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Overall Rating
4

Awesome: 8.7%
Worth A Look86.96%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 4.35%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 5 user ratings


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Edge of Tomorrow
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Screw You, Butterfly Effect"
4 stars

The trouble with a lot of the big-budget behemoths of late is that while many of them--at least those not emerging from the bowels of Happy Madison--may start with an ingenious central idea, few of them manage to develop them into a completely satisfying story. Take "Maleficent," for example--while the notion of retelling "Sleeping Beauty" from the perspective of the villainess that paints her actions in a somewhat more sympathetic light has a lot of potential to it, the resulting film just never quite lived up to the promise of its premise. The sci-fi spectacular "Edge of Tomorrow," on the other hand, is that rare blockbuster entertainment that starts off with a nifty idea and then actually knows what to do with it after establishing its premise. The end result is a smart, exciting and sometimes very funny film that also serves as a reminder that when given decent material, which hasn't always been the case in recent years, Tom Cruise can still be one of the most commanding and interesting movie megastars of our time.

In the not-too-distant future, Earth is invaded by alien creatures known as Mimics that begin laying waste throughout Europe and, if not stopped, are poised to destroy the entire world. After numerous defeats, the home team finally scores a victory in Verdun as a seemingly ordinary soldier, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), manages to slaughter a hundred of the creatures single-handedly, earning herself the nickname "The Angel of Verdun." Newly emboldened, the humans decide to launch an offensive against the Mimics in France and just before the attack, Major William Cage (Cruise), a military poster boy from America who has never actually spent a single day in combat, arrives as an advisor. Unfortunately for him, the general in charge (Brendan Gleeson) seems to think that it would be a good idea for him to take part in the attack as well and when Cage refuses, he is knocked unconscious and when he wakes up the next morning, he is at a military base whose inhabitants are suiting up for battle.

Cage tries to insist to his superiors, including Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton), that it is all a mistake but as he has arrived with papers identifying him as a deserter, no one believes him. After getting suited up and armed with weapons that he doesn't really know how to operate, he and the rest of his platoon ship out to battle. However, the Mimics appear to have been ready for them and it quickly turns into a slaughter. Through sheer luck, Cage manages to take out a couple of them in an impressively gooey manner before eventually getting killed as well. The difference for him is that as soon as he dies, he is mysteriously transplanted back to the moment when he woke up at the base and finds himself reliving the exact same events.

Cage tries to explain this weirdness to others but they are even less inclined to listen to him than they were before and he finds himself in an endless time loop in which he goes into battle, does a little better each time as he learns and recalls the various patterns and then goes back to square one after dying. The one person who does believe his crazy story is Rita because she has first-hand knowledge of what is happening to him. It seems that that Mimics have the power to manipulate time and can basically hit a reset button to start the day over again if they die. At one time, Rita had accidentally acquired that power herself, which helped her rack up that body count in Verdun, and now Cage not only has it but can use it against the Mimics and destroy them for good by reliving the day repeatedly and using the knowledge that he gleans to get further to his goal. The trick, however, is that if he cannot make it to the end of his journey, he has to die and start all over again.

There are a lot of films out there that have been described as being like video games but even though "Edge of Tomorrow" is not actually based on a game (it comes from a Japanese book with the infinitely more interesting title "All You Need Is Kill"), it is the one that actually comes the closest to mimicking the actual process of mastering a complicated game scenario from the initial fumblings to the point where one could conceivably blast through the entire thing blindfolded. It is a bit of a one-joke premise but screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth & John Henry Butterworth and director Doug Liman, whose "Go" and "Jumper" also played fast and loose with time structures, manage to wring an astonishing number of variations on that particular theme ranging from the dramatic to the comedic so that it continues to feel fresh even when it is literally repeating itself, especially during the moments when the enormity of the time loop becomes more apparent. The funniest moments, by the way, come with the various ways in which our hero bites it. Suffice it to say, if you like Tom Cruise, you will like this film but if you hate him, there is a very good chance that you will love it.

Speaking of Cruise, he is really good here and more engaging that he has been in quite a long time. Instead of trying to shove his star stature down our throats, as has been the case with some of his enterprises in recent years, he smartly plays against type by portraying a character who suddenly discovers that his toothy grin and slick demeanor is simply not enough to get by and that only by truly applying himself will he finally be able to triumph against overwhelming odds. The result is a surprisingly engaging performance that should win back a lot of the fans that gave the instantly forgettable likes of "Jack Reacher" and "Oblivion" a pass. As his fellow render of the time-space continuum, Emily Blunt brings an intriguing energy to her character and is also quite convincing when it comes to kicking alien ass.

"Edge of Tomorrow" does have a couple of problems that keep it from fully achieving its potential. The opening scenes suggest a satirical intent along the lines of the great "Starship Troopers" that never quite comes to fruition while the explanation of how Cruise's character finds himself on the battle lines without any combat experience are needlessly complicated. The ending is also a bit of a problem as well as the last 20 minutes or so basically shove aside the wit and intelligence of the earlier scenes for yet another orgy of special effects involving aliens getting blown up real good. (While some may grumble that the aliens and their reasons for attacking are too vague, I kind of liked the fact that the film simply doesn't bother to come up with a lengthy and inevitably superfluous explanation.) However, "Edge of Tomorrow" is so entertaining in between those two points that I am more than willing to forgive those lapses. This is one of those rare mega-movies that proves that just because the budget numbers may be high doesn't mean that the IQ numbers necessarily have to plummet in response.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=24437&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/06/14 06:29:24
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User Comments

6/19/14 mr.mike Good sci-fi flick 4 stars
6/19/14 Bob Dog Hooray - a logical time travel movie - best movie of the year! 5 stars
6/16/14 cllugtxin USA 2 stars
6/15/14 Flipsider Nice to see that the movie sticks so close to the brilliant source comic! 5 stars
6/07/14 PAUL SHORTT ENGROSSING SCI-FI, WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Jun-2014 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Oct-2014

UK
  N/A

Australia
  06-Jun-2014
  DVD: 07-Oct-2014




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