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Entertainment Media Reviews

Posted by Older Spice 
Entertainment Media Reviews
September 09, 2021 04:20AM
In the Spirit of Cliff's B movies reviews I thought it would be fun to start a new thread for reviewing stuff.
Including but not limited to entertainment media. film, TV, music, theater, etc.

The Tomorrow War [[url=https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9777666/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1]IMDB[/url]]

Wow where do I start with this. It’s been a long while since a I've seen a movie with a budget this big, be this bad, Avatar levels of bad. All while tarnishing the reputation of a by means passable science fiction novel. It assaults all sensibilities with endless waves idiocy intended to facilitate its special effects.

For brevity I will simply list everything it does wrong or poorly. I guess I could just say it does everything poorly.
1. Time travel.
2. Everything military, tactics, strategy, doctrine, training, recruitment, technology, technology RnD, vehicles, and logistics.
3. Screen and dialogue writing.
4. Biology.
5. Physics.
6. Aliens.
7. Science.
8. Weapon design and deployment.
9. Political science.
10. Production designs.
11. FX design.
12. Acting direction.
13. Cinematography.
14. Music.
15. Directing.
16. Pacing.
17. Monster Design
I will provide a few quick summations for the most important parts. As a detailed response to each would extend the time required to write it far beyond all the man hours required to produce and market the film in its entirety. However, they are interrelated in their wrongness, compounding one another in a way that would require Conway's chained arrow notation to quantify. As the number of digits involved would easily exceed all subatomic particles in the known and unknown universe, and any multiverses that may exist. But first remember all this was sacrificed for visual eye candy. Or rather what the creators of this grotesque offense believed would look cool on screen. All stretched out for nearly two and a half hours. I guess the first point is if you are and going build a film entirely from a frame work of plot holes. Perhaps keep it on the short side least you cross the event horizon of the black hole left behind from the collapse of your frontal lobe.

1) Time travel

a) While always a mistake for the filmmaker to indulge in from the standpoint that it immediately reduces the suspension of disbelief. This film takes extra care to ensure that it used in the least effective manner possible. The nature of its function would have allowed infinite preparation despite what the writers thought. They knew they had plot holes and paradoxes to deal with. They didn’t do a good job.

b) Paradoxes present are nearly endless because the writers don’t understand how they work and why they are inevitable and how you might curtail them. They try to address this with many excuses none of them hold up under scrutiny. The fact that the first machine you made was jury rigged does not prevent you from share the technology with the past. Time travel is basically god mode and the human race squanders it exquisitely in this film. The implications of time travel they came up with for this film would have been far more interesting to explore, but fundamentally not different from any other form of time travel.

c) Why not just evacuate the future people and prepare for the “invasion” with their insights into advance technology? Since solving the time travel issues implies the entire field of physics has changed in a way that would enable impossible to imagine changes to human society.

2) Military, weapon design & employment, technology.

a) Every choice made in terms of combating the enemy was not just wrong but the worst possible choice. Tactics utilized to fight the enemy were poor. There was no strategy and no doctrine. The one strategic choice made, recruiting people from the past was wasted on soviet/china style human wave tactics. Grabbing entirely combat ineffective people and sending them untrained to fight. Every choice was intended to create a mood of unnecessary melodrama or cool visuals.

b) Seriously they went to the past and despite being able to unite humanity in order to fight this foe no time or effort was made on developing combat effectiveness. They did not train people, develop tactics, weapons, or anything that could more effectively support humanity. They try to justify this by the have to avoid paradox excuse. Even though they haven’t actually avoided any. After a year sending people to the future, they haven’t done anything that would be helpful. Simple sent to people to die with the justification of they were going to die no far into the future without doing that would create a paradox.

c) Grossly ineffective use of already existing resources. We already have plenty of existing weapons, and weapon platforms that would decimate the aliens. Cluster munitions and a wide variety of automated turrets with ballistic computation and well pretty much any spectrum of radiation for tracking. It is already known that small arms below a specific caliber weren’t effective. While this wrong for a variety of biological and terminal ballistic reasons. They could have just switched everyone back to real fucking nato or basic ap ammos and had an easy infantry win as well. The short of it is Hollywood as usual ignores all basic military capability so they can have cqb shoot outs that persist for minutes rather than seconds.

d) The future people decide to develop a chemical weapon to defeat the aliens. They don’t bother to develop a deliver system congruently with. Nor do they utilize an earlier version of the weapon that would have eliminated 99.9% of the threat allowing them to persist.

3) Science, physics, biology, aliens, monster design, livestock handling.

a) No effort was made. Similar to Invincible the power level of the aliens is all over the place. They go from being mostly bullet proof except convenient and evolutionarily and genetic engineering standpoint the first place that sort of armor would appear. Additionally, they have a spike like projectile that can’t fire from two tail like appendages. The capability of these spikes varies from unable to completely penetrate dry wall to puncturing steel walls. Further the strength of the aliens goes from being able to flip over hummers to drag helicopters down. To being wrangled into a cage by humans with ropes. There is no grounding to what you can expect them to capable of. For instance, they can glide through the air, with tiny skin flaps. Which implies that despite being the size of a cow, in addition to weight being bullet proof implies. They are incredibly low density. Humans should be able toss them around easily, and the ability to flip a hummer shouldn’t be possible.

b) Physics, well beyond the time travel. As noted, many of the aspects of the alien’s physical performance and biomechanical aspects are contradictory. They can do everything, which we know neither animal or machines can do. And when they do, they perform worst at them than more specialized species/machines. Physics generally gets molested as the quantum, newton, and relative levels by this film.

c) They are presumably a bioengineered weapon. The question is why design something so ineffective. The films depiction of the aliens as competent bioweapons should be disregarded. As even allowing for all the infeasible aspects of their design they are still poorly designed for the job. Their success being entirely derived from dues ex retardare. They are large, visible, slow, and vulnerable to small arms let alone any serious ordinance.

4) Film

a) Music, so forgettable I don’t even remember the movie having a soundtrack.

b) FX design/ CGI, pretty terrible, effects don’t feel like they fit in well, don’t have proper weight, inertia, overall feels like so many layers of compositing didn’t glue together well. As well as some parts of the compositing being of worse quality than others. For instances the portal effect.

c) Acting direction, now I like some of the actors in this film. They have done other work that has been enjoyable. But everyone in this film looked like they were unsure of what was actually taking place. Like not enough direction was provided in front of the greenscreen in any given camera shot for them to known exactly what they were supposed to be emotionally portraying. They looked confused or mismatched often. J.K. Simmons portrayal looks like he the whole read the script, to his dismay after signing the contract.

d) Pacing, is off from scene to scene. It shifts abruptly and illogically, as if each scene was designed detached from the context of the previous or following scenes. One cut a sense of urgency is given, in the next cut its better be slow stealth mode. Part of it from trying to build suspense around the monster reveal which takes an hour. Pointless in this day and age since high resolution still images are available of stuff before the film is even released. Sometimes as part of the marketing material.

e) The monster design, its looks boring and uninspired, like someone watched Cloverfield and told the art team to just make a smaller version of that and give it some tails.

f) Writing, reeks of synthetic simulacra and focus groups consisting entirely of studio executives. Dialogue of about the level a high schooler would write. Character building of the level a middle schooler would write. But never forget he loves his family. Logic on the level of 4-week-old cat fetus. I can’t believe with any sincerity that a creative person read The Forever War and was inspired to write this. The book that deals with a war between humans and an alien race, and a thousand years goes by on earth but only a few years for the narrator because of time dilation effects. So after peace is achieved he comes home to a plant of literally gay clones that speak a different language. You know something that would have been incredible to see realized as a film.

I give it one time travel should be used to stop Bezos from creating Amazon out of 10 voids in which no creativity exists that Hollywood chooses to work in.

My next review will be of the Book this film lies about being inspired by.

Note: The relation between the this film and the book is being scrubbed from the internet, since there is functionally no relation between the two. Other than a few quotes archived away.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2021 05:19AM by Older Spice.
Re: Entertainment Media Reviews
September 11, 2021 03:56AM
That’s an impressively comprehensive piece of polemics.
Re: Entertainment Media Reviews
October 30, 2021 10:45AM
Older Spice
The implications of time travel

Have you seen Primer? If so, what did you think of it?
Re: Entertainment Media Reviews
October 30, 2021 06:17PM

The implications of time travel

Have you seen Primer? If so, what did you think of it?

I liked it when I saw back when it came out, it seemed very thoughtful. I haven't watched since then, I should probably watch it again and see if it still holds up.
Re: Entertainment Media Reviews
January 23, 2022 05:31AM
As stated above I went and read through The Forever War.

It starts in the late 90's, it has a fairly optimistic view from a technology stand. Aircraft carrier sized spaceships capable of relativistic travel. And a special stellar objects which allow traveling with an effect similar to a portal. Interesting as they can get around the galaxy faster, but large amounts of time still passes. Most of the technology is not explained to in depth, unless its particular function has immediate consequences in combat. For instance heat fins on combat armor, in a environment that is composed of pools of frozen hydrogen. That is not to say that the tech can't be picked apart. But it does not offend or draw enough attention that suspension of disbelief is threatened. Generally by picking up a book about space wars that span more than a solar system, you have to accept some sort of currently physics violating technology.
Not always, but if you want to work in a time span of a human life you do.

The combat is was very obviously influenced by the authors experiences in the Vietnam war. It resembles the air carvery, FOBs, patrols, and Airstrike style tactics of that war. Some of the technology stands out as well predicted. For instance in the last battle, the base is using very powerful lasers to defend its perimeter, all the way out to the horizon, and obviously the airspace above, that are computer controlled, with a human dead man switch. They do a very good job, and reflect a feasible system design.Similar to current CIWS and military laser systems. As well as dealing with extreme G forces that evasive maneuvers would require in ship to ship combat. And of course consequences of war, and system failures. So some decent speculative science/engineering pops up when its possible to give a believe explanation of it.

The Aliens are not a sophisticated military, and rely to some degree on the Zap Brannigan style Alien wave attacks.
It shows, as they obviously lose in almost every encounter the main character is in. Except one in which some unknown attack damages the ships. This is explained a bit at the end of the book, presumably explored more in depth in the sequels.

Of course, the action sequences are few and far between. The book has the pacing of how a solider experiences a war.
This experience is juxtaposed with the extreme time dilation. Which casts all the surviving solders a thousand years into the future from when the war started. Only periodical visiting Earth. Which even in the 90's was a UN controlled hellscape, and only gets worse as time passes. I always wondered why scifi authors loved to put the UN in charge of earth. And I realized its because it promises the worst possible outcome for every aspect of society and human life that isn't complete destruction.

This is of course intended as an extreme version of the alienation soldiers experience coming home from a war.
Essential if you don't lose your life, you lose everything else. The one time the main character returns to Earth, its only to experience the death of the last few family members. Essential wrapping up anything in history that would tie the character to anything but the war.

Eventual though the war ends. Oddly enough, the UNs decision to make everyone gay and just clone people resulted in developing a human hive mind. Which could communicate with the aliens and reach a peace agreement. Originally there wasn't much doubt cast on this ending, not a whole lot of detail is provided. The main character kinda of just accepts the war is over heads off to a paradise planet and meets up with his lover who was along with other veterans flying around at relativistic speeds to pass time until all the last of the veterans returned. The sequel the Author wrote some 20 years later, casts doubt on the human, and alien hive minds, so they set off to try going 100k into the future.

Anyway, a faithful adaption of this book would be very interesting to see on the screen. It will never be made though, as we have wandered into a mirror version of its dystopia. To speak of how well the author crafted this particularly exceptional scifi novel.
Re: Entertainment Media Reviews
January 25, 2022 07:03AM
A decent time travel movie I saw was Looper, with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitte, Emily Blunt, and Jeff Daniels, written and directed, by Rian Johnson and produced by Ram Johnson.
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