Monday, July 18, 2016

Just Finished Watching... Edge Of Tomorrow

You know, I'm not a huge Tom Cruise fan. I was way too young to appreciate him in Top Gun (try 4 years old... and actually, I've never watched that movie in its entirety, only seen bits and pieces when its been on TV over the years) I'm not a Mission: Impossible fan and the only thing I took away from Jerry Maguire was "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"
But I have to admit, the man can make a movie. I've seen his other recent sci-fi offering, Oblivion, but I think Edge of Tomorrow was the better of the two.
Warning, this post contains some spoilers!
The premise of this story is a firm favorite of mine; a reluctant soldier fighting aliens has to relive the same day over and over again, the day restarting every time he dies.
I absolutely love a Ground Hog day story. Any time one of my favorite TV shows does it (Stargate SG1 and Supernatural always come to mind as examples of shows that have done this brilliantly) I'm pretty much in heaven. That, and the fact this was a sci-fi were the only two elements which made me want to watch this movie. However, I ended up enjoying it far more than I expected. 
This was the kind of character-driven story I like to see, though usually I'm consuming them in TV series format and the evolution of the character happens over a long period of time, often taking years.
For William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow, the journey from reluctant participant to outright hero was fast and brutal. And I have to say I was very impressed with how the sometimes obligatory blockbuster movie romance between Cage and his counterpart heroine, Rita Vrataski, (played by Emily Blunt) was woven into the story. The audience wasn't clobbered over the head with it, nor was it ever completely forgotten in favor of other story elements. It built up along with the tension as Cage went from simply trying to survive the day, to actively intending to beat the alien invasion.
As the story built toward the inevitable bloody ending, and each character was killed off one by one, I thought this was going to be case of a movie where the main characters die, but the world is saved, so its a hollow kind of happily ever after. However, the surprise in this ending came in Cage regaining the ability to loop time (after losing it that day and expecting that he would no longer be able to right things if he or Rita were killed) taking him to an earlier time hours before his original reset point. However, instead of everything being the same and faced with killing the aliens again, Cage finds that the world is reporting a mysterious event had occurred and the aliens have basically dropped dead, meaning the final battle that Cage had spent the whole movie trying to fix doesn't even end up coming about, and he is the only one with memory of what happened. Cage goes to find Rita, who of course doesn't remember him, and the movie closes on Cage looking relieved and happy. You can just imagine that he's going to take her out for a drink, tell her what happened and they'll live happily ever after.
Now, for a lot of people, I can see this ending would have caused a lot of wtf-ery. For myself, only my previous experience with movies and TV shows dealing in time travel, and some thinking on my part meant I wasn't totally thrown. I have to say, however, when the movie initially finished, I did yell rather loudly "what the hell just happened?"
But, the theory I have is this: because the aliens controlled time, when Cage killed them and regained the power of time looping, their death happened outside the normal bounds of the space-time continuum, which is where they probably existed anyway. Still with me? Cage was dying when he regained the power, and I have to imagine one of his last dying thoughts was wishing he could go back before it all started. So though he didn't realize what he was doing (and since the power is never really explained in depth, this is just a guess on my part) I have to think that Cage sent himself back to an earlier point, well before his usual reset place, to a time before he was even told that he would be joining the battle front.
So, as I said, I ended up enjoying this movie far more than I expected. Though some hard-core sci fi fans might complain about the lack of explanation behind a lot of the story concepts, I was happy to go with it in return for a great character-growth story arc and understated but excellent undertones of romance. However, being an action movie, this was on the violent side, with too many different kinds of death scenes of both Cage and other characters to count. Not for the squeamish, but if you can stomach a bit of graphic violence and Tom Cruise, then I think this movie is definitely worth watching. I might even see it a second time!

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