It feels just like last year that Tom Cruise was trying his hand at science fiction. Say what? That was last year? Oh … Well, in any case now he’s attempting to save the human race from another extra-terrestrial threat, in the bizarrely titled, Edge of Tomorrow.
I say bizarrely because it’s based on the novella All You Need is Kill. That in itself is an odd title but I kind of like raising a middle finger to grammar every now and then. However, Edge of Tomorrow sounds more like a James Bond movie (it would have taken place right before Tomorrow Never Dies which could have been followed up by Tomorrow is Finally Here and it’s Called Today). Who knows, maybe there is a good reason and one of you can post that in the comment section.
But I digress…
In Edge of Tomorrow, the world has banded together to fight an alien race commonly referred to as Mimics … though the derivation of that name is never explained nor does it make much sense. I also found their design a bit derivative of video games I’ve played and even the look of generic Decepticons in Michael Bay’s parodies of the Transformers. But aesthetic aside, these Mimics have been kicking our butts but hope has arisen in the form of a woman lovingly referred to as Full Metal Bitch (Emily Blunt). She wiped out a whole bunch of them by herself so surely we’re about to win this war … Right?
But where’s Tom Cruise, you ask? (or at least I’m pretending you did.) He’s a semi-pretend Major who isn’t so much a soldier but a promoter, tasked with putting a good spin on the war. Through circumstance in the form of Brendan Gleeson, Cruise finds himself on the front line; which if you’ve seen the trailer, isn’t good for his health. From there it’s up to the audience to buy into the fiction science and up to Cruise and Blunt to stop those pesky aliens.
You may be saying to yourself, “Self, did Ian just write fiction science”? The answer is yes, yes I did. You see, the thing I’m still trying to sort out is whether or not to just accept the explanation the film gives for how Tom Cruise keeps playing Groundhog Day or to throw a temper tantrum and call the script out for effectively doing little more than spouting gibberish.
I haven’t read the source material but from what the Internet tells me (and the Internet never lies), it seems a slight adjustment was made in how the time loop works exactly. That said, I guess the best thing to do for my mental health is let it go. But if you’re the type of person to call shenanigans on seemingly lazy science fiction, I’m guessing you already had other plans when people told you Tom Cruise made another film in the genre.
My other big gripe is the ending. I won’t spoil it for you because I’m a nice guy who genuinely cares that readers don’t feel like their valuable time spent reading my drivel is wasted. The same cannot be said of the screenwriters for the film. Without tipping my hand too much, let’s just say the final few minutes are horse manure and most likely the result of test audiences. I read a synopsis of an earlier draft to this script and while I wouldn’t put that on par with Mamet, it’s far less condescending than what ultimately ended up on screen as the “finished” version.
Negatives aside, the movie is paced quite well and director Doug Liman and his editing team did a good job of visually conveying the time loops so that the audience truly understood what was happening but at the same time were constantly moving forward with the progression of events. Also, for all my bad mouthing, that 8-year old kid in me still enjoys seeing Tom Cruise playing the hero and I’d watch Emily Blunt read the phone book so that element is a no brainer. (And seeing her kick ass reminded me how much better she would have been as the Black Widow in the Marvel movies as was originally intended.)
Additionally, the production and visual effects team did a nice job of presenting futuristic machines and technology while still grounding it in a world not too far removed from our own. More astounding is that the 3D works in this movie! Yes, you just read that sentence. Seriously, if you’re going to see this movie, cough up the extra lung and see it in the third dimension. It’s not the best 3D I’ve seen but it’s effective and adds to the action scenes nicely.
So as you’ve surmised, I don’t hate Edge of Tomorrow. It’s not amazing science fiction and I want the ending cut from the metaphorical film reel and burned. However, if all you want is some action and you haven’t lost the ability to like Tom Cruise, this is a decent diversion and when all is said and done, you should feel like you got what you expected.
Edge of Tomorrow opens in theaters on June 6, 2014 and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.
– Reviewed by Ian Forbes
Follow Us On: