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Edge of Tomorrow

What She said:

She

I’m not sure at what point The Edge of Tomorrow was loosely renamed Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, but it seems it’s been heavily marketed that way with its DVD release.  This doesn’t really affect my review of the movie, but I found it somewhat curious.  Moving forward…

The Edge of Tomorrow is billed as an epic sci-fi action film, and it stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, with Bill Paxton playing a secondary character.  It’s one of those “go big or go home” types of movie—loud, filled with action, and kind of an overload for the senses.  However, the storyline is fairly simple, which is essential in this case because everything else about the film is so spectacular.

Edge of Tomorrow

Let me tell you a little bit about the plot.  Major William Cage is an officer in the U.S. military who has never actually seen any frontline combat.  He’s mostly a public relations guy—a face for the military.  And he’s quite good at his job.  Anyway, the world is in the midst of a large scale war against alien invaders called the Mimics who have set up shop in continental Europe.  Militaries from a whole bunch of countries have come together to create this United Defense Force, which is about to make a huge push forward on the beaches of France (ala World War II D-Day).  General Brigham, head of the UDF, wants Major Cage to cover the assault, but Cage is terrified by the notion.  As punishment for his insubordination, General Brigham strips Cage of his officer status and sends him in to the combat as a private.  This does not work out too well for Cage.  It doesn’t take long before an alien explodes over him and he’s melted by its blood. 

However, this isn’t the end for Cage.  Upon dying, he wakes up the previous morning and starts the cycle of combat over.  Cage realizes that he’s somehow become trapped, reliving the battle over and over.  On the upside, he’s able to become a pretty good soldier—honing his skills like the player in a video game.  However, any way he slices it, he keeps dying and has to relive the trauma of war over and over.

Cage comes across Sergeant Rita Vrataski in battle, a well-known female assassin.  He saves her life, knowing how she’s going to be cut-down in combat.  Vrataski recognizes Cage’s ability to know the future, and tells him to come find her when he regenerates.  And that’s exactly what Cage does.  He learns that Vrataski once had the same ability, which enabled her to slay some serious Mimic butt at Verdun (a WWI reference).  Unfortunately, she was NOT fatally wounded during one of her cycles, and received a blood transfusion, at which point she lost the ability to replicate.  Now, if she’s killed, she simply dies forever.  But this also made her realize that it’s the Mimic blood that caused her, and currently causes Cage, to reincarnate.  Alpha Mimics have this ability to reset time, which gives them an advantage in combat.

Edge of Tomorrow

Teaming up with Vrataski and Dr. Carter, a scientist and expert on Mimics, Cage tries to use his ability to their advantage, tapping into the Mimic’s hive mentality to locate and destroy the Omega.  It’s not an easy task, and Cage and crew die over and over.  Fortunately, as long as Cage retains his ability to reset time, the group can keep at it and move closer to success.  But they’re on borrowed time, because eventually fate cannot be circumvented.

I made some of the details here vague just so that we could move past the plot description.  It’s really not that complicated, but it’s tough to describe.  Just watch the movie and you’ll find out all the ooey gooey details of the storyline.  What you really need to know is that Cage and Vrataski are trying their darndest to save the world, but it’s really, really hard.  And so, like someone playing a tough video game, they are forced to start over time and time again. 

I like the notion of this—a real life video game where the stakes are higher than usual.  I mean, all of humanity is at stake this time.  Generally, I enjoyed the storyline of this movie. However, one thing bugged me a little, and it was just a tiny detail that irked me.  So, if Vrataski and Cage lose their ability to replicate once they end up having blood transfusions, how do they know they lost the ability?  I mean, the only way to know is to die and NOT replicate, right?  So yeah, how Vrataski knew that she had lost her ability to re-spawn confused me.  However, I’m also dense enough that perhaps they offered a feasible explanation for it and I simply missed it.

So, what did I think of the movie?  It wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t the best film ever, but I generally enjoyed it.  I think one issue that The He will also point out is that the intensity of the action was to the point of becoming mind numbing.  The sensory overload kicked in, and so there were times where I sort of zonked out—similar to what I so often do when I’m driving, but I guess I shouldn’t admit to that.  The repeating thing also got a bit boring.  I mean, it walked a fine line.  I knew this could possibly be an issue.  The filmmakers have to show the constant repeating for story reasons, but it’s not exactly the most exciting thing.  But they tried to overcome this challenge by injecting some humor into the situations.

Edge of Tomorrow

I actually really appreciated some of the comedy in this film.  Comedy may not be the right description.  There’s quirky humor.  Not slap your knee and laugh comedy.  But it is effective in lightening the mood of the movie and reminding us that the film is not meant to be taken too seriously.  I think the filmmakers want this to be a little bit comic-booky and satirical.  I’m not sure they fully achieved that, though, as the action sequences are so intense that it’s hard to carry that vibe.  However, the jokes that we do see on screen are welcomed and refreshing.

Another plus was the acting of both Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.  I think that Cruise was actually very good for his role, and I like when he plays characters who are a little cowardly.  Let me put it this way—it’s works better with his real-life size.  You can’t always be the fearless superhero when you’re only 5’6”-ish.  But he actually turns into a pretty decent warrior, and a better person.  In some ways, this was a coming-of-age film for Cruise’s character, and he did a good job of conveying the guy’s struggle.  Blunt was solid and terrifying diesel.  I can certainly believe her as an alien assassin.  She was in remarkable shape for this film, and does a good job of conveying someone who is deeply affected, and yet outwardly shrugs off death.  She’s definitely war-weathered.

The characters in this movie are surprisingly deep, and I think that’s another benefit of the film.  I’ve been complaining a lot lately about films that have shallow characters, and how the result are people on screen who I’m not interested in supporting or investing myself in.  That’s not the case here.  Both Cage and Vrataski are fairly complex, and that helps to magnify the intensity of the story.

The big downside with this film is what I’ve mentioned before—too much action and too much repeating.  It’s not that long, but the action sequences can feel way too drawn out.  The combat is extremely grand—amplified by the combat suits that our soldiers wear and their ability to make them super human.  I’d almost rather the superhuman suits not exist entirely, which would help make things feel a little more realistic. 

If you can get through all the action, this movie is not too bad.  It’s a fun departure from some of the total flops I’ve seen lately, and Tom Cruise has definitely made a solid comeback as an actor.

Thumbs mostly up.

Edge of Tomorrow

What He said:

He

What the hell is the name of this movie? I remember that it was first called All You Need is Kill way back, because I remember posting images for it on our site. I also remember reporting that the title has been changed to Edge of Tomorrow. These things happened, I remember reading and reporting on them. But somewhere along the line, somebody changed the named to Live, Die, Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. I have no idea when or why – though I think it was sometime between theatrical and DVD/Blu-ray release.

A race of aliens has invaded Europe and humanity united and has been fighting a war with these creatures for several years.

Tom Cruise is Major William Cage. Cage is pretty much a glorified PR man. He makes propaganda videos to get the media, public, and military hyped about the war. He exists to raise morale. General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) thinks Cage’s skills would help even more if he were to show some footage from the war itself. He tells Cage that he is to report from the frontlines. Cage objects to this and actually threatens to blackmail Brigham with his connections and PR skills. Brigham does not take kindly to this and has him sent to Heathrow Airport – where the next attack is about to launch.

Cage tries to explain that he isn’t supposed to be there – that he’s not even technically military. Master Sergeant Farrell says that is exactly what he was told Cage would say. He pulls out some paperwork that explains Cage is a deserter and would say anthing to get out of his duty. This is of course untrue, but the paperwork comes from General Brigham, and Farell does not question it.

Edge of Tomorrow

Cage tries to escape and is actually knocked unconscious. He awakens inside one of the mechanical suits the military uses to fight the alien invaders. He’s strapped inside a drop ship that is about to literally drop him and thousands of other soldiers onto a beach, where the latest battles is located. It’s a disaster. Cage and his entire platoon is killed. Just about everybody is killed.

Right before he’s killed though, something happens to him and he develops the ability to relive the same day over and over again. Each time he dies, he goes back to the same point in time, which is before the attack is launched. He tries everything. He runs away, he memorizes what happens on the beach, hones his skills in his robotic suit, but it all fails.
He even enlists help from super bad-ass solider, Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). He manages to convince her of his Ground Hog esque experience and the two of them form a plan. They make progress, but both end up dying each time and Cage is forced to start over again.

I remember when the images and later trailers came out for this movie, the She thought it looked pretty dumb. I thought it looked ok and was willing to give it a chance. I was surprised when the movie came out and this movie got really good reviews.

Edge of Tomorrow

Something happened though and it happened very early into the movie. From the first time the humans invaded the beach, I was leery. The action was…well it was boring. It was very big and fast, but very anti-climatic. This movie went from a 0-10 in an instant and did this over-and-over throughout the movie. There was no build up or tension. There was storyline then BAM really over-the-top, in your face, but boring action. The story nor the characters were anything special, but I was ok with that. This was a summer blockbuster,  I didn’t have to have the most interesting characters in the world. Hell, some of them were pretty cliché and it didn’t even bother me. The boring actin did though. There is no bigger way to zap my interest in a movie then to have bad action. Once I saw the pattern, I was checked out. Nothing else mattered. I was bored. Period.  I didn’t want to be either, I was excited this movie got good reviews. I wanted to like it. I just didn’t.

Of the two alien invasion movies Tom Cruise has done the last few years, I thought Oblivion was better.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was writtne for your reading pleasure on October 17, 2014.

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