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The Tomorrow War

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery with Hollywood flattering other movies for decades. Films appear which seem very familiar as bits of what made others so successful put into a story’s narrative. ‘The Tomorrow War’ is one of those films. A bit of ‘Alien’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ and especially the ‘Terminator’ series, ‘The Tomorrow War’ puts these pieces together like a jigsaw with originality barely seen.

Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) is a biology teacher and former soldier feeling lost. Although happily married with a daughter, Dan attempts to find more life focus. He receives this in an unexpected way when soldiers from the future arrive warning of a devastating alien invasion. Called up to protect earth, Dan travels to the future where his perspective is swiftly changed. What he sees changes his life as he battles the evil invaders and secures a future for all.

‘The Tomorrow War’ is the type of film you see on a rainy day when you don’t want to think much. Whilst it attempts to have its characters go through an emotional journey, the weak writing and direction work against it. That isn’t to say ‘The Tomorrow War’ is terrible, just bland. Pratt is always a watchable presence but even he can’t enliven a humdrum script. The cast equip themselves well in the action scenes but the patchwork nature of the story finds the film moving in fits and starts than constant movement.

The most fun to be had watching ‘The Tomorrow War’ is seeing how many other films it rips off. There’s quite a few as it lurches towards its fiery conclusion. ‘The Tomorrow War’ isn’t too memorable, just something you enjoy while it’s on then forget when it’s over. The creature designs and CGI are the main stand outs and when it does work, ‘The Tomorrow War’ can be exciting. Overall it’s hampered by a lack of momentum and mediocre creative forces behind the scenes whose lack of passion for the movie is noticeable.

‘The Tomorrow War’ is a great film but it isn’t terrible either. It has a suitably over the top popcorn flavour to it but like the delicacy, is instantly forgettable once digested. The only war evident is the war on original writing as ‘The Tomorrow War’ makes one wish they were watching the better works it slavishly imitates.

Rating out of 10: 5

CURRENLTY STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME.

Self/less

‘Self/less’ explores the desire to live forever. This isn’t anything new as wanting eternal life has been a motivation for many fictional characters. Maintaining beauty is another added element with humanity’s ego in defying death and ageing seen everywhere. ‘Self/less’ mirrors its two-pronged title throughout the twist-laden tale. Whether those grasping at extended longevity are doing it for themselves or others is examined in a fairly interesting sci-fi thriller.

Dying of cancer, billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) will do anything to continue living. Coming across a process called ‘shredding’, as perfected by the shadowy Doctor Albright (Matthew Goode), Hale thinks he’s found the cure. The procedure sees him putting his mind into a younger body. Waking up as literally a new person, Hale is given the new identity as Damian (Ryan Reynolds). Sent to live a new life, Damian discovers things aren’t as they seem. With mysterious images plaguing his thoughts, he sets out to uncover the truth despite increasingly being in danger.

‘Self/less’ is a reasonably involving thriller without being great. The idea of an old person in a young body trying to adapt to a new life is interesting. The effects of their new existence and of those around them is intriguing. Unfortunately these elements aren’t used as well as could be. Blame can go to the unfocussed script as well as Tarsem Singh’s lacklustre direction. While showing talent, Singh takes the least captivating path in conveying the story.

It’s no fault of the actors who do a good job. Reynolds in particular gives a strong performance as someone trapped in a situation of their own making. It’s easy following his character as he discovers new, unwanted revelations. The infrequent action scenes enliven proceedings which all too often feel drawn out. Occasionally ‘Self/less’ comes to a virtual standstill, robbing it of making it more than an average movie.

If one could live forever then one can forgive the hours used viewing films like ‘Self/less’. By no means terrible, the material needed better handling. It’s a fine enough sci-fi film although the plodding narrative may make one ponder where the time is going watching it.

Rating out of 10 5

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX