Edge of Tomorrow
I love the creativity of what alien invasions can do, but a lot of movies tend to go with the same formula; we’ll get a signal from space that turns out to be extraterrestrial life, they’ll come to our planet and kill us to either take the Earth or take a resource. Just stroll through your library in the science fiction section to see just how unique something from Ray Bradbury and Lovecraft can be. When Hollywood tries it’s hand at alien invasions, their more out to make a disaster movie then they are science fiction. It’s easy to understand why as disaster movies are more likely to make money. Even the marketing of the recent Godzilla was mostly disaster influenced.
There’s an understanding why we don’t get a lot of movies that try some crazy science fiction material; the audience of film is different then of books and comics. Reader tend to pay more attention to the detail that’s transcribed to them while watchers have shorter attention spans that needs the visual storytelling to engage them. Movies like Aliens and Avatar were hits because the visual imagery were enough of a sale to persuade a non sci-fi audiences. Material like Edge of Tomorrow has to combine it’s complicated ideas with captivating imagery to tell an awesome alien invasion/time travel story.
In the near future, mankind has been fighting off a creature called the mimic for over five years, preventing it from escaping Europe. Every army has taken occupation in London to make it’s latest attack successful thanks to new exoskeleton tech called jackets. Major William Cage (played by Tom Cruise), a high-ranking officer for the US military finds that he’s been summoned to cover the combat of the big D-day attack on the mimics in a few days. He tries to decline but he is arrested and knocked out, only to find himself stripped of his rank and about to deploy the next morning with other recruits, under the command of Master Sergeant Farell (played by Bill Paxton).
To his horror, the mimics were anticipating the attack and have the edge. He manages to kill an alpha mimic, but dies when it’s blood comes in contact with his face. He wakes up back where he started, arrested and told to fight on the beaches the next day. Cage finds he’s stuck in a time loop, having to relieve the same battle over again. When he manages to prove to Sergeant Rita Vrataski (played by Emily Blunt), she tells him to find her again and again. Each loop gives Cage and Vrataski more time to prepare and find the Omega, the central nervous system that’s causing the time loop and the heart of the mimic, and destroy it.
Every summer has that movie that turns out to be the unexpected surprise that’s glanced over. Edge of Tomorrow is that movie. The seemingly complex story never gets that hard to figure out as the scenario is explained in great detail, not to mention allows itself to throw in some good jokes that were missing from the Tom Cruise movie from last year, Oblivion.
As is, Tom Cruise does well here, giving the likable performance that an action hero has. But despite his stardom, this movie belongs to Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton. Blunt really shows off how much of a badass she can be, really reminding me of Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Bill Paxton seems to have a lot of fun, channeling the drill sergeant stereotype and also throwing some good dialogue about war being Tom Cruises destiny.
If there’s anything else to note, is the design of the mimics. I’ll admit that this is as alien to me as these creatures are to the military. They move really fast and seem to have a metallic-tentacle structure that ensures quick kills and fast reflexes. The CGI really works to the aliens advantage, but never becomes a distraction from the real military actions of Cruise and Blunt.
I’ll give this five mimics out of five. Edge of Tomorrow may have been a tough sale here in the States, but I’m sure it’s going to be a hit in the foreign markets. Science fiction movies like this deserve recognition, not just with the kind of aliens it has, but with the story and how it uses time travel.