By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Though this movie will not score any points for originality of premise or even in the design of its futuristic tech, it does have enough going for it to make a fine entertainment piece for the movie goers who enjoy summer blockbuster fare. Director Doug Liman and screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, and Jez and John Butterworth adapt Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel, All You Need is Kill and have made a fun, thrilling and explosive sci fi actioner that should please most audiences. Despite its obvious inspirations from previous films, Liman and his writers have included enough inventive wit, humor and intensity to the film to set it apart from other similar stories.
Edge of Tomorrow takes place in the near future during a major catastrophic war between humanity and alien invaders known as Mimics. Tom Cruise stars as Major John Cage, a military PR man who receives orders from General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) to take a camera crew to the battlefront and cover their surprise attack on the beaches of France. Having no previous combat experience, Cage is totally out of his element and gets killed rather quickly, or so the audience is led to believe. As soon as Cage dies, he awakens to discover that his day has started all over again. After reliving the same day several times, he starts attempting to prevent the deaths of his squad members as well as the war hero Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). After one particular attempt, Vrataski realizes that Cage knows what is going to happen before it does and that he has the ability to start the day over. Upon this realization, Vrataski tells Cage to contact her when he wakes up. With the ability to repeat the day, Cage and Vrataski attempt to end the war once and for all.
There really is much to love in this exciting science fiction war tale. The filmmakers behind this movie have made some incredible and intense action sequences that look truly amazing on the big screen. Liman and his crew, particularly cinematographer Dion Beebe, editor James Herbert, and the highly talented effects team have created some of the most strikingly realistic images captured in a science fiction movie. Not a single moment looks fake or artificial. The 3D effects actually look descent. I strongly recommend that people go see this on an IMAX screen, because there is no substitute.
Aside from the eye candy, McQuarrie and his cowriters do a great job developing the characters. I have not read the book on which this movie is based; therefore, I cannot honestly give proper credit where it may be due. I don’t know how much originality McQuarrie and the Butterworths added to Sakurazaka’s story. With as much praise that I have bestowed on this film, one might ask me why I only gave this film a three star rating. I am a stickler for originality. Most of Edge of Tomorrow plays out like Groundhog Day in an alien invasion. Cage, like Phil Connors (Bill Murray), improves himself as he repeats the day, becoming a better soldier, and he gets to know his female lead very well. The humor behind this scenario develops quite easily and like Groundhog Day, some moments get overplayed a bit.
I think my biggest gripe with the film also has to do with the tech which looks lifted off of an assortment of other science fiction movies. I see a little of Terminator, Starship Troopers, and The Matrix. I particularly see The Matrix‘s inspiration in the design of some of the Mimics which look strikingly similar to the sentinels. One might consider my complaints a bit petty and nitpicky, but I love to be wowed at the cinema and recycled plots and designs rarely have this effect on me.
I will praise the filmmakers for keeping the movie interesting, gripping and entertaining despite the rehashed material and I must also praise Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt for delivering outstanding performances. I also enjoyed supporting cast members Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, and Noah Taylor in their respective supporting roles. Not one weak link exists in the cast. This element and the writing are especially important in elevating a movie above cheap b-movie entertainment. Nothing about this film is cheap whatsoever.
Still, I think this movie will make some serious money in return for what was invested. I must highly recommend that people seek out this movie and pay to see it at least as a matinee. This film could be the intro to a new and exciting film franchise and if the same filmmakers and stars return, they could possibly produce a sequel that outshines this first installment. I must also encourage my readers to pay a little extra to see in in IMAX 3D. The experience is totally worth it.