Granger on Film: 'Tomorrow War' is a frightening summer escape

Chris Pratt in "The Tomorrow War." (Courtesy of Amazon Studios/TNS)

Chris Pratt in "The Tomorrow War." (Courtesy of Amazon Studios/TNS)

Courtesy of Amazon Studios / TNS

Coinciding with the recent revelation of UFO reports, this frightening sci-fi fantasy imagines what might happen if, today, we learned about a future alien invasion and, perhaps, had the power to prevent it.

In December 2022, Earthlings discover that — 30 years in the future — the entire planet will be invaded by ravenous, relentless beasts who feast on humans. Resembling alien-infused velociraptors, they’re called “White Spikes” because of the bony projectiles stemming from their tentacles.

Utilizing an experimental time-travel device, young soldiers from 2051 arrive, urgently begging for global help. Since they’re our descendants, the various nations of the world unite to conscript ordinary adults. Implanted with a digital armband, each draftee is required to serve for seven days but only 20 percent survive the week.

Recruits include suburban high school science teacher Dan Forester (amiable Chris Pratt), whose career has faltered since he returned from fighting in Iraq. Estranged from his reclusive, cantankerous father (J.K. Simmons), he’s married to Emmy (Betty Gilpin) and besotted by their bright nine-year-old daughter Muri (Ryan Keira Armstrong).

During a truncated period of basic training, Dan befriends anxiety-riddled chatterbox Charlie (Sam Richardson) and surly Dorian (Edwin Hodge) before they’re catapulted into battle, joining a resistance unit under code-named Romeo Command (Yvonne Strahovski).

A brilliant, methodical scientist, she’s working on a lethal toxin to save the human species from extinction and needs Dan to retrieve vital ampules from a science lab in war-ravaged Miami. If her time-jumping plan works, they might be able to change the course of history.

Scripted by Zach Dean and directed by Chris McKay (“The Lego Batman Movie”), this popcorn-picture adventure incorporates many familiar elements, including father/son issues, father/daughter devotion, second chances, acceptance/forgiveness, climate change and time travel — like a futuristic “It’s a Wonderful Life” amid marauding aliens.

Full disclosure: My son, Don Granger, is one of the producers.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Tomorrow War” is an exciting, escapist 7, streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Susan Granger has been an on-air television and radio commentator and entertainment critic for more than 25 years. Raised in Hollywood, Granger appeared as a child actress in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, and Lassie. She currently resides in Westport.