Friday, June 20, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

This review is spoiler-free.

My ticket stub read "Edge of Tom." Cruise. I'm sure there's a good joke in there somewhere...

Groundhog Day goes sci-fi for Tom Cruise's latest action adventure. He is Major William Cage of the US army, and the world is under invasion from evil-seeking extra-terrestrials. He has just convinced millions of people to fight for a worthy cause (if saving the Earth and everyone on it is a good cause) and now, he himself will go and fight with them on the front lines. Wait, what? Actually, the Major is not cut out for that kind of thing -- doesn't even have combat training -- that's why he has the job he does. He can't even stand the sight of blood. Orders are orders, but Cage does everything he can to get out of it. This leads to his waking up on a base in handcuffs. The next day he is at the front of the invasion, not even knowing how to disable the safety on his metal gun-suit. He dies within five minutes. Then he wakes up, on the base, in handcuffs. Again.

Then again. And again. And again. ... etc, etc. This scene happened a lot. The movie's tagline is "Live. Die. Repeat." So you've got the idea, don't you?

Besides the obvious basic comparisons I've already made to the Bill Murray classic, this movie is pretty much its own thing. There are plenty of easy-going, fun and enjoyable sci-fi alien-invasion action flicks out there, but Edge of Tomorrow is basically the epitome of the genre. In the same way Stardust is the epitome of a fantasy adventure. And maybe the genre of "easy-going, fun, sci-fi alien-invasion action flick" is pretty specific, but it's still a classic one. And here it's done better than ever.

And honestly, there's no way it could have succeeded in being up there with the best of the genre without Tom Cruise in the lead. All we have to do is see him and -- poof -- all our lingering disbelief that might hamper our enjoyment of a far-fetched plot disappears. He leads the films in his typical style, but the style of the character makes the film stand apart. You may have noticed it; Cage has no combat training? Can't stand the sight of blood? This is not your typical Cruise, and it's different and amusing to see.

Also, just out of random curiosity, have you ever wanted to see Tom Cruise die over and over again?

Also providing nothing but good, pleasant feelings and uniqueness, is the absolutely fantastic Emily Blunt. She is sharp and cool and collected, and scary, and balances the desperate everyman of Cage wonderfully. With the film taking place in one day (one day over and over, but still) it's hard to get in a satisfactory amount of character development between characters, and while it's done just about as well as it possibly could be, there's still a little left wanting. Still the two make for a great and memorable team.

The both of them are great making everything around them seem more awesome, so really, how could they not be good together?

There are only a few things I wish had been done differently. The repeating for one -- I'm about to draw comparisons with Groundhog Day again. Last time, I promise -- it does get a little tiresome, especially when Cage, about to go through the exact same conversation for the hundredth time tries to derail the subject, but the person stubbornly finds a way to say it anyway. Dialogue is rarely good enough to get away with so many repeats. Groundhog Day (there it is) managed it better, but only just; there isn't much wiggle room available.

Otherwise, there were a few points that didn't make sense, but I haven't a clue on what could've been done about them, as they tangled in with the plot in a completely irresolvable way. And then there were some other points that came across as being very convenient, but the suspension of disbelief that came from the often-shown face of Cruise helped sort those away pretty easily. I really only have one thing I wish for certain were changed -- and this is the closest thing to a spoiler here -- that there had been more anti-climax; and even that it hard to say since the ending was very sharp and modernly stylish.

This is not the end... If you remember the trailer, you might find that amusing -- actually, was anyone else reminded of the turrets from Portal by that robot-y-song? Also, have you noticed how all my photo captions are questions? I noticed that.

The action side was fun, but not particular in any way. Filmed more like a regular war movie with a bit too much shaky-cam than a stylized sci-fi spectacle, so I'm glad I opted for no 3D, but it was choreographed and plotted well, so it was never bothersome or boring. Just a lot of alien fun. And speaking of the aliens -- they were very, very cool.

The whole film was nothing but fast-paced explosive fun. Well, next to nothing at least. A close examination will reveal a twinge of heart and a smattering of thoughtfulness in the drama. But mostly, there's action, and there's fun. And considering the month it was released in, that seems completely appropriate. A summer blockbuster never lacks anything when it checks off all the criteria for fun summer-escapism-with-air-conditioning so confidently. So, let's just say in close that Tom's Edge is still sharp. What? It's the best I could do.

8 comments:

  1. After X-Men and Guardians, Edge of Tomorrow is at the top of the summer movies that I want to see! And it does not sound like it is going to disappoint. Glad to hear you liked it. :) Until all of the early reviews came out, I thought the movie was going to be mediocre since Japanese light novels/manga have never been adapted well into live-action, but it looks like we finally have a good one!

    -James

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it was good and fun, and you'll probably enjoy it. I didn't even know it was a book until I saw it in the credits. I have no idea if it was a "good" adaptation, but it was definitely a good movie!

      Delete
  2. Hehe, that's so funny about your ticket stub. :) I'm glad to hear you liked Edge of Tom; your review definitely made me much more excited about it than I was before (which is good because my brother wants to go see it:)). Nice review! :)

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought so. :D That's good, I hope you do enjoy it when you go! Thanks a bunch! :)

      Delete
  3. You have been nominated for the Sunshine award! Check my blog for the rules. Happy blogging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the nomination, I appreciate it!

      Delete
  4. Good review Sarah. It was a gimmick movie, but at least it was fun for what it was. And honestly, that's all it needed to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! That sums up my thoughts as well. :)

      Delete