Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt
When communications officer Major William Cage (Cruise) is unexpectedly thrown into war against a swarm of invading aliens, he quickly finds out that the battle is a suicide mission. It doesn’t take years of battle training to realize that something isn’t quite right about what was supposed to be a surprise attack to end the devastating global war. It seems as though the aliens, or “Mimics,” knew that the human troops were on their way – and they were prepared to fight. Cage is killed within minutes, but, to his shock, he finds himself trapped in a repeating time loop which repeats the previous day each time he dies. Cage seeks out Rita Vrataski (Blunt), the so-called “Angel of Verdun” – a warrior who once defeated hundreds of Mimics single-handedly – and the two begin training together in hopes of defeating the alien army. As Cage learns, trains and, inevitably, dies, his skills improve and he develops a plan that may defeat the Mimics once and for all… He just needs to find a way to stay alive long enough to make it happen.
“Live. Die. Repeat.” Once upon a time, that was the title of this film before it was swapped out for “Edge of Tomorrow.” But those three words basically sum up the premise of the film. Cage, to steal a gamer term, is a total “noob.” That’s short for “newbie,” of course. Noobs suck at video games, Cage sucks at warfare. In fact, the first time he gets sent out, he doesn’t even know how to turn off the safety on his guns. It’s fun to watch as Cruise humorously figures things out. The process of repeating the battle over and over allows him to learn which areas and actions to avoid, as well as memorize the locations of his enemies. As he progresses throughout the film, this repetition become pretty funny, believe it or not. The movie wasn’t hyped as (and isn’t) a comedy, but the funny aspects of the film really make the movie enjoyable.
The special effects look great in the film, from the clunky battle gear to the wild movements of the Mimics. It’s a fast-paced plot with lots of gunfire and explosions to keep the audience’s attention from start to finish.
Cruise is great, as usual, and Blunt, though a bit stiff, comes off perfectly as a hardened warrior who is intent on killing and probably couldn’t care less about her pesky know-it-all companion. Together, the tandem works both realistically and fittingly in their unique relationship.
One thing that is a bit irksome about the movie is its palpable similarity to the Bill Murray classic “Groundhog Day.” Same premise, basically: a guy gets stuck reliving the same day over and over – and the name of the female lead is even the same (Rita) for some perplexing reason. (Like, couldn’t they have just named her Sandy or something?) If you’ve seen “Groundhog Day” a billion times like the Salt Lake City DVD Examiner has, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of how the movie will go and how it will end.
But the crazy thing is that, despite its parallels with “Groundhog Day,” “Edge of Tomorrow” simultaneously feels like something different and new. It’s not exactly like “Groundhog Day” and it’s not exactly like many other “kill the alien army” flicks, which makes it a show that you should at least give a chance. You’ll likely be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
One thing that’s really great about this movie is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is probably one of Cruise’s more lighthearted roles in a while, and he provides several laugh-out-loud moments without derailing the seriousness of his predicament. The plot is obviously improbable and it pokes a bit of fun at itself from time to time, which is nice.
The DVD is a bit light on bonus features, which is a bummer, but the two featurettes that they did include are interesting and short, so it’s not a total loss.
For some reason, “Edge of Tomorrow” didn’t do very well in the box office this summer. While it is difficult to put a finger on exactly why it bombed, the Salt Lake DVD Examiner can boldly tell you that this is a movie that you should check out at some point. Despite its unpopularity and lack of hype, it’s a darn fun movie and will likely end up being the sleeper hit of 2014 for those who watch it. If you’re hesitant to pick it up for full price due to insufficient funds or fear that it will be too similar to “Groundhog Day,” give it a couple weeks and it’ll be available at Redbox – and those will be two dollars well spent.
Similar movies: “Groundhog Day” (1993), “Oblivion” (2013), “Independence Day” (1996)
DVD bonus features:
– Audio in English, French, Spanish
– Subtitles in English, French, Spanish
– “Weapons of the Future”: A featurette about Cruise and Blunt’s training regiment and demanding physical preparation in order to get into shape for the film. It also takes a look the design of the battle gear that the soldiers don in the film and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the warriors in action, which is pretty interesting.
– “Creatures Not of this World”: So are they, like, cyborg aliens or something? As you watch the film, it’s a little hard to tell what the Mimics are, exactly, but have no fear – this special feature takes a closer look at those freaky octopus-spider-sandworm hybrid beasts. You also get a chance to see some of the concept art and cool pre-vis sequences that went into the battle scenes, as well.
Directed by: Doug Liman
Studio: Warner Bros.
Running time: 113 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for “intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material,” including moderate profanity, some frightening images and one brief instance of rear male nudity.
Costars Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor
DVD release date: October 7, 2014
Looking to find “Edge of Tomorrow” on DVD or Blu-ray in the Salt Lake area? Check out these suggested links:
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