Living on the Edge of Tomorrow
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- if Tom Cruise is crazy, how far behind him am I? Because no matter what he does (and really, he hasn’t done much in the way of crazy since the whole Katie Holmes thing), he picks some awesome projects, and I end up loving his flicks.
When it comes to the sci-fi genre, Cruise has a list of impressive movies in his filmography including Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Oblivion, and the newest one- Edge of Tomorrow. I’m here to tell you, his latest offering might be doing the worst box office of his career, but it is deserving of the best. Edge of Tomorrow is a great addition to Cruise’s film library, and also in the tapestry of recent sci-fi.
By now you’ve had to have heard the comparisons between this movie and the Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day. I will concede similarity in gimmick, only if everyone else agrees this is the offspring of that film and Starship Troopers. Basically that’s the plot. Cruise plays an a-hole coward, William Cage, who gets drafted into a war with some aliens and dies, because he is such a cowardly lion. Upon his death, having actually vanquished one of those dastardly aliens, Cage wakes up the morning he arrived at the forward operating base from where he was sent to die in the first place.
Seems he killed a rare specimen of the alien species, and its blood allows the day to “reset” when Cage is killed. This ability is what allows the aliens to learn from their mistakes and kick the living shit out of the human race. Cruise’s character wastes no time in trying to warn the comrades that despise him of their various deaths, altering their fates several times over.
In this aspect is where the character ultimately shows his true colors. Not only does he not want others to die, but he starts to try to plot out ways in which he can turn the tide of the very bloody ass-handing the humans face on a European beach. Though he does try to give his ability away to fellow soldier Rita (Emily Blunt), once Cage realizes it’s his to possess, he’s a pretty accepting cat to the point he actively tries to avoid losing the power.
The flick is basically a live action video game, but does take some time to raise questions about time, fate, and free will. It doesn’t dwell on these too much or really answer them, but it doesn’t really have time to, either. In the heat of battle it isn’t long before Cage dies (sometimes in a hilarious way), and reawaken to start it all over again.
There’s nothing new here, but the movie is well written and director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) keeps things moving. Not to mention the flick is well acted. Cruise does his thing as usual, and Blunt is increasingly fun to watch in the roles she takes. There’s also some fun supporting parts filled in by cult faves Bill Paxton and Tony Todd.
The film loses a bit of its luster in the final stretch when the big final mission gets under way, and the ending will probably have you scratching your head to figure out how it worked out the way it did. I’m still trying to think if I might have missed something that would help it make sense. But the movie is so much fun up to then I’m not really letting it bother me too much.
Final Verdict- See it. In the theater. This movie is one of the only genre pictures this summer to not be a sequel or a reboot, and unfortunately pions in the mass audience may push Hollywood away from doing more of this kind of thing. Edge of Tomorrow deserves better than what it’s getting, and I hope the final weeks in theaters and its life on disc or download give it more success.