Monday, July 12, 2021

Heinlein and The Tomorrow War

This is a pretty good movie; however, it doesn't match in power Heinlein's Starship Troopers in my opinion.  The writers of TTW will disagree saying the father/daughter/grandfather Foresters have power not seen in Heinlein.  But Heinlein does a much better job in hypothesizing what such a war would realistically involve from a military standpoint.   ST resonates for anyone who has been in the Marine Corps or Army infantry.  If you've only seen the very-bad movie, Starship Troopers, then you won't know what I'm talking about. 

Heinlein's novel deals with a galactic war.  The aliens, which are pretty much like the aliens in TTW, are unstoppable by normal means. [Although the aliens in TTW are more like the aliens in the Aliens movie and not like the Predators who use the aliens for sport.  Presumably the creators that operated the space-ship that crashed into a volcano in the Middle Ages were a bit more like the Predators].  So the humans have invented suits of armor and weaponry that movie-makers haven't found the means to simulate.  Heinlein's aliens defeat humans on planet after planet until human scientists find a way to kill the alien queens.  After that the war turns in favor of the humans.  Alien queens on TTW are much tougher than in ST, but I suspect Heinlein's queen is closer to a conceivable hive-organism.  Queens don't need to know how to fight. 

In Heinlein's novel, the humans are organized by a bureaucracy that trains and functions much like the Marine Corps.  And like the Marine Corps, one must volunteer and then go through a difficult boot-camp in order to fight.  In TTW, there is a vague conspiracy-theory-type military-scientific organization "drafting" appropriate humans to go into the future to fight the aliens.  Somehow all the Tomorrow War draftees, without boot-camp type training (glossed over in the movie) by instinct fight as though they've been properly trained.  I don't believe humans can or would do that.  

As I began watching TTW I wondered if movie makers had been influenced by the recent acceptance, seemingly, that there are a tiny percentage of UFO sightings that can't be explained.  Perhaps the writers were stirring up a martial spirit just in case the aliens were hostile.  However the movie soon disabused me of that idea.  It seems to have also (at least in the fight scenes) have been influenced by zombie apocalypse as well as Predator and Terminator movies.

The acting in TTW is very good, better than in the other movies I've mentioned or alluded to.  And the action moves quickly enough so that one doesn't have time to compare this movie to movies very much like this one that were made in the past. 

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