Edge of Tomorrow – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow – 3.5/5 – The summer is a great time of the year.  At the heart of this season is the blockbuster films.  These films do their best to form some medium of story with elements of spectacle to ‘WOW’ the audience, even if substance is bare.  Edge of Tomorrow is a film that bends all these rules, creating a medium where there is some style, but also substance.  This creates an experience that is somewhat linear, but not in a traditional linear fashion.  Even if the film has some hidden flaws, Edge of Tomorrow creates a real good summer blockbuster experience.

Premise: An officer is forced into action against an alien race.  As he faces the brutal acts, he must come into his own, and become the hero he was born to be

In the main role of Cage, you have veteran actor Tom Cruise.  Cruise has come into his own later in his career, redefining himself in new and old franchisees.  He provides his typical strong charisma in the role as Cage; a man caught up in a war against invading aliens.  The unique twist to this is he keeps reliving the same day in the fight against these invaders.  What you learn through this repetition is that Cage is more of an image than a fighter; a mask that comes across as lies.  When thrust into fighting, he (based on circumstance explained later) must take off that mask and understand that the fate of the world runs through him.  Tom Cruise is a master of growth, and this role is no exception.  You see the depth in the character as he grows from a ‘hollow image’ into an invaluable hero; his character shines within a lot of scenes that come across thin.  Like one of the previous films I reviewed (Jack Reacher), his presence adds great value to the film.  The one thing that is different from that film is he does have a strong co-lead in this film.  Playing the enigmatic pseudo leader of the troops is Emily Blunt.  In the role as this furious fighter Rita, she shows a completely different kind of person than Cage.  She is not just another ‘image’ like Cage; she is a born and bred warrior, one that truly puts life before her own.  As her role goes in parallel to Cage’s, you see that she is the real catalyst to his growth.  The chemistry on screen between Blunt and Cruise creates a believable dynamic of ‘mentor/pupil’.  This part of their relationship feels real.  The one issue with their interaction is the fake conflict with the ‘romantic’ layer.  The romance seems force fed in the film.  Outside of these two individuals, you have a few other notable names in the film that play secondary to them.  You have Bill Paxton as Master Sergeant Farell and Brendan Glesson as General Brigham.  Their roles are more influence by representing plot points, but they have good timing with their dialogue, and compliment the main characters greatly.  The rest of the supporting cast come across annoying and cartoonish.  They become the typical one-dimensional characters you find in any kind of film, no matter genre.

The direction of this film cannot be described with any traditional explanation.  The film has an overall linear perspective that is grounded in Sci-Fi; while mixing it in with ‘Time Travel’ and ‘scripted comedy’.   That mixture spins confusion into focus, where the thematic becomes molded into the story.  This situation could saturate progress for visuals, but it all feels perfect in its imperfection of this film.  In the first act;  we are introduced to Cage.  A man labeled a ‘coward’; he is forced into the field by General Brigham.  Cage is a fragile man hidden behind a mask, which shows greatly through his first action on the front lines.  As the battle ensues, the visceral nature is an overwhelming thing to him.  You watch this characterization through the terrible ‘shaky cam’ technique (more later), you watch as his psyche begins to slightly deteriorate.  There is then a ‘plot trigger’ for the ‘time travel’ elements introduced.  Here, we see as Cage continues to live the current day over and over.  His repeating of the opening first act does come off ‘tedious’ at times, but its relevance is never in question.  Eventually, his repeating days causes him to cross paths with Rita.  Once the film introduces Rita into the mix, the whole disjointed direction in the first half begins to flow into one.  All the aspects of ‘Sci-Fi’ and ‘Time Travel’ begins to have a deeper impact through some general exposition, but the film’s pace does stay steady, and gradually picks up.  The balance between the pace and story pushes the film into a good medium.  This creates a focal point for all the elements of the film to be worth wild and entertaining.  With that fact, it also does sheds light (slightly) in the obvious flaws; which are the simple script, typical ‘action’ quips, and cliché love story.  As the film marches along in the fight against time (no pun intended), they eventually find the ‘macfuffin’ of the whole film.  This basically forces Cage and Rita working together to end this war forever.  As the third act of the film unfolds, we get a mesh-up of typical action with the ‘fight for survival’ tone felt throughout.  Even as the film draws out within this trivial method, it still entertaining to watch, as the scenes are commonly seen as ‘pulse-pounding’.  As we get to the climax, it ends on a mixture of closure and confusion.  There is a sense of accomplishment within non traditional means, but there is also some liberties taken to wrap the film up for a ‘prevailing’ end.

When it comes to the visuals of the film, it is ghastly in a good way.  From the creation of the battlefields, fights, aliens and future technologies, it all comes across as a crazy visual blur.  This makes the film somewhat disjointed in it’s experience.  When it comes to the overall ‘scope’ of the cinematography, it’s breathtaking.  The battlefields feel very dire, and the fighting feels relative, as if they were actually happening.  When it comes to the setup of the action scenes, the director uses the most obnoxious technique that takes away a lot of emotional grip; shaky cam.  Using quick/shaking edits to form ‘dramatization’ is lazy.  This tool takes away from any kind of ‘intensities’ in the film.  The score of the film is pretty minimal compared to the scope of the film.  The music is littered through in ‘typical’ fashion, but doesn’t do much to create greatness in the background.

Edge of Tomorrow is a film that finds a delicate balance between style and substance.  In that, it is able to get past its flaws and create a thoroughly entertaining movie.  The leads (Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt) are great, and the story will keep you enthralled till the end.  If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi or the actors/actresses involved, this is one for you.  It might not be deeply amazing, but it will entertain nonetheless.


2 Responses to “Edge of Tomorrow – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

  • Edge of Tomorrow was based on the Japanese light novel, All You Need Is Kill. It was written by the same author who wrote the Battle Royal series. Even though live action counter parts rarely stay true to their source I fond it to be a very entertaining.. If you are curious about how the live action adaption you can read the manga here http://kissmanga.com/Manga/All-You-Need-Is-Kill .

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