!The following article contains SPOILERS for the sci-fi action thriller Tomorrow War!
The Chris Pratt led science fiction alien invasion film Tomorrow War is one hell of a fun thrill ride but it's blatantly obvious that the film's concepts borrow heavily from John Carpenter's The Thing, Ridley Scott's Prometheus / Alien lore and incorporates a similar time travel approach to alien warfare from the Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt film Edge of Tomorrow. This article is not a review of Tomorrow War but more so a comparison of the many ways it draws inspiration from previous sci-fi epics.
Time Travel - Edge of Tomorrow-ish
The film's premise sees Mankind on the brink of extinction due to an imposing alien threat which has wiped out all but half a million people off the face of the Earth. As a result, through some conveniently yet conceivably impossible concepts, people in present day are drafted for a 1 week trip 30 years into the future where they either aid in combating the alien threat known as White Spikes or aid in reconnaissance. Chris Pratt, our lead man in the film is designated for reconnaissance in an attempt to find a method of eradicating the White Spikes once and for all, since conventional warfare tactics are failing to do any significant damage.
Much like Edge of Tomorrow, Tomorrow War utilizes a faulty plot device of sending people into the future and back into the past as a means of better understanding the alien enemy and to find a solution that can be employed in present day to prevent mankind from ever falling. While Edge of Tomorrow was more of a modern take on Groundhog Day, Tomorrow War instead sends batches of personnel forward and backwards in time spanning 1 week rather than 1 day.
The Aliens - Very Xenomorphic
The alien creatures in Tomorrow War are pretty awesome, we can't lie. As science fiction fanatics, these are precisely the mercilessly grotesque and terrifyingly badass aliens we've come to expect from modern cinema. But, there is no denying their very familiar relationship to the iconic Xenomorph from the Alien franchise - specifically James Cameron's sequel Aliens.
In Tomorrow War, the majority of White Spikes are male and they furiously defend and listen to their female leaders. Almost identical to the Xenomorph drones / warriors and how they react and protect the Xenomorph Queen. The designs of the White Spikes themselves are rather unique but the female does feature an alternative head crest, mimicking a crown shape, very much like the large Xenomorph Queen head crest which helps distinguish her from ordinary Xenomorphs (besides the obvious size difference of course).
We could go into detail and dissect even how the White Spikes use their tentacle-like tails to skewer enemies, like the Xenomorph uses its tail. We could also make mention of how the White Spikes move in hordes like ants pouring out of a disturbed ant hill, very much like Xenomorphs cascade over obstacles as well. But to keep the comparison under 10 pages, we'll stop there.
Alien Ship from the Past... Frozen in Ice
One of the most enjoyable homages was the nod to John Carpenter's The Thing. As we come to learn in the final act of Tomorrow War, the White Spikes never landed 30 years into the future. They were thawed as our planet's ice caps melted. Their ship had originally crashed thousands of years prior and were trapped under thousands of feet of solid ice.
Science Fiction fans will be quick to notice the blatant similarities between this origin story and that of the infamous shape-shifting alien in The Thing. There's something overly eerie about Earth housing a violent and terrifying alien organism in our own back yard, waiting to be discovered. It's a concept seen throughout sci-fi and it's certainly one which begs more questions from the viewer than that of a more simple alien invasion story.
The Aliens were cargo... meant for world domination. Sound familiar?
Finally, the obvious nod to sir Ridley Scott and his Alien prequel films, the final act of Tomorrow War also unveils how the White Spikes arrived on Earth. Upon entering the crashed Alien ship, our Human crew discover the pilot's chamber and fossilized / frozen in position is a Humanoid alien, NOT a White Spike. Very much like the Space Jockey found fossilized inside the crashed Derelict spaceship from Scott's 1979 original Alien.
Afterwards, they proceed to travel deeper into the ship and discover that the White Spikes are actually a dormant cargo, waiting to be unleashed on the planet. Pratt's character makes assumptions that the alien pilot had not intended to land on Earth and that it appeared the ship had crashed unexpectedly. He also speculates that the White Spikes were a form of biological planet neutralizer - like the Black Good bio-former witnessed in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant - these White Spike aliens were going to be used to eradicate any hostile or competing organism on whatever native planet they're dropped on.
It's painfully clear how much Tomorrow War drew from these iconic sci-fi thrillers as inspiration, but we're not even mad they did. The film is a fun ride if you don't over analyze the plot devices too closely. It's great to see more films drawing from our beloved Alien films as well for inspiration and we hope this ignites more interest in a potential new Alien movie down the road.
Tomorrow War is now streaming on Amazon Prime.