Apr 232015

When Edge of Tomorrow was being advertised, many scorned the film as Groundhog Day meets sci-fi. The premise of the film is that Tom Cruise plays a military public relations officer who is forced to enter combat against alien invaders. Unfortunately for him, he dies during that battle but reawakens to the previous day when he was forcibly dumped at the forward operating base for the planned attack against the aliens. Emily Blunt plays a hardened sergeant that eventually learns his secret and works to make him a formidable fighter. Is this film just a sci-fi rehash of Groundhog Day? Find out in our Edge of Tomorrow review. As always, read with caution as there may be spoilers ahead.

In the near feature, a race of aliens has essentially conquered all of continental Europe. This alien race, called Mimics, have won every single battle so far, save one. The battle that they lost was won for humanity by the actions of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), which made her a legend among the military and the general public. Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, a public relations officer, whose job it is to sell the war to the public. When the head general of the world’s United Defense Force orders Cage to cover the planned attack against the aliens on the beaches of France, Cage refuses to do so as he’s an utter coward. While he glibly talks of valor and the need for humanity to fight, he has no intention of doing that himself. He threatens the general by saying that he’ll turn public opinion against him if he doesn’t rescind the order. The general has Cage arrested, and he is then knocked out.

Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise Emily Blunt
At this point, Cage wakes up in handcuffs at the forward operating base at Heathrow Airport as he’s being kicked awake by a sergeant. He’s been labeled a deserter, and Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) overrides his objections and drags him to a unit of misfits to join the attack that’s about to happen in just a short time. The invasion force sets off, and it’s an utter disaster. As Cage has virtually no training, he’s useless in combat and is killed, but….as he dies, the blood of an alien coats him. He then wakes up to the sergeant booting him awake at Heathrow airport. He tries to warn people that the invasion is doomed, but nobody pays him any attention. On the beach, he runs into Sergeant Rita Vrataski, who recognizes his ability somehow. She tells him to locate her when he wakes up. He dies again, and we start over again with the sergeant kicking him awake.

What we find out is that Emily Blunt’s character had died as well, but she had also been covered in the blood of an alien type called an Alpha, a larger specimen of the invading aliens. The blood of the Alpha is what is responsible for resetting time. A scientist specializing in the Mimics believes that the aliens have always won because they’re resetting time over and over again to ensure their victories. Sergeant Vrataski acknowledges that it was because she could react to what the aliens were doing that led to the human victory. However, the ability to reset time ended after the battle as she got a blood transfusion. Now she, Cage, and the scientist work together to figure out a way to defeat the aliens. The scientists believes that there’s a hive mind, the Omega, controlling everything, and if it is destroyed, humanity will prevail.

What follows is a mix of hardcore action and humor as Emily Blunt tries to whip Tom Cruise into a potent fighting machine. We do see that Cage gets stronger, faster, and more confident as he dies again and again, but he’s not thrilled that the sergeant shoots him when he gets injured to reset the clock. The duo try many different variations on how to fight their way off the beach to then find and destroy the Omega. Both Cruise and Blunt have a good chemistry together as their characters get closer together. They both also superbly exhibit growing frustration, anger, and fear over their inability to find and destroy the Omega as each day is reset with Cage’s death.

Edge of Tomorrow Tom Cruise
The acting in Edge of Tomorrow is superb. The squad that Cage is forced to join gets some good screen time, and they’re an enjoyable collection of oddballs and misfits. The most unexpected boon of the film is Bill Paxton, who portrays the master sergeant with humorous, and mildly malicious, glee. He literally steals every scene that he’s in. Emily Blunt is tremendous as the sergeant who is tough as nails. While Blunt is not the most menacing female actor (she’s actually pretty petite), she does project toughness and an iron will to see things through. Plus, she’s gorgeous. As for Tom Cruise, he really nails it as Major William Cage. He’s a shallow, egotistical coward at the beginning of the film that only cares about himself. He really sells his character as being full of fear when forced into combat. Cruise does a great job of transforming the character from miserable coward to someone trying to reject his fate to eventually embracing his role to save humanity and doing everything possible to accomplish the mission. For all the flack that people throw at Tom Cruise, I’ve always said that the man can act.

I have to say that I greatly enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow. It uses the repeating the same day formula used in Groundhog Day to tremendous effect, and it did so in an original way. The movie explains why the phenomenon happens, and the repeating days are handled in a very deft manner, mixing tremendous action scenes and some light touches of humor in others. The visuals are top notch, and the battles are fun and exciting to watch. In my opinion, this film handled the concept of repeating the same day over and over again in a thoughtful, reasoned manner, and the result was a smart movie that has a unique feel. What saddens me is that box office wasn’t that great. Everyone complains that there are not enough smart movies out there (especially sci-fi movies), but when one does come out, it’s not supported. This movie should have had far higher box office receipts. I mean, c’mon, Transformers 4 grossed over a billion dollars! My final verdict in our Edge of Tomorrow review: A

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