Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (or What Groundhogs Day Might Look Like Via DARPA and Aliens)

Last night my brother and I went to catch the recently released Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt (along with Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton).

EoT is the story of one Cage (Cruise) who is a press officer and “not really a soldier” in the US Army who is more or less shanghaied into joining the International United Defense Force, the international coalition that is fighting against the invasion by the mimics, an alien race that crashed to Earth in Europe and has subsequently taken over. Cage’s “enlistment” takes places on the eve of a Normandy-like invasion by the IUDF and, mid-battle, Cage kills a strange mimic whose blood washes over him as he dies.

Cage then wakes up the previous morning, being kicked and yelled at by an NCO just like he had before.

What follows is a movie similar in concept to Ground Hog’s Day where every time Cage dies he resets time, somehow (it’s kind of explained but that’d be spoilers), and relives the same forty-eight hours of his time joining the IUDF, the invasion on the beach, and his subsequent, painful demise.

Emily Blunt plays Rita, alternatively known as the Angel of Verdun or the Iron Bitch, the IUDF’s most celebrated and successful soldier who, with little training, managed to single-handedly dispatch “over one hundred of the mimics” and led the IUDF forces in their first major victory. Rita is part of the ground forces and Cage becomes entangled with her when he tries to save her multiple times because he figures she’s his best chance of getting off the beach alive.

Only she knows what’s going on because it happened to her.

What follows is a movie that is fairly original, has pretty good action sequences, and flows well. The mimics are unique in their appearance (I particularly liked how they flowed and moved). Rita comes across as a believable bad ass (and I think Blunt did a good job with the acting) and Cruise does a good job of playing Cage as a soldier drastically out of his element. The performances by Paxton (nice to see him in a sci-fi movie again) and Gleeson were also well done if limited in scope.

My only real issue, of course, is the time travel, which I think is understandable because time travel is so incredibly problematic. I think the movie did a good job of not trying to give the time travel too deep of an explanation, it’s mostly just hand-wave-y “This is just how it is.” which serves better than if they tried to give it a logical explanation. Why Cage’s death would reset time for everyone else doesn’t make much sense to me unless you explain it that every time he dies he’s not really going back in time as much as he’s going to an alternate universe (in the multiverse theory) two days previous where he hasn’t made the same decisions yet. The ending is further problematic but I can’t really get into that because spoilers (plus, also, the implications for the rest of Cage’s life are a little strange).

Overall I enjoyed the film. Is it necessary to see in the theater? Not really but I managed to catch it for $6.50 (totally by accident, I didn’t know it was discount night at the theater) and would’ve been happy paying full price for it. 3D might work well for the movie, there’s plenty of explosions and stuff flying every where that might make that format fun to see it in.

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