At Face Value: Edge of Tomorrow

I had intended to shoot this review, but I’m about to leave for 2 weeks, and by then the review will almost be a month late, i say to hell with it and will start up again when i get back. In the meantime i will POST the scripts to my reviews.

Opening title

Edge of Tomorrow is not as original as people claim, the whole reliving one day thing (gun loading SFX look off-screen and BANG, cut to: )

Opening Title

Edge of Tomorrow is not as original as people claim, the whole reliving one day thing (duck and gunshot) has been done before. In the genre of Comedy: we have groundhog day, in straight concept sci-fi: There’s Source code. Edge of Tomorrow, if you couldn’t guess, is sci-fi action. It’s good sci-fi action, it’s just not original.

Edge of Tomorrow is a video game made into a movie. Most action movies share connective tissue, but few really FEEL like a game. The last one like this was World War Z. That one with its jumping around to exotic locations and then fleeing from zombies was reminiscent of a Call of Duty game, just with zombies. Edge of Tomorrow is Contra. Let me be clear, it is not LIKE Contra, it IS Contra. Aliens invade, and it’s up to a pair of heroes to save the day. Unfortunately for our heroes, this game is hard as all hell. Luckily, the good guys have extra lives. When they die, the game restarts, but this time they’re a little bit wiser. They play it until they’ve memorized the patterns, then it’s a piece of cake. Granted that’s how all movies with this gimmick play out, but with the addition of alien invasions the movie makes the comparison without any help.

Story: half star

Like I said, it wasn’t terribly original. It’s still a cool concept and I love most movies that employ it. But concept isn’t the only place this movie sticks; it is utterly trope-tastic. The badass action chick, the crazy squad, the Sergeant who’s got a hard-on for war, the inevitable romance between our leads, it’s all been done to death. In spite of that, Edge of Tomorrow still has some strength in the writing. It uses the repeating concept to both humorous and serious effect. The dialogue is quite clever, and the charisma of the leads really brings out the best in it. BUT, I can’t wrap my head around the romance. I get why Cruise would fall in love, an eternity learning about her bit by bit, always putting his life in her hands. But why would she love him at all after not even 24 hours?

Acting: star

I was really on the fence about this one. I was ready to give it a half star based on the supporting cast, but after talking with a friend and fellow critic of mine, I’ve been persuaded it was worth full credit. The supporting cast and characters were cheesy and had little depth. Leading the charge for them is… Bill Paxton (stare and cut to shot of bill Paxton and back and forth). Good to see that Hudson finally got promoted I guess.

Emily Blunt is riding shotgun on this flick; to begin with she’s a very convincing rendition of the badass action chick. But as it goes on she opens up and becomes fairly ordinary. At first that annoyed me, but it grew on me as I kept thinking about it. Soldiers aren’t that hard all the way thru, they are capable of being as normal as the next guy. The performance is still excellent; Blunt very handily goes convincingly from the Full Metal Bitch to total vulnerability. She’s just an excellent actress, in movies that may be lackluster, she still manages to shine.

I’ve always been in Tom Cruise’s corner, sure he’s been in lousy movies, turned in lacking performances, and had an…interesting personal life. Regardless of all those faults, he’s never really had a time where he didn’t have great performances too. To offset Rock of Ages, Vanilla Sky, Oblivion, we’ve had Tropic Thunder, The Last Samurai, and Collateral.  This movie belongs in the latter. Like blunt, he runs a full range, starting at a total jackass moving on to hero. I’d like to add it’s so refreshing seeing him in an action movie where he does more than sprinting.

Visual: Star

It looked really good. The exo-suit was fairly similar to other designs from sci-fi, but that doesn’t stop it from working quite well. Hell, they thought through them enough to even get not one, but several jokes out of it. The aliens looked pretty sweet, almost instantly reminded me of the demon from Princess Mononoke. I really do wish we could’ve seen the drones better, how they fight, what they look like up close. This may sound similar to the complaints about Transformers, but it really isn’t. Transformers doesn’t even give the aliens the dignity of getting them in frame. The Mimics are really fast, so when they ARE framed (and are quite often) they are simply moving too much to get a good focused view. A fundamental difference.

Sound: Half star

…there was music, there was sound. Sounded like any other sci-fi action blockbuster. Not a thing in this department stood out. I’ve said no news is good news, but it needs to have something to offset. When nothing is noticeable I don’t have  a lot to go on.

Fun: Full star

It was clever, funny and hell, and the action was solid. Yes it’s full of clichés, but clichés exist because we love them, and they work here. I’m a total sucker for time travel shenanigans and I just ate it up here. I will be buying this movie and watching it again, it’s fun to see the little things they usually go for in these movies.

Total: 4 stars

In spite of all its flaws, mediocre supporting cast, slightly shaky visuals, and generic story structure… it totally worked. It all worked. The flaws fall into place in such a way that makes the whole even better. The whole world is a cliché, as a result, the mimics know what’s going to happen because it’s all been done before, not just in this movie, but in all the movies before it. The movie points out the tropes, uses them, and then seeks to climb over the obstacles just to make victory that much more epic. Edge of Tomorrow, I tip my hat to you.

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