The post-covid era has ushered in an air of uncertainty around the globe. Added to the lament of the apocalypse averted in 2012, the future of humanity looks bleak indeed. In our age, we increasingly live more in the future and less in the present. The film is of the suggestion that the doomer prophecy can perhaps be avoided – that we make the future as we go along. Chris McKey’s debut live-action feature ‘The Tomorrow War’ impresses by its intelligent time-bending epic tale, fraught with people jumping from skies and nasty snarling aliens overtaking the globe. Chris Pratt not only saves the future but also the film itself with a charming paternal performance.
The rundown story revolves around a father who must commence a journey to the future to retrieve the cure from his daughter to prevent a future possibility of wipeout. The alien science fiction movie may use hackneyed tropes of classic alien and time travel movies from the 90s, but the influences converge in a final product that is mind-boggling and overwhelming at the same time. Things go haywire in the blink of an eye. If you have forgotten half of the story by the time the credits roll, we don’t blame you. Let us make a journey to the past and decode the narrative. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Tomorrow War Plot Synopsis
The story begins with people falling from the skies. In retrospect, we meet x-military Dan Forester who teaches biology at a school but is looking for a research-oriented job. On the eve of Christmas 2022, Dan, Emmy, and their daughter Muri are enjoying a game of FIFA World Cup on TV. To the shock and dismay of Dan and million others, a group of armed time travelers from 30 years into the future arrive at the stadium. The leader announces that the future earth is under attack by aliens called whitespikes, and humanity stands on the brink of extinction.
In effect, the world becomes transformed into a heavily militarized war zone. The modern-day military is sent off to fight tomorrow’s war, but not many of them make it back alive. When a draft is signed between the governments, civilian participation in the war is made mandatory. A year into the future, the situation begins to look grimmer and grimmer as people who take the jump in time come back shell-shocked, if they come back at all. Dan still works at the school, while his wife provides counseling to shell-shocked draftees. Dan’s life takes an altogether different course when he is summoned for conscription.
According to the officer-in-charge, Dan meets all the criteria required for taking the jump, and the military background adds a layer of proficiency. The officer divulges that Dan is going to die in seven years. Now aided by the knowledge of his future, Dan sets out to change it. His mission is to retrieve valuable research from the sole existing lab working on whitespikes. Dan meets fellow draftee Charlie at the military camp – they begin to get friendly but the link to the future is established in the meantime. As military personnel from the future enters the wrong coordinates, the band of draftees appears over a city, free-falling into oblivion. Dan is among the lucky few who land into a pool.
The Tomorrow War Ending: Where Did the Aliens Come From?
In this viscerally messy sci-fi adventure, aliens meet time to travel to weave quite an intricate and intelligent story. But the heart of the story lies in the real fear of global warming. As Charlie puts it in clear terms, “1 degree is the difference between ice and water.” With the earth warming and global ice caps melting at a rapid rate, scientists are arguing that the Arctic summer ice sheet may disappear by 2035. This movie capitalizes on the fear of doom while attempting to make humankind realize that we can change the course of the future if we really believe in ourselves.
After Dan returns from the future with the antidote, his vision is blurred and his memory is caught in a whirlpool between past and future. The future timeline of the world is presumably annihilated by the unearthly tentacular monsters, and Dan is shocked. Just before the collapse, the grown-up self of Dan’s daughter Muri succeeds in extracting the antidote from the female and more immune white spike. As the male whitespikes converge near the jump link, Muri gives the antidote to Dan, urging him to take it to the past.
While the future world goes up in flames, Dan makes a near-death escape to the original timeline, holding the antidote in his hand. According to the future timeline, the aliens are first spotted in Northern Russia in the year 2048. But the future army did not spot any satellite or rocket coming into the region. After finding ash in footprints in the region of Russia, Dan, Dorian, and Charlie summon Martin to crack the puzzle. According to Martin, the volcanic ash traveled to Russia during the Millennium Eruption.
That can only mean one thing – that the aliens have been present since ancient times, albeit dormant in the freezing temperature of Siberia. When Charlie takes a look at the data of polar ice cap melting projection, the heroes conclude that the aliens have not descended from the skies, they have rather thawed up their way into the ground. Dan, his cynical father, and his draftee friends go to the destined location in Russia to find the truth. At the end of the journey, they discover the spaceship that has been containing the aliens for the past thousands of years.
Is Muri Dead or Alive?
In the future, army vet Dan takes briefings from Colonel Forester. Right when the audiences anticipate that they may be father and daughter, Muri spills the beans on the face of the viewer. To Muri, her father is only a specter from the past, a mere shadow of reality. But the reality, as the film suggests, is subject to alterations. In the climactic moment near the jump link, Muri’s software finds a perfect match for the antidote. But as she rightly deduces, the antidote would be difficult to implement at a time when the humans are overpowered and outnumbered by the aliens.
Therefore, Muri gives the antidote to her father, while succumbing to death by falling into a hoard of whitespikes. Back in the present timeline, Dan seemingly changes the course of history in the final minutes. They infiltrate the alien spaceship hidden under the Arctic ice sheet and manage to kill all of them, eliminating the possibility of the invasion at the roots. So, in the end, the two separate timelines diverge from each other to embrace their respective realities. Therefore, although Muri dies in the future timeline, she is very much alive in the present timeline. Even if the future takes its destined course, (i.e., if the aliens are still alive), we know that Muri shall live till the moment she meets her father and invents the antidote.
Is The Future Averted? Do the Aliens Die?
The previous question consequentially brings us to this question. And a lot of things are up for stake here. Although the past cannot be changed, the future can – as the present course of actions ultimately decides the future. Since Cameron’s ‘The Terminator,’ sci-fi blockbusters seem to give the idea that the future is not set in stone. We, humans, have the ability to alter the future. In the gripping final sequence, Dan and his team strike the alien spaceship. They inject the serum into some of the whitespikes, but some aliens come out of their slumber.
Charlie unleashes chainsaw-hurling madness, and in a suicidal feat, Dorian takes the brunt by blasting off the spaceship. Dorian dies, but the female white spike gets away. Although, Dan and his grumpy father tackle the situation fairly well. In the finality of events, Dan can inject the antidote into the female white spike. The white spike dies, changing the present and impacting the future. However, think about this – what if there are more spaceships hidden underneath the barren icy region of Northern Russia? What if the future is not averted, after all? If that is the case, we should indeed brace ourselves for the imminent sequel.
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