Just when you thought this movie made sense, along comes the whacking great plothole at the end…
|Tom Cruise as Maj. William Cage|
|Emily Blunt as Rita Vrataski|
|Bill Paxton as MSg. Farrell Bartolome|
|Brendan Gleeson as Gen. Brigham|
|with the Sentinels from The Matrix guest starring as The Mimics|
Sometimes, there are good alien names, and then there are bad alien names. Examples of good alien names are Xenomorph from Alien, and the veritable variety presented in Mass Effect, Star Trek and Babylon 5. Exhibits for bad alien names are inari (which is a Japanese dish) and Mimics from Edge of Tomorrow. The name is bad simply because the Mimics…don’t actually mimic anything. Apart from the Sentinels from The Matrix, maybe. I digress.
Edge of Tomorrow, based on the Japanese manga/anime series All You Need is Kill, stars the ubiquitous science fiction action military hero Tom Cruise, as another dude thrown into chaos, mayhem and war against aliens. This time, the set up is that, in the near future, aliens called Mimics have crash landed in continental Europe, attacking and destroying many of the major population centres and causing complete economic chaos. It takes five years for the Europeans to win a single battle, in the German town of Verdun, and as an unsurprising aside, the French surrendered very easily to their new overlords.
After the victory in Verdun, Cruise’s character, Major William Cage is sent to London and placed under the command of General Brigham, who orders him to be deployed on the front lines of a planned surprise assault against the Mimics to record the expected victory. Cage, who is nothing more than a media relations specialist (although, how the hell he got to the rank of Major is anyone’s guess), attempts to blackmail the general to avoid being placed in a combat situation. Yes, that goes extremely well. So well, in fact, that he gets tasered and sent to the front lines as a private, stuck in a suit of powered armour and is subsequently killed on the beach front during the initial assault, because the Mimics already somehow know of the impending incursion. However, just before he bites the dust, he manages to fluke a kill of a massive blue Mimic, which endows him with the power to turn back time to the previous day every time he dies.
Cage’s groundhog day phenomenon allows him to survive longer and longer in the battle, but he finds there is no way he can save the day, despite being incrementally better in the battle as each time loop gives him an opportunity to hone his skills. He eventually meets Rita Vrataski, who is the hero of Verdun, with her signature anime specification sword, in a nod to the original source. Although she explains to him that the only reason the humans won that battle was because she experienced the same time looping phenomenon as Cage did, by killing a blue Mimic. Cage and Vrataski team up to try to find an end to the war and the Mimics, by killing the mastermind specimen, The Omega Mimic, which looks a bit like the Sarlaac.
As a plot device, the time looping is used to great effect in the movie. While there’s plenty of repetition for Cage, the audience only sees the loops as a clever narrative device and is sometimes used as a gag to relieve tension for the audience. In fact, the movie is quite funny in parts, through smart scripting, pacing and timing, which is good, because it gets pretty serious where all the war, explosions and destruction is concerned. Another great thing about the movie was the way the movie didn’t go through the tedium of every single loop, but used the dialogue between characters to help the audience with the understanding of just how many times Cage has lived and died in each scenario.
If I had to nitpick, I’d immediately ask where the bloody hell did the air forces of Europe go? The movie depicts the Mimics as completely land based aliens, with no ability to fly. Certainly, during the beach assault, some high level air cover from a few Joint Strike Fighter or Eurofighter squadrons could well have turned the tide of the battle. The same goes for why the Europeans were left to fight this threat alone. Surely, the Americans would have been pretty happy to bomb the crap out of the Mimics and help out their allies. However, the dumbest thing in this movie is reserved for the end. Where the time looping was used to great effect for 98% of this movie, the end is possibly one of THE WORST I’ve ever seen and is so incredibly stupid, that you have to see it for yourself. Unfortunately, it was made purely for the requirement of a happy ending for the characters and it just felt contrived.
Edge of Tomorrow is a mostly smart, well scripted and tight movie. It is very loud, very much action oriented, but also has an understanding that the tedium of living and dying in a war repeatedly requires comic relief. The plot devices are done well, the visual design spectacular and its narrative fantastic. The only let down in the whole movie is the end, which is dumb, because it’s all in the pursuit of a happy ending. However, I do recommend that you spend some money and time, though, hopefully not too much of it, and watch Edge of Tomorrow. You’ll be pleased.
Check out the trailer
Good action, alien war movie, which is pretty fun. It is let down by a stupid plot hole at the end though.
Should I watch this?
Yes, it’s a visually brilliant film which is probably one of the best movies this year so far. It is very well made and definitely worth the price of admission.