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.

Aarkkariyam

What is the movie about? :: Ittyavira (Biju Menon) is a retired mathematics teacher who is spending his time alone in a village in the district of Kottayam. At the same time, his daughter Shirley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and her second husband Roy (Sharafudheen) are living in Andheri, Mumbai, and are planning to come back to Kerala after some time, despite the COVID-19 restrictions being further imposed everywhere. The coming of Corona has kept all of them in their own space, without much contact with outside world, and the spread of Corona virus had also brought some financial crisis to Roy and Shirley. The former’s business was already failing and there is no success in mutual fund either. The two manage to come all the way to Kerala to Shirley’s hometown and meet Ittyvira, who is really happy to see them. But they are also not able to meet their daughter, as the borders are closed. They apply for permission, but soon, a nation-wide lock-down is imposed, and they are all stuck there in their home in the village.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The lock-down changes their lives by a long way, and the restrictions reach their place too. The already interior home now feels even more away from civilization. This is the time when people were only beginning to understand the COVID-19 situation, and everyone was expecting all these problems to be solved as the virus would eradicated in the end of lock-down. One of the consignments of Roy is now stuck with the customs, and without that, there is nothing much that can be done. Now, the only way to get some quick money so that they can pay back Vyshak (Saiju Kurup) is by selling the ancestral lands, and it is Ittyvira who provides them that idea. But there are some complications related to the same, as there seems to be some secrets from the past which need to be taken care of. Roy begins to feel uncomfortable about the same, but there is nothing that he can do, other than worry about the same.

The defence of Aarkkariyam :: Aarkkariyam would seem to be a usual film in a village setting, but it is surely more than that – we get the idea only later though. Every moment in this movie nicely contributes to keep it going, and it is not that long either with each second in there used in an interesting manner. It does have that fine punch at the interval, something that makes the film take another route from the second half. The title itself is a worthy one here, as we keep wondering who all knows about a number of things including a sinister event and a person who was involved in the same. The performance of the three main characters elevates the film further, and the supporting cast is also interesting. The surroundings are nicely created, and the feeling of Pala-Kanjirappilly area is given with the rural touch everywhere, from the people to the environment. The film also focuses on the different opinions that different people would have about one person, and how polarized the same happens to be – how one can pretend to be good among the common people.

The claws of flaw :: Aarkkariyam is not the kind of movie which you would expect, as it has a certain deviation in store there. It is also slow at times, and there are lots of moments when nothing happens, even though they do contribute to the mood. There is also the presence of some usual cliché stuff here, but the same will go on and pass. Even if it feels like family drama, it doesn’t suit into that genre completely, and one would have doubt about the kind of audience it is actually looking for – even though we can keep it for the common audience in general. A little bit more of the moments in Mumbai and their return to hometown as well as a few twists in between would have helped more, even if it would deviate further away from the genre. It was an opportunity for something more, and there was the chance to be a classic, but the film manages to keep it going straight and without adding any special ingredient into it – maybe because there was the feeling that it was not needed, like Kungfu Panda would agree.

The performers of the soul :: This movie, as expected has Biju Menon with a performance to remember, and that too with a different kind of work. He has embraced this role like Vijayaraghavan did, as he moved from the usual kind of hero to the senior roles. Much elder to Biju Menon, he would be the one we would expect in a role like this, something which he has done in earlier films, but not as the protagonist like we see here. We know that other older superstars are still playing the characters of lower age group, but Biju Menon has had the courage to take it to the next level. If we remember his last few films, we will see that this difference in looks has come unexpected, and by a long way. Even as everything is kept simple about the character, there is always something to remember with this act. There are also those simple dialogues will stay, and sometimes come back – it is one realistic performance to remember as we look at it.

Further performers of the soul :: The movie is indeed about Biju Menon, but others do play their part too. Parvathy Thiruvothu once again has a role to remember, as she blends in here nicely, just like she has done so many times with ease not limited to her most appreciated performances in Uyare, Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. She does get pushed to the background though, as the film progresses. It is also nice to see Sharafudheen in a serious role this time. We have been so much used to see him in those comic roles, except for that villainy in Varathan and the psychotic side in Anjaam Pathira, but those were kind of exaggerated when we have a look back – this is really a fine change here from the early comic side in Premam and the same later in Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela. The two match with their performances, and the cast has worked really well. Saiju Kurup plays the supporting role in the usual kind of way, but could have been part of more of the action too. Shoba Mohan is the only person here who gives the feeling that we have seen the person before.

How it finishes :: The first movie directed by cinematographer Sanu John Varghese is not something that we can leave behind. This is the kind of movie which I would have surely watched in the theatre early enough, if there was no COVID-19. It was a good decision to release this one on Amazon Prime Video along with Neestream, Roots Video and Cave OTT platforms because most of us were always going to watch it on Prime Video only – it is still difficult to find the movie there because of the spelling required to be exactly as it is when searching, and surprisingly it is also not on the list of the new film releases on Amazon. But we do get to it anyway, and during this time of lock-down and triple lock-down in Kerala, this is the kind of movie that reminds us of last year’s lock-down exactly as it is, and it is more or less a realistic experience that we go through – the kind which we had seen in Joji, and also in Nayattu even though this one keeps the thriller side at a distance.

Release date: 1st April 2021 (Theatre), 19th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video, Neestream, Roots Video, Cave)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sanu John Varghese
Starring: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen, Arya Salim, Ganga G Nair, Saiju Kurup, Thejaswi Praveen, Shoba Mohan, Jacob George, Pramod Veliyanad

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

<— Click here to go to the previous Malayalam film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous superstar film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wonder Woman 1984

Vampire Owl: It has been too long since we wanted to watch Wonder Woman.

Vampire Bat: I thought that we wanted to watch Black Widow more.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that too, but this is a sequel, and we will end up forgetting the first film.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is like we have almost completely forgotten Avengers too.

Vampire Owl: Nobody forgets the Avengers.

Vampire Bat: Everybody forgets everyone, not just Avengers. It is only a matter of time.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have their memories towards eternity.

Vampire Bat: Not at all vampires. There are levels.

Vampire Owl: Levels like in Super Mario?

Vampire Bat: Not exactly. But existence for a long period of time matters.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Group in Washington DC, and in a flashback, we see that when she was little, she had taken a shortcut to win a tournament among the Amazons. There, Antiope (Robin Wright), the general of the Amazon Army had told her there are no shortcuts, and everything has to achieved with honesty, and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of Themyscira had agreed on the same. Even though Diana is doing the usual kind of job in the 1980s, she is also going through the superhero stuff. In the same city, Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig) lives, and as a new recruit to The Smithsonian, meets Diana. Barbara is not popular at all, and she feels that nobody likes her. People usually walk around her as if she doesn’t exist, and she is highly disappointed about that kind of treatment with even her name being forgotten.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Barbara becomes friends with Diana very soon, and they notice one item, a stone that contains a Latin inscription which claimed to grant the holder one wish. Barbara wishes that she becomes as good as Diana in all ways, while Diana wishes that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back to her. They see both wishes being fulfilled very soon, as Barbara finds herself stronger and sharper, as well as liked by everyone around her – she finds out that even her body structure has undergone some change, and she is no longer the clumsy person she used to be, along with finding herself able to lift heavy objects. At the same time, Steve has returned as his soul has possessed another man (Kristoffer Polaha) whose original form can be seen in the mirror reflections. The confusion of entering a new world is with Steve, but with Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) trying to get that stone, it will be the least of their problems.

The defence of Wonder Woman 1984 :: We do feel that the original essence of Wonder Woman is maintained up to an extent, even though it is indeed faded when do a comparison with the previous film. There are some fine action sequences, even though we should have had more grandeur. The best fight is the one in the White House, and showing the helplessness of superheroes making connection with the audience works most of the time. It manages to keep its level high enough among the other DC movies if we make more comparisons with more. The characters in the film are nicely linked with the tale’s progress, and how it finally sets things well for a possible sequel later. There is the message that goes against selfish motive, and going for your desire without thinking about others – against those people who are completely into their ambitions as if people around them do not matter. The setting of 1980s also work really well, and there is a lot of background here that works nicely.

The claws of flaw :: A movie on Wonder Woman can always be better, and there is no doubt about it, for we know what happened in the first film. There could have been more fight scenes around here, and the action could have been bigger. The last fight with the two characters in strange costumes makes things rather weird instead of making everything better in quality. Cheetah should have been a case of terror much earlier as the only character worthy of giving a fight, and should have really had a costume to go with the villainy. The fun that superhero movies usually have, and the dark side that the DC films have had, are not here to make the impact on both sides. The film only gets more and more predictable in its run, and its more and more so by the end. There are moments when CGI doesn’t look that good, especially when the protagonist in the air. There are moments when the movie also feels stretched, and this time even the cameo between credits feel unnecessary.

Performers of the soul :: Gal Gadot, as we always know does remain the strength of the movie, even though there is the feeling of tiredness here in comparison to original Wonder Woman and Justice League. She manages this role very well, as we would expect her too, and the feeling that Wonder Woman brings is different from Marvel’s Captain Marvel – a feeling which is not always easy to manage, but is done really well here. Among these lady superheroes, the gap between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is rather too high, with latter as a character is not the person we love. Kristen Wiig does make a pretty good villain character as she handles the spirit, but not much of a Cheetah that we had expected, despite the first half of the movie had her nicely set, even though in a predictable manner. Pedro Pascal does well as the villain who causes the big trouble. Chris Pine returns, but despite everyone having needed the same, this is short-lived.

How it finishes :: This version of Wonder Woman doesn’t match up to the original, and that point is made clear very early into the movie itself. Well, we are sure that it is not possible to match the skill of Marvel here, but we did expect an exception in this case, which didn’t happen though. There was the chance of making some great action sequences here, but they are limited, and Cheetah itself could have been further grand. When we consider the grand scheme about the last movie, this one surely trails behind. But with the entertainment that the movie provides, it is always nice to have another superhero during these times of trouble. The film also has its moments, and we get this on Amazon Prime Video at a time when we are in lockdown. During these times of COVID-19, stay at home, and thus stay safe. After all, entertainment keeps more people at home than anything else. At the same time, let us hope for a better tomorrow.

Release date: 16th December 2020 (United Kingdom), 25th December 2020 (United States), 15th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.