Edge of Tomorrow


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Seriously…. Pick a Title.

Edge of Tomorrow is a Sci Fi War movie about a public relations officer learning the power of the do-over. It is the 3rd in my Tom Cruise Trifecta along with Oblivion and Jack Reacher.

The film is based on the Japanese graphic novel “All You Need is Kill” by Yoshitoshi ABe. That name didn’t test well with audiences so it was changed to Edge of Tomorrow; the film did not blow up the box offices and it would seem that the home release is being marketed under Live. Die. Repeat which was the tag line for the movie. There was a similar story a few years back on how “A Princess of Mars” eventually became to be called “John Carter”. The cliff notes on both of these incidents is that movie executives are jack asses.

Adapted for the screen by Christopher McQuarrie (of Jack Reacher fame) and Directed by Doug Liman. It Stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson and the best Exo-Suits since the power loader from Aliens.

The Up Front: I liked this film and unlike Oblivion I will defend it if you say otherwise. I go further to say that this is almost textbook worthy example on how to do a film adaptation in that while many of the details have changed the overall narrative and spirit of the story remain intact. Except the ending… that got Hollywooded but the Novel’s ending was a bit of a downer so it’s up to personal choice on that change.

Edge of Tomorrow pulled 100m domestic against a 170m budget but made bank in the foreign market finishing with a strong 370m world wide. The foreign release had in my opinion better trailers and more importantly they did not have a moving target of a release date so both the advertising and potential viewers actually knew when it would be released.

The more important metric (unless you like money) is the 84 metacritic and 90+ for both critic and viewer on rotten tomatoes. These scores showed that the film had legs even though there was a rather dismal opening.

And After Oblivion and Jack Reacher I have to ask… is it Tom Cruise? Has he somehow become US box office poison? Even Jack Reacher pulled in over 60% of it’s gross overseas while his Sci-Fi outings and Mission Impossible Franchise boast almost 75% foreign. The real test will be Top Gun 2 as american military films tend to not do well in foreign markets.

Enough Market Reporting!

The Basics are this: Aliens called mimics (for reasons not explained in the film) land somewhere in eastern Europe and begin to spread. Not many details as to their origins or intent is spared screen time. Both questions are answered in the non-illuminating but direct “They are here to kill us”.

Tom Cruise is a Public Relations officer drumming up support for the upcoming landing in Normandy to retake Western Europe from the mimics. The WW2 parallel is not missed though an answer to why we have to drum up support when the only other option is annihilation is left unanswered.  On meeting with the presiding General, Brendan Gleeson, he learns he is being sent to report from the front. Tom is a thoroughly convincing coward at this point and in the ensuring argument he is knocked out by MP’s and awakens at a forward operating base, stripped of rank, branded a deserter and with orders to join a combat unit this time at the front lines.

With all of a day to train he is dropped on the beach and dies near instantly. But not before being showered in the blood of a dying alpha which kicks off his whole time loopy thing.

A few points here. There is quite a bit of humor in this movie. Bill Paxton’s Master Sergeant Farrell is the most acerbically entertaining Platoon Leader since R. Lee Ermey’s Gunny Heartman in Full Metal Jacket. His squad is full of characters and more importantly after entering the loop Cruise essentially becomes the live action Wile E. Coyote dying in varied and amusing ways.

He is unsure what to make of his predicament, using it to try and win the battlefield and it is not until he encounters Emily Blunt’s Rita that he can finally get some answers. After meeting her on the beach, and a few more deaths trying to meet her pre-invasion, he is able to learn all about the Drone / Alpha / Omega set-up the mimics run, i’ll get back to this. She had been in his exact situation earlier in the war  which is why she is such a bad-ass mimic killer, side note… she is a badass mimic killer, but lost the ability to loop due to a blood transfusion before she could use it to take out the Omega and end the war.

So that is where Cloud’s sword went…

 

 

Breaking down the Drone / Alpha / Omega. The Omega is the big brain behind the scenes and for the sake of story brevity there is only one. Alpha’s are the captains on the field directing the drone mimics in battle and when an alpha dies it’s memories are relayed back through the Omega which appears to transcend time and into it’s younger self. Perhaps 24 hours, the exact loop time is unclear but Cruise always lands at the entry point of his first loop despite how long he survives the next day. Armed with foreknowledge the Alpha can devise new attack plans for the drones and win all of the battles. This gives Cruise, Blunt and allies a plan for winning the war: By Killing the Omega they can prevent alpha’s from looping back and will now stand a chance. Or, killing the Omega will disable all of the Mimic army (AKA the Palpatine Effect), once again for story brevity.

And there is the plot. Tom Cruise is Groundhog Day’d, develops from Total Coward to Aswesometacular Soldier willing of self-sacrifice all while having well directed battles amidst excellent cgi and practical effects and full of humor and drama.

This one is good; you should totally buy it on Blue Ray.

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