Home Entertainment Chris McKay on ‘The Tomorrow War’: Watch it on the biggest, loudest...

Chris McKay on ‘The Tomorrow War’: Watch it on the biggest, loudest home theatre system

The director says the film looks and sounds great as a special mix was done just for home viewing

The Tomorrow War dropping on July 2 is the kind of big, fat, movie that would have seen us haring it to the theatres in our innocent, pre-COVID-19 days. The sci-fi action movie stars Chris Pratt going to the future to fight aliens.

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“I love watching movies in movie theatres,” agrees director Chris McKay over a video call from Beverley Hills, Los Angeles, California. “That was the reason I wanted to make movies. We, however, have different options as far as platforms go. What streaming offers for a filmmaker like me is a lot more control over what the picture looks like and how an audience sees it. My advice would be, to watch it on the biggest, loudest home theatre system you have. Upgrade your bandwidth to get a 4K resolution HDR version of the movie. It looks and sounds great as we did a special mix just for home viewing.”

Different reasons

The 47-year-old director says he was excited about The Tomorrow War for a variety of reasons. “It is an original sci-fi movie. It had aliens, time travel and an ordinary guy going up against extraordinary circumstances. There was a character study. Chris (Pratt) wanted to build this character with flaws and blind spots. Telling an emotional, human story in a big sci-fi epic movie appealed to me. I also wanted to work with Chris, he is an amazing guy, a great actor, and a movie star. He is one of the most fun people I have worked with. All these things made me want to direct the movie.”

The casting, McKay says, called for different kinds of actors. “The movie has serious and funny moments as well as action-packed ones. I wanted people who could complement that. We were building a realistic-ish, sci-fi time travel movie. I wanted some great faces, ordinary people and some comedians who could bring some levity to the table. People like Mary Lynn (Rajskub), Sam (Richardson) and Mike Mitchell were key as were Edwin Hodge and Jasmine Mathews. I love JK Simmons and always wanted to work with him. Betty Gilpin is an amazing actor and a privilege to work with. Yvonne (Strahovski) had done an amazing read as Romeo Command. I have always been blown away by her performances whether it is The Handmaid’s Tale or The Predator. She is so real, honest and watchable. We are just lucky to have found such a great group of people.”

Read | Chris Pratt: ‘I could do a podcast episode on how to run from creatures’

Creature features

The creature design for the aliens called for something memorable and scary, McKay says with a laugh. “You try as hard as possible to create a different look. There is the xenomorph from Alien and the Predator and then there is everything else. There are only a handful of memorable alien designs.”

The script, McKay says, was light on details “There was mention of claws and that the aliens were white. I wanted something that felt old, ancient and hungry. I wanted to feel like there is a hunger in its belly, its teeth to feel like a dental nightmare. They were rotten, big and messed up. They should also have some kind of offensive weapon and so the tentacles and spikes came out of that. I wanted part of them to feel old in the nooks and crannies, in the flakes and chunks of their skin. I wanted the skin to feel hard, like it was all armoured up. We threw all these ideas to the designers and they came back with some really interesting stuff.”

Land of ice and snow

Shooting in Iceland was memorable for McKay. “It was a couple of miles up to the shooting location, the glacier, and took around an hour and a half to get there, transferring from one truck to another and eventually snowmobiles with camera cranes and all the equipment. We were on one of the oldest glaciers. It was treacherous and the weather was changing all the time. The way we portrayed the weather in the movie is exactly how it was. It was unpredictable with the winds blowing in one direction and then switching around and you could not see for a second. It was a challenge but everybody had a great time. Some of us never would have been able to go to Iceland so it was a gift. We had a great team on the ground and they put together a great safe way for us to get the shots I wanted. There was a short window of daylight, about six hours, so we had to shoot fast.”

The Tomorrow War streams on Amazon Prime Video from July 2


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