When the preview articles about the big movies of Hollywood’s post-pandemic comeback summer were being written, “The Tomorrow War” was barely a blip on the radar. In fact, it was such a non-factor, Paramount eventually ended up skipping a theatrical release and selling the rights to Amazon. But then, one-by-one, the big contenders seemed to squander their goodwill, leaving the afterthought to swoop in and seize America’s attention.
Once the film hit Prime, it quickly began breaking records, with star Chris Pratt thanking fans for making it the biggest streaming feature in the world this summer.
While at the outset it just looked like a loud, thoughtless alien romp, its simple charms are winning over everyone from erudite Hillsdale history professors to famously cantankerous conservative film critics.
Here’s why “The Tomorrow War” is the movie bringing Americans together right now.
Though Lin-Manuel Miranda’s May musical extravaganza “In the Heights” boasted a theme that openly celebrated the American Dream, a marketing push that focused instead on “diversity and inclusion” left viewers cold. Matters weren’t helped by Miranda’s inexplicable decision to grovel to a woke mob who insisted his Puerto Rican cast wasn’t dark-skinned enough. The result: buzz didn’t equal box office and earnings disappointed.
Something similar may be happening with “Black Widow.” Though the film includes plenty of cheeky Reagan-era cheering for the U.S., Marvel has instead focused on emphasizing “girl power.” Early reports on audience tracking suggest that a #MeToo superhero might not resonate with the franchise’s core audience.
“The Tomorrow War,” by contrast, has avoided anything that could remotely be classified as woke in its promotion. In fact, Amazon Studios has highlighted a storyline that celebrates the heroism of our armed forces by premiering the film at several military bases across the country as a way to honor service members and their families.
At a time when nearly every major release is a reboot, remake, or sequel, “The Tomorrow War” deserves credit for creating something new. The film’s high concept isn’t exactly intellectual, but who wants that in their summer popcorn entertainment?
The premise of an ex-special-forces-soldier-turned-biology teacher who must travel 30 years into the future to save the world from an alien invasion doesn’t depend on encyclopedic knowledge of 15 other films that came before it. Once upon a time, audiences could count on just this kind of standalone blockbuster every summer. Now, a story that isn’t based on a theme park ride, classic toy, or long-established franchise is a rare gem.
Three: Star Power
The entertainment industry has been rightly discussing the death of movie stars for some years now. As big studio releases have grown into mammoth, multifaceted universes of films, the importance of actors has shrunk. Very few celebrities still have the bankability to draw crowds apart from a well-established superhero or Star Wars franchise.
That’s not true for Chris Pratt, who has proved again and again that he is one of the few performers whose name alone will put butts in seats.
Consider, “F9” may be earning big box office numbers, but who is going to see John Cena in something outside of a “Fast and Furious” movie?
Since his breakthrough in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, not one of Pratt’s films has failed to offer a solid return on investment. Movie-goers love his humble charisma and seem to appreciate his efforts to honor classic American values like fatherhood and military valor.
Pratt executive produced “The Tomorrow War” as well, saying before its release, “It feels a little more like my baby going out into the world with this film. I’ll be paying extra attention to people’s reactions because I’ve put a lot of sweating and heart into this thing.”
Based on the audience analytics, he never had any reason to worry.
Four: Conservative Themes
It would have been so easy for a story that turns on a future cataclysmic event to throw some environmental pandering to the left-wing. “The Tomorrow War” not only doesn’t do that, its overarching themes are unapologetically conservative.
To begin, Dan (Pratt) is his daughter’s hero and his wife’s defender. He is a traditional picture of heroic masculinity who inspires those around him to self-sacrifice as well. That theme of focusing on others rather than self pervades the story.
Though the cast is, in fact, diverse, the movie never virtue signals about it. Instead, it sends a message about true unity found in service, regardless of race or creed. “Whatever your age, occupation, ethnicity, or gender — whatever your background — you are now heroes,” the people of the future tell those who come from the past to fight on their behalf.
Do these sound like the sort of people who would wait around for the government to solve their problems for them or give them permission to defend themselves? Let’s just say at one point, when a crucial decision must be made, Forrester’s dad (the incomparable J.K. Simmons) offers the wisdom that was once birth right of every American man, “If you go tell the U.N.,” he says, “they’ll talk about it until we’re all dead.”
The rest of the team agrees, saying, “If we get the world governments involved, it could turn into a nightmare.”
Nothing like a big summer movie with good sense.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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