Live/Die/Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow Review
Making our way through the Summer movie fest we find ourselves in, it’s easy to get lost in the myriad of films coming out each and every week, and as each week passes, it seems as though the next blockbuster-to-be is trying to overtake the previous box office topper. Edge of Tomorrow debuted the same weekend as The Fault in Our Stars and did not make as much at the theaters. As a matter of fact, it came in third behind TFiOS and Maleficent. Having cost $175 million to produce, it’s going to have a hard time making back its budget, and that is a shame because unlike many of the Tom Cruise-starring movies to come out in recent years, this one is pretty solid. I’m sorry to say that I went and saw the two movies that beat it before making it around to seeing this one, and I wish more people would go out and watch it because it’s got everything we’ve come to love in a Summer blockbuster with one thing that sets it apart from all the others; it’s an original piece of intellectual property.
“Original” is being used a bit lightly since the film’s premise is basically a mix of this…
That being said, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t still a good idea for a movie. Some of the scientific explanations for why things happen the way they do is glossed over and not adequately clarified, but in the end, none of that really matters. If you can accept the premise that a man is forced to relive a massive battle against aliens over and over every time he dies, then you can quit worrying and enjoy the movie.
One of Tom Cruise’s biggest flaws is that no matter what role he plays, audiences never get to see the character. They only see the actor. And while Edge of Tomorrow is no real departure from that stigma, he still puts on a good performance. He’s believable as a guy who’s in over his head and has no idea how to overcome his problem. Emily Blunt acts as a great co-star because she plays her role as an experienced and selfless soldier in as natural a way as she can, considering the source material.
The action is superbly done and never feels like it overstays its welcome or goes too far over the top. It is very intense and fast-paced, but it all serves a purpose to the telling of the story and doesn’t ever get to feeling like some audience-pandering diversion.
There are only two problems I had while watching this one. Neither of them are deal-breakers, but they do keep them film from really being something special. The first problem was the characters. If it weren’t for the actors, these characters could’ve been easily forgotten and would have not pulled the audience into the story in the least. Gravity suffered the same problem, but lucky for both movies, the engaging action of the story is enough to allow the audience to insert themselves into the scenario, and keeping the characters–with the exception of Bill Paxton–subdued, it makes it easier to immerse yourself into their shoes. Nevertheless, stronger characters would’ve given us more to hold onto and care more deeply about the trials and tribulations they all face.
The second problem is more of a pet peeve that Hollywood movies can’t seem to shake…pun intended. The shaky cam in certain scenes was simply obnoxious. What astonished me was that the shaky cam wasn’t so bad during the action scenes. Every scene in which the characters had to simply stand around and talk exposition, the actors held perfectly still and looked great, but the camera could not stop wobbling. I couldn’t even remember what anyone was talking about because it was so distracting. Note to directors: invest in one of these!
To sum up, the movie has a few hiccups and may never be regarded as a Sci-Fi/Action classic, but it’s definitely one of the more underrated films of its genre I’ve seen in a good long while. Do these people a favor and go pay to see this one in the theaters. They deserve to make their money back after producing a good, solid, fun action movie.
*Update: 6/23/2014: I came to discover shortly after publishing this article that Edge of Tomorrow is based on a manga called All You Need is Kill. Seeing as how I’m not familiar with many manga stories, it’s no wonder I didn’t know that. That being said, I still really enjoyed the movie and don’t think that realizing that it was another adaptation takes anything away from it, but I’ve got to fess up when I mess up. Now that I know this, I’m interested in reading All You Need is Kill.