‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Review: It’s Like ‘Groundhog Day’…With Aliens!

Posted in The Screening Room by - February 21, 2015

Yes, I know that I was slated to review Star Trek: First Contact today, but after watching Edge of Tomorrow, I felt that this movie deserved some more attention. To use a wrestling term,  Warner Brothers buried Edge of Tomorrow, so much so that I refused to see the movie when it came out because I thought it looked like a run of the mill sci-fi movie, kind of like the Total Recall remake. They even went as far to change the title of the film for the home media release from Edge of Tomorrow to Live. Die. Repeat.: Edge of Tomorrow. Warner Brothers didn’t have a fucking clue how to promote this movie, case in point the trailer for this film. 

Jesus, it couldn’t be an any more cookie-cutter showing for the film. Warner killed this movie before it even got a chance to be released. It’s unfortunate though because the movie is smart and funny in a time when sci-fi has become serious and sterile.

The plot of the film follows Tom Cruise as Major William Cage, a former ad executive turned public affairs officer, who is branded a deserter, stripped of his title, and forced to fight as a grunt against a menacing alien force. During the major invasion of Europe, on the beaches of France, Cage is killed by one of the aliens after getting covered in its blood, which is corrosive. As he lays dying, he is suddenly reawakened the day before the invasion, the only one with memory of the previous day. Cage then goes on to seek out Rita Vrataski (played by Emily Blunt), a normal woman turned hero after one of the similar war campaigns. Somehow Rita knows what’s happening to him. I won’t spoil the plot any further as it goes to some interesting places and has some great twists that elevate it beyond hum-drum sci-fi. 

I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Tom Cruise, but I really enjoyed his turn as Cage in the film because he brings a fair amount of humor the role. He starts out headstrong but once he’s stripped of his title he becomes a squirrelly fish out of water who has no idea what actual combat is. Once he realizes what is going on around him, he begins to accept his situation and he brings a lot of physical humor to the role. Since Cage has to die every day to reboot the timeline, he dies in some truly laughable ways, including Vrataski putting him out of his misery multiple times. It’s always good to see Cruise treading the line between humor and badass, playing a less serious action hero more akin to an 80s action movie than the boring leads of today. Emily Blunt is also quite great in the film, playing Vrataski as a believable heroine who hides her vulnerability behind a veneer of silence. It’s refreshing to see a woman in a action movie keeping her own with her male counterpart as opposed to playing the damsel in distress.

The physical effects of the film are also a highlight, primarily the exo-suits. While the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has popularized exo-suit as something sleek and sophisticated, the exo-suits in the movie are clunky pieces of machinery. While it allows for a normal person to become a killing machine, it feels believable that these suits could exist currently as opposed to some time in the far future. Along with the exo-suits, the sets are impressive, especially the beach invasion which is reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan in its scope and overall feel. As the humans storm the beach, it’s obvious they are outnumbered and underpowered, and the expansive set does a great job showing it. With explosions going on all around them, and aliens coming up from under the sand, it’s a pretty impressive sequence that is revisited multiple times in the film.

Edge of Tomorrow is one of those movies that was crippled before it even had a chance to succeed. It’s really unfortunate as it will probably gain a large following on blu-ray but maybe that’s the way it should be. It should be an underground success as opposed to a big Hollywood tent pole, partially so they don’t make a sequel, but also because it shows that even when Hollywood does its best to bury a movie, it can still succeed. Check out Edge of Tomorrow, it’s not only a great sci-fi movie, but just a great film in general. 

Final Say: Watch It

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Chris Stachiw is the Editor-in-Chief and co-host of the Kulturecast. He's a native Californian with a penchant for sarcasm and a taste for the cinematic bizarre. You'll often find him wandering the wasteland of Nebraska searching for the meaning of life and possibly another rare Pokemon.
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