Science fiction is a genre that is by far my favorite to watch and review. The worlds and creatures created stretch the imagination and allow for a variety of qualities to be built into the story, i.e. horror, action, etc. Of course, many recent sci-fi films fall below expectations, with the trailers often more entertaining than the actual movie itself. So when I saw the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow (EOT), I was entranced, but skeptical as to what they would bring to the table. Would it be repetitive? Would it have the action promised? Would Tom Cruise annoy the heck out of me? What did I think about this most anticipated movie? Read on to find out.
If you haven’t seen the trailers, EOT is a time paradox movie centering on Major Cage (Cruise) and his battle against the metallic Mimic army. After a failed operation, the first time, Cage develops the ability to relive the day before the invasion over and over again, training under super solider Rita (Emily Blunt) to stop the invasion. Now like most scene repeat movies, there is a looming threat of becoming bored with the repetitive scenes and sequences. Some movies know how to keep up the entertainment value, but others use repetition as merely a tool to get more length at a fraction of the price. In this movie, the movie remains entertaining, only occasionally becoming drab as Cage fails training, often in some comedic scream or landing. Yet, director Doug Liman manages to keep the other elements intertwined with the repetition, allowing the story to unfold in a rather efficient manner. The fact that he keeps the scenes funny as well makes the repetition relevant to the story and actually worth watching.
Of course comedy wasn’t what I was going for mainly in this movie; I was all about the action the trailers promised. I’ll admit in the beginning I was worried that I would be disappointed, as the first battle was merely a sequence of running, death, and convulsive, dizzying camera work. Luckily, both aspects improved, the first battle merely a diluted taste of what is to come, the camera work occasionally getting unstable at parts. As Cage grows stronger in the art of war, becoming adrenaline-pumping carnage that fans will love. While the scenes are nowhere near as long as I wanted, they are well adapted to drive the movie, allowing for strategy and planning to be integrated with gunplay. There were a lot of similarities to the final battle from the Matrix Revolutions, but the story and strategy helped EOT stand out on its own. However, Rita and Cage are primarily an army of two against the swarm of machines, while the other soldiers are merely CGI cannon fodder for the glowing beasts, which brings me to my next point.
The movie focuses on pretty much only these two with a few cameos and interjections from others here and there. Now surely this comes to no surprise, so there should be no complaints right? For the most part I agree, Blunt and Cruise work well together, their chemistry was very good, almost as if being two soldiers caught in an infinite time loop was their job. The main complaint I had though was that despite the amount of screen time they had, the two characters didn’t have much development past fighting the war. Bits and pieces of their lives unfolded, more so Rita’s, yet half of the pertinent information was kind of blown over and pointless. What was the point of such intricate details if you weren’t going to use them in the first place? I guess in such a limited time span and such dire circumstances there is only so much bonding you can do. Luckily the story to uncover the secret of the machines has enough suspense and “mystery” to make up for the lack of character development. However, it cannot make up for the introduction of the J squad and doing practically nothing with them. The squad does have some comedic relief and has a few useful moments, but I felt they were rather useless in the grand scheme of things. Oh well, when you get decent, graphic technological warfare, you probably don’t care much about the other infantry.
Edge of Tomorrow has a lot of good qualities that make it one of the better science fiction movies in the recent years. While the action is not what I expected, it is well balanced with comedy and plot to help keep the movie suspenseful. The acting is pretty solid, and fans of Tom Cruise will enjoy the scientologist’s latest project of whipping CGI butt. Just don’t expect much detailed character development in anybody else, or any life lessons because it is not there. As for watching it in 3-D, I could see a lot of potential, but truth is the 2-D was awesome, and you save yourself a few bucks. Check this one out in theaters.
My scores for this film are: