If you read my previous review of All You Need Is Kill, you may be wondering what the movie Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise, has in common with its source. Well, they both deal with time loops, and there is a passing similarity between the characters and place names.
And that’s about it.
There were a lot of flaws in the original book which the movie fixed by resetting the story, but not without introducing its own problems. Then again, it’s a time travel movie. There are always problems with time travel movies. That doesn’t stop Edge of Tomorrow from being one of the better sci-fi films of last year.
Major William Cage, a former ad exec now turned public relations officer, has been given the worst assignment of his life. Mimics have been devastating Europe for six years after arriving via a meteor strike. The world has gathered its forces together in England to storm the beaches of France to push the aliens back. General Brigham wants Cage on the front line shooting patriotic footage. Cage declines, then when pressed, threatens to smear Brigham in the news unless he countermands his order. After Cage tries to flee arrest, he is knocked out and wakes up as a grunt on the front line the day before the push, set up by Brigham to be slaughtered on the battlefield.
Of course, Cage dies in battle. He is comically unprepared for combat. However, before dying, he manages to kill a special Mimic that covers him in blue blood. Then he wakes up as a grunt on the front line the day before the push.
Time and again, Cage dies, but slowly he starts to get better and better (which is the premise used by Sakurazaka in the book, about extending this gameplay mechanic into real life). He meets Vrataski, the battle-hardened full metal “herminahumm“. She recognizes what has happened to Cage, trains him, and together they try to alter the future by changing the past within a very tiny time loop. Live. Die. Repeat.
The graphics are top notch, as you would expect from a blockbuster movie. Of particular interest to me were the automated jackets—their mecha suits—that turned soldiers into super soldiers. The supporting characters are delightfully eccentric and entertaining. In addition, the unbelievable romance between Vrataski and Cage in the book was avoided in Edge of Tomorrow. The writers wisely decided that romance was one thing too many, though they allowed Cage to develop a one-sided love, which was far more realistic when involving a battle weary, tough as nails soldier such as Vrataski.
Especially delightful was the transformation of Cage from schmuck to super warrior. There were many scenes where he appeared almost god-like in his ability to predict the events around him. The complicated and time-consuming nature of this talent was illustrated when Vrataski and Cage tried over and over and over again to get off that beach and into France to strike at the alien Omega.
Unfortunately, there were times where characters were allowed to know things from previous loops that they shouldn’t have known in the current one. I imagine this was for expediency’s sake. Also, just because Cage knows more each time doesn’t mean that his weak, civilian body can suddenly handle the stresses of war training. Lastly, the ending felt as if it had been twisted into a knot in order to find a happy resolution, but it didn’t make much sense.
These flaws aside, Edge of Tomorrow was entertaining science fiction and proof that Tom Cruise can still command the screen. There were far more pluses than minuses in this film. I definitely recommend watching it.
Release Date: June 6, 2014 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (recreational)
Language: 3 (obligatory PG-13 f-word, plus s-words and other mild oaths)
Violence: 3 (brutal violence, death, wartime action, explosions, blood, injuries, repeated suicide, repeated assisted suicide)