EDGE OF TOMORROW
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Jonas Armstrong, Kick Gurry, Tony Way
I think I would be pretty disgruntled if I was thrown into war with aliens only to die, get stuck in a time loop, and then have to relive those two days all over again. Tom Cruise stars as military officer William Cage who wakes up and finds himself on a training base not sure of how he got there. He is approached by Master Sergeant Farell (Paxton) who takes him to his new combat team. Cage, who has no experience or training, is told he is a “deserter” who is trying to get out of his duties as a soldier. Cage and his new team get loaded into their new full bodied combat suits and dropped onto the beaches of France. There he comes face to face with the alien species known as “mimics” that are killing off the human race, and it’s not long before Cage is killed.
As soon as he dies, he wakes up in the same spot as the day prior in the exact same scenario as before. He is now in a time loop reliving each day over and over every time he dies. He uses the knowledge he has from each previous trip to track down Rita (Emily Blunt), another fellow warrior who has gone through the time loop. There are posters and banners with her face hung all over the city proclaiming her as “Full Metal Bitch”. Rita trains Cage on how to fight these creatures as they work together to find the location of the Omega, the main source of the mimics’ powers.
As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking that it felt like a live action video game. I’m not a huge gamer, but it made me think of those first person high action “shoot ‘em up” games. It fits right in with the time loop idea where you die and start over again in the same spot. I’m assuming that was an intentional choice by director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) because even as non-gamer I understood what they were going for as the story played out. However, the movie is not based on a video game at all. It is adapted from the Japanese light novel “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Light novels are very popular in Japan and are short story graphic novels catered toward young adult readers. The film originally shared the same title as the novel but was changed to the safer and easier to understand “Edge of Tomorrow”. I prefer the original title, but I’m sure that would have driven audiences away from the movie.
The film has a really interesting concept as the time travel keeps you guessing the entire movie. The screenwriters really keep the momentum going as you never know where the movie is going or what’s going to happen next. The audience sees the story unfolding at the same rate the characters put the pieces together. That being said, I still think the film could be shorter. I wish the writers would have wrapped it up a bit quicker. In a high concept film like this, the special effects have to top notch. They are quite impressive and are meant to be seen on a huge screen with a loud sound system like the IMAX so you can be completely immersed in the world. I only saw the film in 2D, but it was the rare time when I wish I had paid the extra money as you can tell there was special attention made to make it enjoyable in 3D.
I’ve been a bit lukewarm on the latest Tom Cruise movies. I thought Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol was fantastic, but Oblivion and Jack Reacher left me wanting more in so many ways. Let’s not forget his turn as rock star Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages, which was fun on a campy level. You can’t deny that he is trying a variety of styles and genres. Tom Cruise is a movie star, and Edge of Tomorrow is another big action packed blockbuster that he is good at delivering. In many movies, his character is always on the pulse of what’s going on. He usually plays the tough guy that can get the job done. His character, William Cage, is the opposite of that. He gets thrown into this combat situation without any knowledge of shooting weapons, wearing those massive full bodied suits, or how to kill the mimics. The screenwriting team of Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth add in some unexpected humor to showcase this character flaw. Emily Blunt pairs quite well with Cruise. We’ve seen her in so many period films and rom-coms like The Five-Year Engagement or The Devil Wears Prada. It’s great to see her step into the action/sci-fi genre, and she proves she is one tough heroine.
Cruise has had a hard time getting audiences to flock to his movies. They play well internationally, but his off-screen antics come into play with American audiences. I’ve talked to many people who can’t separate his personal life from his movies. I have an easier time separating the two personas. I haven’t sworn off the Cruise yet, but I do want him to find another successful movie that will bring back the audience. Edge of Tomorrow is a win for him, but I know that it won’t get the audience it should.
Is it worth your trip to the movies? While it may not appeal to every moviegoer, Edge of Tomorrow took me surprise and is one entertaining ride.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Ticket Stubs