Sunday, June 15, 2014

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow, based off Hiroshi Sakurazaka's 2004 novel All You Need is Kill (available now on Kindle for only $6.99!), is a sci-fi military time loop adventure that succeeds because of its internal consistency, terrific graphics and soundtrack, and the charisma of its two leads. It also combines moments of levity with a grim look at what repeatedly reliving war does to someone.

Plot: Five years into an invasion by silicon-based aliens called Mimics, smarmy US officer Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is sent to the front lines wearing the latest technology credited with allowing soldiers with minimal training to defeat the enemy. The poster child for the suits--called "Jackets" in the novel--is Rita Vratasky (Emily Blunt), a veteran called "The Angel of Verdun," aka The Full Metal Bitch. Cage manages to kill one of the enemy during the fighting, and dies in the process. Then he wakes up yesterday, before his deployment, and has to relive that day and the battle over and over again. Eventually, he learns that Rita knows what happened to him, and she wants his help in ending the alien threat.

The strong writing propels the story along at a brisk pace. And someone with Cruise's charisma needed to be cast in this role, because Cage starts out as an unlikeable coward. He becomes less comically incompetent as he relives each day, and with Rita's training he becomes a better soldier and even a better human. Tropes abound, of course--the hardass Master Sergeant, the squad of misfits--but they're kept to a minimum, since the movie is laser-focused on Cage. Alas, this also means that it fails the Bechdel test.

Although the entire premise of the film requires all disbelief to be placed in a bottle and checked at the door, the decisions made by the lead character are believable and fuel his growth. There's one particular turning point that really demonstrated how much he's learned: when he realizes that he needs to go it alone to get the job done. And then...dun dun DUNNN...TWIST! ...Not to be revealed in this post.

TL;DR: Highly recommended, watch it in 3D if you prefer.

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