“What happens to you happened to me,” shout Rita to Cage.
If you think Elysium’s exo-skeleton is formidable and Pacific Rim is heroically comical, or if you think Starship Trooper is too frantic and The Matrix: Revolution is too foul, you have already foreboded how Edge of Tomorrow looks like. Initially, this film has the familiar flavor of modern sci-fi thriller—specifically alien invasion sci-fi. However, if you keep watching it, you’ll know that Edge of Tomorrow is cleverly playful and crafted with witty plot.
As the film begins with sufficient background information telling about what happens to earth, we learn that aliens called ‘Mimic’ has invaded the earth. Major Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is trapped in a condition that insist him to confront the menace he has never imagined. Ill-prepared and forced, Cage rampages to the battlefield only to find that he can relive his day over and over again every time he dies. Puzzled and disoriented, he finds only one human that can help him—Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), “The Angel of Verdun” who knows what happens to our man. The thing is, problems never stop although Cage can relive a hundred more time.
On the face, Edge of Tomorrow feels like being laced with unoriginal plot. Once you go forward, you’ll realize that Edge of Tomorrow deserves more. It obviously has Groundhog Day’s influence—with time loop plot device—and enemies that look like The Matrix’ sentinels, yet, it also utilizes the cyclical plot to create an original entertainment. The fun part is, every time our man dies and relives, we will never see the same angle—everything is set up with different realizations of our on-screen character. Director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) seems to know that the “live-die-repeat” pattern might get people frustrated and bored, that he turns the direction of the film in some crucial part. It might get the audiences puzzled but it also spares the film from being monotonous. At last, the neat, well-crafted plot makes the repetition through this film never feels tired and predictable; it might feels like playing an arcade game with the pleasure of hitting ‘restart’ button and the pleasure of ‘cheating’ the game with it.
In a simple way, Liman recreates Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill to be less bleak. In the middle of the film, we’ll realize that all we need is not just “kill”, but “solve the puzzle” to kill. As we get into the epicenter of our characters’ daze, we’ll also learn that Cruise’s and Blunt’s (looked-a-little-under-cooked) acting is merely an excuse of how their characters are being portrayed. Both of their characters are not instant heroes—they’re the victims of the situation (or ability) they’re in. If Blunt’s character is better prepared and alert than Cruise’s, it’s simply because she’s been in Cruise’s position. This “been-there-done-there” factor is what makes them different. Furthermore, the flashy pace of this film gives no opportunity for the characters to develop; therefore, it’s difficult to give extra credits to the characters.
After all fuzzy, frantic rampage we have throughout the film, the ending of this film is just okay. It seems like the film wants to play safe and defensible; even though, a more deceitful or daring ending will be most suitable for this kind of film (after all the rampage we have). However, Edge of Tomorrow is more than just summer entertainment, after all. It has the courage to reverse the familiarity of summer sci-fi with daring time loop idea and well-crafted plot. Seems like it’s underwhelming, but for me, Edge of Tomorrow deserves to the this year’s sleeper-hit.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller Running Time: 113 mins. Directed by: Doug Liman Written by: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth (Screenplay), Hiroshi Sakurazaka (Novel) Production Co.: Warner Bros, Village Roadshow Pictures, 3 Arts Entertainment Starred by: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Noah Taylor