Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Live, Die, Repeat as Necessary.

Edge of Tomorrow – 5 out of 5

Movies are awesome and so are video games but, so far, we haven’t really been able to combine these two very well and have them form a Voltron-like level of awesome and make a movie/video game hybrid that works. Movies based on video games always loses something in translation and video games based on movies are, most of the time, cheaply made and poorly developed pieces meant to cash in on the film. So, why is it that a film that isn’t based on a video game somehow manages to perfectly capture the feel of gaming? Fuck if I know but all I can say is that Edge of Tomorrow was incredible!

                                                                                                                              Warner Bros. Pictures
Oh, don't look so surprised, Cruise.

War has come to planet Earth as an invading alien force called Mimics are threatening us with extinction and is kicking our ass all over the planet (good, already sounds like a kick-ass FPS). Militaries all over the world combine to fight this menace and a new super weapon is created that can make even the most out of shape nobody into a badass grunt (I'm in!). Exosuits called Jackets are introduced and help achieve some major victories and propels soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) to superstar status. After a major victory, the military force decides to have an all-out, Hail Mary attack and converge their forces on the Mimics. Military Spokesman Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is recruited (against his will) to report on the field and ends up as a disgraced traitor meant to be a body bag in a Jacket on the beach during the invasion. However, after killing a particularly rare Mimic, Cage finds he has the ability to “reboot” the day and start all over with all his previous memories intact. He soon learns that Rita herself also had the power and it is this ability that has allowed the Mimics to take the planet. Now Cage and Rita must work together (and Cage must die a lot of freakin’ times) in order to find the “brain” of the Mimics and win the war.

                                                                                                                              Warner Bros. Pictures
The suits were cool...even if they made the wearer look like he had a load of poop
in his pants when he ran.

I first became aware of this film at Comic-Con in San Diego last year. They had the suits on display and Tom Cruise was around for autographs (which I’m still kicking myself for not getting because I found out the next day he was a super cool guy who pretty much told security to go eff themselves because he wanted to meet and talk to every single solitary person in line—those autographs were free and no one was taking them, damn me for not jumping on that hand grenade called opportunity!). The suits looked cool but without a trailer or even finding out what the hell the film was about, I couldn’t predict when and how much I’d be willing to spend on seeing it (that’s how I determine my excitement level for movies, I don’t say “Yay or nay” to films, I say, “Will I pay to see this at the theater, RedBox it or maybe put it on my Netflix queue and wait it out or see if it plays on cable or if there’s a decent torrent of it,” and the last one you shouldn’t do because that’s illegal and bad). Even after the first trailer, I was only sold to the point of RedBox’ing it but as more trailers came out, I bumped that shit up to, “Yep, it’s worth the 12 dollar ticket at the theater,” and it was worth every penny!

Edge of Tomorrow is the very spirit of a video game brought to life on the screen—and I don’t mean a video game adaptation but the very aspect of playing a level, dying and starting all over again with the knowledge needed to get just a tad bit further. Director Doug Liman perfectly captured the feel of a soldier learning and getting better with every life lost (and without the added benefit of the infamous Konami code). This Groundhog Day vibe not only resulted in a unique action story but it also allowed for the film to be very funny. The gags about dying and starting again and having psychic-like knowledge of the coming events made for some very amusing moments that kept the film lighthearted and a whole lot of fun.

                                                                                                                               Warner Bros. Pictures
"My suit got an erection again!"

Alongside the humor, this movie delivers killer action and seeing Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise kick alien ass in kick ass exoskeleton suits was more than enough to satisfy the action craving part of the brain. The movie feels like an excellent video game but it also looked like one with the heroes wearing ridiculously outrageous armor. Even though a lot of the action is repeated due to the premise of the film, each day that is rebooted is made to feel fresh as Cage and Rita get one step closer to their goal and the fact that Cage gets better and better as a soldier and is able to more efficiently (and with killer flair) save the day.

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"SWORD to meet you!  Dammit, I should have said 'knife.'"

Even more impressive was the fact that even though the movie feels like a video game that is playing out before you on the silver screen, Emily Blunt’s character is never given the “female video game protagonist treatment.” Blunt comes off as a legitimate badass and, sadly, if this movie was a video game, she would have been barely dressed underneath the armor. Instead, Blunt’s character is treated like a true alien-ass kicker and is rocking that exosuit like a mother fucker! Comic book artists and video game character creators must take note: Blunt proves you don’t need fewer clothes on female characters to make them interesting or exciting to watch. 

                                                                                                                              Warner Bros. Pictures
"To Victory...and to bitch slap Cloud Strife with his own sword I stole!"

I use to not be a fan of Tom Cruise and would avoid his films until I happened upon them by accident. I never found the guy to be a terrible actor, I just always saw him as himself and not the character he was playing. For the last ten years (or about when Tropic Thunder came out), I’ve started to see the guy in a new light and have really found myself enjoying his films. Especially in the last few years, I’ve found them to be very entertaining and exciting and have found him to be an even better actor than he was years ago during a time when I couldn’t stand to watch any of his work. Cruise is just in top form in this film as he has his character down perfectly. Cage is an arrogant ad man who would go on to be a spokesman for the military and he is not a fighter in the least and Cruise shows that in spades. His reactions to his surroundings and the events taking place before him are, in a word, very realistic. And that’s just hard when you consider Cruise is playing a character that is in the battle of a lifetime and keeps reliving that day over and over again and is forced to do it by dying.

                                                                                                                             Warner Bros. Pictures
Cage also had the power to blur assault rifles with his hands but it didn't really come up
much in the film.

If I have one complaint about Edge of Tomorrow (and it is so minor that it doesn’t have any impact on my score) it is the fact that the side characters are very underdeveloped. While characters played by Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton and Noah Taylor really don’t require much development and you get to know all you need to know about them by the immensely talented actors playing them and the performances they are giving (Paxton was really a lot of fun in his role!), there were members of the squad that Cage is thrown into that really needed some more attention because they all seem like a colorful bunch that screamed fun misfit soldiers. While you get to learn enough about them through gags that come from the “live, die, repeat” part of the film, it would have been an extra bonus to see them have a little more screen time and be bigger characters (or, at the very least, richer ones). However, the film has everything else going for it in a big way so I can forgive this ridiculously minor complaint.

                                                                                                                              Warner Bros. Pictures
"You know what these papers say?  'Game Over, man.'"

The summer of 2014 is proving to be a great summer for the action popcorn blockbuster and Edge of Tomorrow is keeping that streak alive thanks to the fact the film has a killer story, great performances from not only Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise but the entire cast, great special effects, top notch editing, intense and entertaining action, and the fact the film is capable of having a smart, witty sense of humor without taking away from the tone of the rest of the film. Edge of Tomorrow is one of those movies that, without a doubt, I can’t wait to purchase on Blu-Ray and watch many, many, many times in the future.  And I can watch it repeatedly without dying!  That's a win if I've ever heard of one!

1 comment:

  1. Out of nowhere, Edge of Tomorrow is an exhilarating mix of Verhoeven-esque sci-fi subversion, existential comedy straight out of Groundhog Day, and the slaughter-and-reset structure of a first-person shooter game.

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