Dee Discusses: Edge of Tomorrow

Posted: June 9, 2014 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Movies, New Movies, Reviews
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There are spoilers in this review. Lots of them.

When I saw the preview for this movie, I thought it looked like a basic science fiction movie. I do love Emily Blunt so I gave it a few more seconds thought than usual, but quickly forgot about it. I didn’t like Oblivion, Tom Cruise’s last science fiction movie, so I was skeptical. I started reading reviews of critics I usually agree with, and friends who I know have similar tastes liked it. So I went what the hell. I was told it was like The Matrix meets Groundhog Day or something like that, and it is an apt comparison, mostly because the aliens reminded us a lot of the Matrix aliens. Very creepy. Tom Cruise is a weird subject for me, because I don’t like him too much, I don’t like his interviews, he seems like a tool. But I tend to like his movies, or at least consider them enjoyable. He’s a decent actor. I like that he does as many of his stunts as possible. If I was an actor I would want to too, I’d just use all their resources to become a badass. I wonder if Emily Blunt kept that in mind too. Emily Blunt’s been trying to get into action movies for a long time, having been in the last few stages of Black Widow before. This is Edge of Tomorrow, and it is in fact pretty much an alien invasion Groundhog Day. And that’s a good thing. Now I really want to watch Groundhog Day.

Also an embarrassing note I’ve decided to own: I can’t hear this title without thinking of Saved By The Bell: The College Years. Shut up. No regrets. “I’m standing at the edge of tomorrow … today!”

Tom Cruise plays smarmy William Cage, a spokesperson for the army who got the title of Major by smiling pretty and going around encouraging people to join up. He doesn’t have any actual field combat abilities. The world is being dominated by an alien species, and they’re positive that this one big push in France will help gain some ground for humanity. Emily Blunt plays Rita Vrataski, a famous soldier and leader who saved the day during the last big battle, the only one the humans ever successfully won. After angering a General who made him go to the front lines, Cage is forced into the army as a private and declared a deserter. He has no combat training, he doesn’t know how to use the mech armor, and he stumbles around. The soldiers are annihilated; it seems like the aliens (Mimics they’re called) were waiting for them. While fighting, Cage sees Rita die in front of him, and he then sacrifices his life to kill one of the biggest and scariest looking Mimics, called Alphas. He immediately wakes up back at the base, at the beginning of the day when he was grabbed by Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton). This happens repeatedly and every time he dies, he ends up in the same spot. No matter how much he begs everyone to believe him, and points out information they could have never known, they refuse to and he ends up in the same spot. At one point he reveals to Rita that he knows what is going to happen, and she seems to understand what happened, telling him to find her when he wakes up.

Cage dies a few more times trying to get to her, learning each time about the world around him, and he convinces her that he has the ability to relive the same day. She had it too, before the battle where she saved the day. When the Alpha is killed, its blood mingles with human blood and gives them temporarily the power to ‘restart.’ It’s an ability the Mimics have, and it’s why they always win their fights, because they know what will happen and restart when things look back for them. They need to find the Omega, the power source that all the Mimics are on, and the only way to do that is to kill Cage enough times he starts getting visions. Meanwhile he becomes  a badass, training with Rita and she kills him every time he gets injured. Yeowch. It causes some real hilarity and almost slapstick humor. Eventually they grow closer, although she only knows him that one day each time, and it wears on him, watching everyone die. They get fooled into thinking they found the Omega, and it turns out this was always a trap, Rita was fooled into thinking she saved the day in the last battle. They plan on destroying the rest of humanity after this battle.

They do find a way to transmit something that brings them to the Omega, that one I don’t get too much, but their scientist friend says it’s back in headquarters. The problem is when Cage is drained of blood and given new human blood, he loses the ability to respawn. That happened to Rita. They find the Omega and have to convince the J-Squad, Cage’s squad he’s assigned to, to go on a covert suicidal mission to stop the Mimics. Obviously they win the day but the two of them die in the process. In a complete coincidence that doesn’t really make sense under observation, Cage’s blood mingles with an Alpha as they both die, and he respawns at the beginning of the day before he’s demoted. He gets to meet Rita for real and smiles brightly at her, ending the movie. A lot of people are complaining about the ending, and I don’t blame them, because the rules in this science fiction world are specifically assigned. The Alphas are able to respawn because the Omega does it for them. If he was respawned, the Omega would have to do it, thus making all the Mimics alive and restart the day themselves. So why? Because they wanted a happy ending, guys! They can rationalize it all they want, they wanted a happy ending to the movie, so they sprinkled magic movie dust and said accept it.

edge_of_tomorrow_2014_movie-wide

And you know what? I do. Every once and awhile where’s a plot hole and I just go eh, you know what, it’s a solid ending, I’m going to give it to them. It’s not like Groundhog Day ever had a real explanation for why he suddenly stopped reliving the day, outside of “he became a better person.” Cage certainly needed to go through a transformation himself, since he started out being arrogant and irritating. I acknowledge that’s a big question, but I enjoyed it, so I’m letting it go. It’s a fun movie. It’s a lot funnier than I realized it would be, which is what I think sets it apart from a lot of science fiction movies right now. I love when they have a sense of humor about the ridiculous things going on. We see so many of Cage’s respawns and I laughed hard during the training montage. Emily Blunt was fantastic as Rita, I never questioned for a minute that she was dangerous and serious and brilliant. She’s charming too, although guarded, and I bought into their chemistry. While the Mimics did remind me of the Matrix aliens, they were extremely creepy in the way they moved. I’m not sure what they based that design off of, I assume it’s something insect-like, but all their spiderly legs and how they were so fast, that was interesting to watch. The actual shooting of them seemed basic. Bill Paxton was pretty funny as the Sergeant, his expressions were spot on, although the rest of the team was somewhat bland. But likable too, in a general way.

Visually I don’t think it was extraordinary, the design wasn’t what I’d call inspired, it was based in our world so it took places like London, Paris, etc. It was desolate, although that’s intentional, since it’s the end of the world as they know it. What really sold this movie was the strength of the leads and the ‘twist’ of him respawning. The explanation was direct and they didn’t waste too much time with exposition. I think they trusted the audience to keep up, and that’s rare in these big budget films. The tone of the movie was unique, and I came out feeling good. It’s not award winning material, but it’s entertaining and just unique enough to stick in my mind. Emily Blunt in more action movies, please! She was great. Also keep letting Tom Cruise do comedy, he’s actually very good at it. It’s a good spring/summer popcorn flick, I recommend it!

Okay now I need to see Groundhog Day.

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Comments
  1. […] he might be a weird person in real life, but he’s a decent actor. I talked about this in my Edge of Tomorrow review, and it’s relevant to this movie in particular. That being said, I was not impressed […]

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