Director: Watch Tomorrow War with lots of friends, volume up

Sci-fi actioner will stream on Prime Video, making it one of the biggest blockbusters to skip cinemas

LOS ANGELES With a top Hollywood star, a Terminator-esque sci-fi premise and a reported US$200 million (S$270 million) price tag, The Tomorrow War would ordinarily be shaping up as one of the summer's biggest and smartest blockbusters.

But the Chris Pratt-led movie will not be troubling box offices at all, having been sold to Amazon for a whopping fee back in January, when movie theatres were shut in Covid-slammed California and beyond.

Now, it will stream globally on Prime Video from July 2, making it one of the biggest blockbusters ever to skip cinemas entirely.

Director Chris McKay (The Lego Movies, The Lego Batman Movie) said: "Please do not watch it on your phones. Watch it on the biggest screen you possibly can with the loudest sound - crank it up.

"Invite the neighbours over so that they are not annoyed that you are cranking it up - but just watch it with a lot of people because you are going to have a good time."

The film's explosive premise is quickly established: Time travellers suddenly appear from the near future, where a horrifying alien invasion is on the verge of wiping out humanity.

They beg their own parents and grandparents to travel with them three decades into the future to help fend off hordes of the nightmarish, endlessly ravenous "white spikes".

In his latest role, Pratt plays a former special ops soldier who feels trapped in a suburban teacher job - before he gets drafted to battle aliens in the future.

The Tomorrow War combines effects-laden action scenes shot on locations including Iceland with horror tropes, family drama and even environmental themes such as climate change.

"When we were making the movie, there were existential threats that we had in the back of our mind, like 'What is your responsibility for future generations?' And then Covid came along," McKay recalled, forcing a film shot mainly before the pandemic's arrival to be finished remotely at post-production editors' homes.

For actress Betty Gilpin, who plays the therapist wife of Pratt's military veteran, the film fulfils two key functions: pure, escapist entertainment and "slipping in" a message or two about our duty to the planet's future.

"That also really drew me to this script - that it seems like it is going to be this mindless popcorn movie, and then it really has some smart things to say," she said.

Said McKay, who previously worked with Pratt on The Lego Movie: "I think a lot of people respect that Chris went from that (sitcom) guy to Guardians Of The Galaxy.

"He is a movie star, but he can do so many different things and be so incredibly vulnerable." - AFP