When any movie-goer first takes a glance at the latest Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow, it appears to be another ho-drum sci-fi action story that may easily get washed away in the sea of high budget movies out this year. What audiences won’t expect is a surprisingly thrilling, and at times comical, sci-fi movie that is yet another fine addition to what’s beginning to look like one of the better summer movie seasons in a long while.
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton, Jonas Armstrong, Tony Way, Kick Gurry, Franz Drameh, Charlotte Riley
Cinematography by: Dion Beebe
Original Score by: Christophe Beck
The future is looking bleak for humanity as the arrival of the terrifying “mimics” could wipe out all of humanity. The world has been fighting against these strange alien creatures for years, and now they’re ready to make their sudden assault on them and hope to gain the upper hand. Unfortunately for Officer Cage (Cruise), he gets caught up in the strangest situation as they storm out to fight the “mimics,” being pulled into a time loop that could change the course of this battle for better or for worse.
- The Story: For those readers who were unaware, Edge of Tomorrow is based off the popular Japanese sci-fi novel titled All You Need is Kill. It’s easy for a dizzying time line such as this to get rather dull really quickly, but McQuarrie’s script revitalizes each loop with a different twist, something to continually perk the interest of the viewer. The hero is after all trying to stop an alien race from conquering planet Earth, and to take a lot of the rich story line from the novel and properly adapt it into a fast-paced film such as this is always a triumph. McQuarrie is able to inject some humor into the script, going us hearty doses of comedy, action and thought-provoking sci-fi which will leave any viewer wondering how they would approach a scenario similar to the one Cruise is facing, trapped in an indefinite loop. Edge of Tomorrow plays out like a video game at times, showing how the character is ultimately flawed and, similar to the rest of us, makes a number of mistakes in order to reach his end goal. There’s a few instances where he essentially wastes a few lives of his own due to the mistakes of what time he needs to move or show up in a location. The script is should be thanked for the two main characters, especially the female hero. Instead of being a helpless doe on the sidelines she’s continually leading the charge against the Mimics, training the hero and refuses to stop and let her emotions get in the way in order to complete her task. The character is similarly admirable in the original sci-fi novel, and it’s really great that McQuarrie kept those aspects of her in the film.
- That Charisma: There’s this almost indescribable charm that Tom Cruise is able to emit in some of his films, and when he manages to switch it on, it’s no wonder many of us still hail him to be one of the better movie stars out there. Now he isn’t the most incredibly talented actor on the face of the planet, but he makes up for that with his charisma, his dedication and somebody who genuinely appears to be having fun doing what he loves, especially in Edge of Tomorrow. In a way Cruise is playing the same stock male hero, the kind we’ve seen him become many times before, but it’s that beaming personality of his that stands out and attracts us all to him. Thankfully there’s a lot more than Cruise to enjoy about this movie.
- The Rest of the Cast: Let’s give a big round of applause to Emily Blunt who turns what could have been an entirely one-note tough-as-nails chick into a slightly more complex person. A couple of choice words, some glances and movements, and her overall acting skill makes all the difference from keeping the character Rita from being just a bland woman. The remainder of the cast, while fine, all were incredibly stereotypical in the way that each of them acted, depending on their body type or accent. At the end they all manage to show how they’re all in for the main cause of saving the planet, and a few members of the rogue-ish squad who aides Cage have their redeeming moments.
- Liman: Director Doug Liman is accustomed to making action movies, from the lackluster Mr. & Mrs. Smith to the thrilling film The Bourne Identity. When this filmmaker is equipped with the proper script in hand, he’s able to quickly dart viewers in the middle of multiple battles. He has a tendency of getting the viewers incredibly close in on the action, which makes for a much more entertaining film.
The Effects: It’s always great to see a sci-fi action movie that’s been given the time and effort to really make each CG or practical effects scene look absolutely top-notch. The design of the suits that each of the soldiers wear is really cool, and the fact that the actors were wearing most of the pieces while shooting certain scenes makes it all the better. The CG and the practical effects in this film go hand-in-hand as the finely tuned computer effects compliment the film and really pull the audience into that future.
- Christophe Beck’s Score: A lot of movie-goers have the music of Chirstophe Beck lodged deep into their minds, especially if they’ve watched Disney’s Frozen a few times over. His score in that film is memorable, but what he delivers in Edge of Tomorrow doesn’t really leave a lasting impression. It does fill the void of music that’s essential for an energized science fiction action flick of this caliber, one that helps propel it to a slightly more heightened degree, so in that case Beck’s score is highly effective. However, it doesn’t really wow anybody so in that sense it is a very slight, but also not really a failure. It’s basically a score that’s there and does what it needs to do in order to further tell the story for audiences across the world.
- Complications of Sci-Fi (Spoilers ahead): Perhaps the biggest problem with Edge of Tomorrow is the ending and how it manages to do one last jump for the hero, even though at this point it would be impossible for him to do so. It’s less interesting when a film caves to a super mega happy ending just for the sake of doing so.
Edge of Tomorrow delivers what more than likely is one of the best sci-fi action flicks to roll out in theaters this summer, compact with a tight story, talented cast and some really magnificent action sequences.