Release date: 6/6/2014
Dir. Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise (Cage), Emily Blunt (Rita), Brendan Gleeson (General Brigham), Bill Paxton (Master Sargeant Farrell), Jonas Armstrong (Skinner)
After the disaster that was Oblivion last year, I didn’t have high hopes for another eye candy Tom Cruise science fiction film. Not to mention that I;m not a big Tom Cruise fan to begin with, but Edge of Tomorrow caught my attention in ways that many films just don’t. Then when I started to see more footage and trailers I got a Groundhog Day meets District 9 in the form of a war film and my interest was piqued further. So walking in to the theatre I was filled with both excitement and nerves. Walking out, I was glad I went along for the journey the film took me on. It was engaging and exciting. Sure, there could have been more character development for the others, but the entire premise of the film prevented that. While many people are sure to see The Fault in Our Stars, I highly recommend that you go for Edge of Tomorrow for a damn fun time.
Will Cage was in the ROTC and when the aliens, known as mimics, invade Earth, he is propelled into a military position. When Cage was recruited by the United Defense Force, he attempts to flee the role as he is not remotely combat ready. Even still, he is forcibly recruited to be on the front lines on an attack that is supposed to be easy pickings. However, his fleeing as demoted him from the role of Major to a private and he is flung into a combat role. Upon hitting the field he struggles and is eventually killed absorbing the blood of a mimic.
Cage doesn’t stay dead, but revives at the moment that he awoke on base initially. Cage is forced to relive the day until he learns from the Angel of Verdun, Rita, that what is happening to him happened to her before. Together they train, day in and day out he is killed and they reset. All the while, they learned how to make it and eventually locate the Omega, the one mimic they need to destroy to stop all of the mimics. Unfortunately, an injury causes Cage to lose his ability to use the mimic’s power and he can no longer reset time. In a ballsy attempt, with a ragtag crew, Rita, and himself, they manage to destroy the Omega, but at the loss of all of their lives.
/End Plot Summary
The film wasted no time throwing us into the new world that was conceived. Through reports and images we quickly learn that mimics crash landed in Germany and spread throughout all of Europe. Humanity was being pushed to the brink and soon London was to be invaded. The threat was high and humans were desperate and you really felt that desire. Even as we moved through the film we progressively saw how hungry people were to destroy mimics. They had ruined millions of lives in their wake. The film did a truly great job of portraying what was left of Europe. It was no more than barren wastelands, abandoned vehicles, and destroyed landmarks.
The arc for Will was very well done. He was a slimy bastard at the beginning of the film. Entirely spineless, ready to run from duty at the first sign that he might possible harm a hair on his body. Walking in to join J Squad he didn’t even know how to take off the safety on his exoskeleton and everyone around him was certain to give him shit. We got to see his progression, not just from a bumbling fighter to a world class fighter, but also as a person who was willing to step up to the plate and fight for the survival of those around him. He became more than an active participant who was forced to relive the same day. He was proactive, but also caring. His affection for Rita grew, but he never let that hinder them.
While Will’s progress was great, I still can’t fully understand why he was forced into the position anyway. Yes, Will was the public face of the US military and yes they assumed that the attack would be easy, but why send out a public figure to document the front. That decision didn’t make any sense to me. he was a major and sure his behavior was off putting it wasn’t as though they were running low on people. It was the final assault presumably. It felt very clearly contrived in order to have a fish out of water situation as he learned to fight and eventually became humanity’s savior.
The characters in the film were a lot of fun to watch as they interacted with Will. Bill Paxton seemed to really get into his role of Master Sargeant Farrell and really laid it on. It was a privilege to watch him on screen in the role as she seemed to revel in the character. Same thing goes for Tom Cruise who seemed to sink his feet into the smarmy nature of Will, while also delivering when he had to have more tender and heroic moments with Rita. The others really stood out as well as you got to know J Squad. Despite the fact that they didn’t have a lot of on screen time, you really felt how they were a band of misfits who were just trying to do their job the best they possibly could. Each one of them felt unique and real in their own way, well most of them.
Then there was Rita. It was great to see a character like her on screen. She truly was a depiction of a strong woman that could hold her own and didn’t rely on men unnecessarily. It is refreshing to see that sort of dynamic on screen. It was Rita who trained Will and she was the one who managed to piece things together. Sure, some people may say that a character like Katniss is similar, but there was something refreshing about Rita.
Groundhog Day scenarios have been done time and time again over the years. Edge of Tomorrow manages to take that concept, apply it to a science fiction premise and then execute it in an engaging way that doesn’t become redundant. Rather than reliving the same thing over and over again, we see how Will swerves in his actions after he learns new things. It was also well done the way they merged his repetitions so as we didn’t always need to see the resets. We would transition from Will not knowing the situation to suddenly having experienced it enough times to know how to progress further through the events. This kept things interesting and allowed for the plot to flow smoothly.
The film also managed to balance, the action with humorous moments. Sure, the film was very action heavy and it kept it interesting and flowing, but it was great to see those humorous moments shine. Tom Cruise delivered when it was his time to make the audience laugh. In fact, every one did. There were only two moments I remember where a joke fell a bit flat. That bit of humor helped offset the grim nature of the film effectively.
I generally do not like 3D, despite being forced to watch the format many times in situations which I could careless about it. Edge of Tomorrow was one of those films. However, there was one moment that stood out as particularly well done as it elicited a feeling of true falling. Look out for the first time as Will descends from the carrier as he is falling to the beach. It was the only moment that stood out to me and not in a bad way.
While, I didn’t have very high hopes for the movie, it left me entirely satisfied. Not just that, but I wanted to see more of the battle. I wanted to see more of the struggles and even Rita’s story as she went through the same thing as Will leading her to become the Angel of Verdun. As a science fiction film, it was highly enjoyable even if certain aspects were a little bit muddled. It was also nice to see a strong female lead and a film that didn’t even have a real romantic subplot. It was a lot of good fun and I’m sure people will enjoy it.
What did you think of the movie?