The post-apocalyptic side of the film remains strong, thanks to all the action and the special effects, with the visuals never ceasing to remain stunning. This one can also have a prequel about the coming of the aliens, and maybe bring a franchise into motion.

Positives and negatives :: This is the kind of film which could have scenes which the Russian movie The Blackout had in its early stages, and that particular flick’s first half could actually be one interesting prequel to this one, with connections being made to the colder areas of Russia. There was surely scope for more terrifying sequences with aliens. To add to it, the pseudo-intellectuals can always find a reason to blame this film, but I am yet to discover what exactly would be their reason this time, for they have all randomly bashed Hollywood action films which were nothing less than grand. After all, it is not easy to make a film like this, and if Bollywood would try anything close, they can do nothing else than mess it up completely, with a long line of cast which is there in the name of nepotism instead of skills and quality. There are a few things which can be predicted here, and some of them come naturally to us, and not as surprises. There could have also been a few sequences about the missing years of alien attack, and a clearly defined theory about what has happened with the aliens.

Performers of the soul :: Chris Pratt whom we had last seen in Avengers: Endgame and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets to save the world again, and this time against the aliens. We could be having another Guardians of the Galaxy or Jurassic World in his usual roles, but this one has indeed established another memorable action role for him. Yvonne Strahovski is very much suitable to action flicks and thrillers, as we have seen before with The PredatorI, Frankenstein and Angel of Mine. But her presence in the future feels kind of restricted. Betty Gilpin has very less to do in comparison. JK Simmons has some nice moments to be added in the end. Others like Edwin Hodge and Sam Richardson are good additions to this kind of a movie. Others like Mary Lynn Rajskub, and and Seychelle Gabriel also have limited presence, but one would want them to have extended roles to play here. The film could have expanded rather than keeping its focus into the personal side in an alien invasion situation which is moving towards human extinction as well as the end of the world as we know it.

How it finishes :: The Tomorrow War will remind the audience of Edge of Tomorrow, even though the core idea remains different, and the film lacks someone like Emily Blunt in its full run. There is no denial of the fact that the film is complete entertainment, and you don’t really need to listen to some self-proclaimed great critics who write for some newspapers – they are more interested in providing lower reviews to science fiction in comparison to Bollywood nonsense as most of them are not able to understand the idea or enjoy the grandeur on the screen. You can only guess who impressive this would have been on the big screen, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the kind of films which can stun us with what is displayed on the screen with the special effects and maybe even a little bit of 3D effects. As of now, it seems that it is better for us to remember that feeling and enjoy the film on a laptop with Amazon Prime Video. After all, we are all restricted in that case, but not restricted as far as enjoying action-packed science fiction is concerned.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Betty Gilpin, JK Simmons, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Vampire Owl: I was never a fan of the original Independence Day.

Vampire Bat: I have never really found the reason why it was so much liked during those days.

Vampire Owl: Some movies just get to be lucky for no reason.

Vampire Bat: I watched that movie a few years after it released as I had read that it was so good and collected so much. There was certain disappointment after watching it for sure.

Vampire Owl: I will never understand these people who keep overrating things.

Vampire Bat: I felt that the computer virus idea was the worst.

Vampire Owl: I got a feeling that it is disrespectful to the aliens too.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that the aliens might attack us soon?

Vampire Owl: If they watch that movie, I am sure that they would.

Vampire Bat: I am going to add this to the vampire alert list.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Twenty years have passed after the devastating alien attack on Earth. Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), with the help of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) had done the impossible by defeating the aliens who used such superior technology that the end of humanity felt so near. There were lessons learnt from those alien attacks, and humans remain more united than ever before. With everyone trying to learn from their mistakes, the United Nations had set up the Earth Space Defense (ESD), which is a global defense and research program meant to use the alien technology which they had left on Earth, and use it warn the human world of the danger from outer space, as well as use the same to fight these creatures. Most people believe that they are ready to face an attack in a better way, but there are a few others who think that the worst is yet to come.

So, what happens next? :: Even though most people don’t think that future is safe, and aliens are done attacking, the doubts of the others are proven to be truth, as it is discovered that the aliens before losing the battle had sent a distress signal to their home world. With some fear spreading about the situation, a spherical alien object seen near the Moon is attacked by the Earth’s defences despite the protests of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who thinks that it is not of the same alien creatures, as the thing seems to be different. Their doubts are proven to be true, but then there is the original alien mothership which follows and gets back to doing what it does the best – bringing chaos and destruction, as it lands over the North Atlantic Ocean and starts drilling. Earth is once again caught on the backfoot, and now humans have to find a way to repeat what they did on a July 4th, twenty years ago – but is it going to happen this time too?

The defence of Independence Day: Resurgence :: You can see a lot of action here, with visuals being spectacular, and the chaos and destruction remains beautiful as you would expect in a movie like this. The improvement that this movie has on its predecessor is a lot especially for me, as even though I had watch that movie as a child, I never even came close to consider it as a good movie. So, this sequel is essential, to make everyone realize how dumb the original movie, was and how easy it is to make something like that these days, and here we have some nice additions which make this one a lot better. Well, it is not easy not like at least something about this movie, as long as you are not determined to save the Will Smith starrer – the one flick about which everyone is prejudiced. Some may think that you can’t blame them though, as Will Smith has had that kind of an effect in so many movies for the fans.

The claws of flaw :: There is that essence of the original movie which stays with this one, and never does it try to bring something that would bring it a new identity separate from the previous alien movies. It will not match the Alien movies including its own Prometheus and Covenant, or even Life, coming nowhere close. We have so many others including Pacific Rim and Edge of Tomorrow. There has been something intellectual or terrifying on display with alien movies making the genre better, but that seems to be of no concern of Independence Day: Resurgence. The movie actually doesn’t try that hard either. There is no memorable dialogues in this one, and there will not be many moments which will stay in our memory for long, as going different is not the key here. Independence Day: Resurgence is not going to make it to any list about the best movies concerning anything, and neither is it going to be among the big alien invasion flicks. There might have been the chance here, but the movie decides not to grow up that much.

How it finishes :: Working on the dumb movie on which it is based and brings the sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence makes things better unlike what the critics think about it. You will see that a lot of people like the first movie just because it would make them look cool, and it is more of how they follow the trend – say that the original was so good and the sequel or reboot doesn’t have that much life; it has become a rather stylish thing to do. The truth is that I have never been a fan of Independence Day, and felt that it is one of the most overrated movies in history, and undoubtedly the most overrated alien invasion flick that one can ever watch. Without being rated that high, watching Independence Day: Resurgence is rather a safe option – everyone says that it is not like the first movie, and if it is so, there is a good chance that it is better than that blockbuster without even a tiny bit of brain.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: I am recommending the destruction of this portal which connects the two worlds.

Vampire Bat: I do not think that you have the power to make such elder recommendations.

Vampire Owl: Still, these aliens just can’t be managed. We have to stay safe.

Vampire Bat: The undead are more powerful than living aliens, at any point.

Vampire Owl: The undead power! But what about their advanced weapons?

Vampire Bat: Well, we are strong even without them, and nothing stands against the power of having risen from the grave.

Vampire Owl: Nothing confuses me more than these separate worlds beyond the portals. Our realm is rather easy to follow.

Vampire Bat: There is no need for such confusion. We are adding a new course about it, and you can learn the whole thing in one and half years.

Vampire Owl: Do I get to watch alien movies as part of the course?

Vampire Bat: Yes, most of them, and there will be no Independence Day. But for this movie, there is scope to bring a bigger sequel considering how the final moments have been going.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie T. Usher, Travis Tope, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, Patrick St Esprit, Angelababy, Vivica A Fox, Nicolas Wright, Deobia Oparei, Travis Tope, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Ng Chin Han, John Storey, Joey King, Jenna Purdy, James A Woods, Robert Neary, Garrett Wareing, Hays Wellford, Mckenna Grace

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Arrival

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Vampire Owl: We are all awaiting their grand arrival, sometimes without even closing our eyes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t understand. Who exactly are you talking about? There are no names on this guest book for quite some time. If this is an unofficial meeting coming up, you will still have to inform Uncle Dracula through the telepathic connection.

Vampire Owl: The ones who shall not be named, those whom nobody shall dare to name.

Vampire Bat: If you can’t name then, I won’t be able to wait for them. It makes no sense at all.

Vampire Owl: It is because you are a man without faith. It makes you spiritually poor.

Vampire Bat: I have more faith than you and your brainless zombie minions combined.

Vampire Owl: Well, the beautifully carved tombstones at my favourite cemetery has better faith.

Vampire Bat: This does make me wonder what you mean by the words “faith” and “arrival”.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, you can take some lessons from this movie.

Vampire Bat: Movies with messages and lessons are the best. Let us see how this one goes.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special samosas].

What is the movie about? :: A linguist, Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is teaching at the university when she hears an alarm. Twelve alien spacecrafts have landed on Earth, at Maracay in Venezuela, Montana in the United States, Kujalleq in Greenland, Devon in the United Kingdom, Kenema in Sierra Leone, Khartoum in Sudan, Punjab in Pakistan, Siberia in Russia, Hokkaido in Japan, Shanghai in China, and also in the Black Sea and the Indian Ocean. The United States Army Colonel G.T. Weber (Forest Whitaker) contacts Louise to help the nation and the planet Earth as a whole by joining a team which includes people specialised in different fields including a theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner). The idea is to understand the reason behind the arrival of the aliens.

So, what happens next? :: At a military camp in Montana near one of the spaceships, the military look forward to knowing if the aliens are really hostile, or are they just trying to make peace with the humans. This can only be done by entering the spaceship at a certain point of time, coming face to face with the creatures. The aliens are nicknamed by the group as “heptapods” due to having seven legs, and the team starts making contact with them. The language of the aliens is something which corresponds to nothing else, as they write some strange circular symbols on the glass which separated them and the humans. Louise puts in a big effort to understand what these symbols mean by connecting them to the basic vocabulary.

What follows the arrival :: Louise also seems to have visions of her daughter at the same time, and it seems to connect with her process of knowing the new language. The nations and their leaders become restless as time passes, and all the spacecrafts remain at the same place without moving an inch. With the curiosity at its peak, the answer from the aliens on what they want seems to be “offer weapon” which alerts all countries. There is the fear of an upcoming threat from the aliens with some new advanced weapons, and some nations even mobilise their military as if to defend against a potential attack. China takes it one step further, as it gets ready to attack the aliens from its territory, and asks other world leaders to do the same. But Louise is convinced that there is something more to this alien arrival – what can it be? Can she stop a war?

The defence of Arrival :: We might have seen many alien invasion movies, but Arrival is the flick that successfully thinks differently with the basic idea. It is science fiction, and it has creatures from other planet, but it so close to life; it is something that not many movies of the same genre will find difficult to achieve. There is also a lot of beauty on screen, and the performances that support the whole thing. The feeling of a possible disaster runs throughout the movie, but there seems to be not more than one explosion in the whole movie. Amy Adams remains the big strong point of the movie, and along with Nocturnal Animals, this is another movie in which she scores amazingly high. Between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the upcoming Justice League, she has got two perfect movies in there. Jeremy Renner and the visuals nicely compliment the same.

The claws of flaw :: A lot of people are certain to find Arrival to be kind of slow for their liking. There are too many things happening in this movie, and a lot of them are emotional, plus there is almost no big action sequence or destruction which people expect from these type of movies. Don’t judge this movie by the positive or negative opinions though, as Arrival is a kind of personal experience which needs the movie to be watched. It is also a little bit too philosophical – even though it is not that bad, that feeling is not there throughout the flick. A quicker pace, and a more twisted revealing of the surprise would have helped better too, but as this is based on a short story, it is up-to those who have read the tale to make a better analysis inside. The movie could have also been darker in its theme along with speeding up things. I am also sure that people would have expected more considering how the first half was going.

How it finishes :: Based on a science fiction short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang which had won the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella and the 1999 Sturgeon Award, Arrival might be the alien movie and the science fiction flick which you might have been waiting for, with a desire to concentrate less on action. It has won eight OScar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards as we look at them – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. Well, if these are not reasons enough to make you watch this movie, one has to wonder what else would have. I would wish for a nomination for Amy Adams for the Best Actress too, with this one and Nocturnal Animals too, but we can’t get them all, can we?

Release date: 11th November 2016
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma, Mark O’Brien

arrival

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.