Edge of Tomorrow – the review

Originally titled “All You Need is Kill,” based on the novel of the same name by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, “Edge of Tomorrow” is a time bending, science-fiction, war movie starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It’s rated PG-13 and runs about 113 minutes.

I saw it in Dolby 3D, which was marginally better than the Real-3D that I saw X-Men in recently. I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. 3D is a gimmick, mostly useless, often detrimental (as evidenced by the need to reboot the projector for this showing five minutes in), and generally providing nothing that a good, high-quality 2D image doesn’t give. And, I might add, 3D doesn’t handle high-speed panning and spinning very well. Just sayin’.

So, Edge of Tomorrow….

Is it any good? Let’s talk about it and see.

First, the movie is very ambitious. I can only imagine how great the original illustrated novel is.

One part Saving Private Ryan, one part Groundhog Day, one part Starship Troopers. and one part grief counseling, EoT tries like hell to blend these elements together, and it is, for the most part, successful.

Tom Cruise plays Major Cage, a PR person trying to sell the war against the “mimics,” who arrived on earth after an asteroid crash and look like a mass of tentacles fresh out of Guillermo Del Toro’s nightmare. They are so-named because they have been decimating the human armies by being able to mimic, or even predict, our attack strategies. Human losses had been catastrophic, with most of Europe falling before a victory at Verdun, when Rita Vrataski (played by Emily blunt), a new soldier wearing one of the “jackets,” the powered exoskeleton featured so prominently in the trailers, kills hundreds of mimics as the United Defense Force appears to win the day.

Their victory fresh on their minds, the UDF plans a massive re-invasion of the continent (a la D-Day), and Major Cage is sent to the front by the UDF High Commander (Played by Brendan Gleeson). Original intended to be sent to film a low-threat landing area, Cage attempts to blackmail the General to avoid going to the front, only to be stripped of his rank and dropped in the prep area as a Private, waking up in handcuffs atop a pile of duffle bags.

Unable to convince Master Sergeant Farrell (played by a scenery-chewing Bill Paxton) that he is an officer and not a deserter as his papers suggest (nice job, General!), Cage is dropped unceremoniously on the beach, where he watches what was supposed to be a low-threat landing become a full-scale ambush by the mimics. When, after killing a mimic with a claymore mine, Cage is drenched in mimic blood as he dies, he awakens back on the pile of duffle bags.

Confusion reigns for the first few attempts Cage makes at getting through the beach landing alive, always dying and awakening atop the pile of duffle bags, but it isn’t until he encounters Rita on the battlefield and tries to explain what is happening to him that he gets it. When she tells him to “Find me when you wake up,” the movie finally gets going.

Rita informs Cage that the mimics have the ability to “reset the day” when they lose, which explains why they have been so successful against the human armies. They simply call a “do-over” until they win. At Verdun, Rita experienced the same transfer of the mimics’ power after killing the variant of mimic she calls the “Alpha.” With that ability, much like Cage, she was able to reset the battle of Verdun until the UDF could achieve victory, because the mimics could not use the power once she had it. She lost the power when she was saved from death by a massive blood transfusion, since the power is apparently housed in the Alpha’s blood.

The downside, of course, is that Cage has to die in order to reset the day.

What is needed for ultimate victory is to destroy the “Omega,” which is the leader of the mimics.

What follows is a training montage of Cage being beaten by Rita and repeatedly killed in the assault as they attempt to plan a way off the beach in order to search for the Omega.

During this time, Cage evolves from an ad-man weasel, to a combat soldier, to—finally—a battle-hardened vet, finally accepting that he cannot save everyone. Cruise pulls off this transition quite nicely, actually. In one scene he perfectly embodies the 1000-yard stare and sunken visage of a man grown so tired of war, yet unable to stop it, that he looks as though he would literally sacrifice the planet in order to achieve some peace.

There are some logical holes in the film, though. As in any time-travel movie (see my review of X-Men: Days of Future Past), this is inevitable, but the ending of EoT is so far out of bounds of the logical rules that have been established throughout as to leave a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Another issue I had with the film is that, at times, it seemed to ramp up the camp/silly factor during the training/killing/rebooting sequences almost to the point of ridiculousness. This is not a comedy, but it forgot that a bit from time to time, perhaps to pander to the “PG-13” crowd.

But don’t those things and that inevitable nice, clean, “Hollywood” ending, discourage you. This is a good film, and I recommend it.

Just not in 3D.

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