Edge of Tomorrow

edge_of_tomorrow_ver11

Release: Friday, June 6, 2014

[Theater]

Pinch me, I must be dreaming (over and over again).

This cannot possibly be the summer blockbuster whose early previews seemed to indicate (perhaps warn us cynics of) the coming of merely yet another summer bust. From the outset the odds were stacked against this film, a sci-fi whose gritty sheath initially appeared less a mark of ingenuity than an unapologetic example of precisely the opposite; a robotic compulsion to try and look grimmer than the last doomsday flick.

For all intents and purposes, everyone’s favorite scientologist was poised to star in the Oblivion of 2014 — not exactly a death sentence for such an iconic career, but the deflating sounds of a balloon losing air are really becoming audible now. Even if this recent romp went tits-up for Tom Cruise, at least there would still be something to ogle at (I refer to the scenery, not the woman he’s assigned to star alongside, though that’s never usually bad either). The man will never not be associated with films that flirt with one’s optical receptors. . . like, so totally hard. Breathtaking backdrops always do their best to compensate for whatever else of the movie audiences have a hard time taking seriously or even engaging in, be it the dialogue coming out of actors’ mouths or the script conveyed through their characters’ actions.

It seems as if Doug Liman’s the last man to receive the memo about the list of cliches Cruise’s career has been constructed out of. After mumbling “to hell with this,” he tossed the list out the metaphorical window and defiantly directed Edge of Tomorrow, a film about a group of worldwide soldiers uniting to save the world from total destruction. It’s a summer blockbuster film that is as far from average as you might get. As such, it is probably not possible for the Academy to even consider something as gigantic as a movie like this for any category — and truthfully, this isn’t quite that good — but this entry is just that one step closer. Action packed and perhaps stuffed even thicker with moments of refreshing and hilarious self-awareness, this epic adventure film about fighting for humanity’s right to live on is one of the biggest surprises of 2014.

Major William Cage (Cruise) may be the catalyst for filmgoers’ collective “oh my god, no way!” This is a role so unlike Cruise, a man whose honor, he feels, should be proven enough because he’s earned the high-ranking title of officer and whose contributions to the war should also be considered enough because he has a desk job and shiny cuff links. His whiny officer is given a major gut-check time when he’s brought before General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) and ordered to the front lines in the first wave of what appears to be humanity’s last stand against an alien creature — known as ‘the mimics’ — on the French beaches.

A parody of Saving Private Ryan this is not, but there are obvious references, and not to mention, it’s release date is more than convenient, coming on the 70th anniversary of the infamous D-Day invasion of Normandy. The drama that unfolds, on a visual spectrum, reaches blindingly brilliant. This might even be a film that could properly support the 3-D technology, though that experience is less than necessary. A standard format will immerse most of the senses in the same compelling way. From the moment Cage’s mission officially gets underway as he plummets from a crashing aircraft, we are into the thick of it. He’s still trying to figure out who’s going to answer for this grave mistake of sending him into battle. We are trying to figure out how any of this can possibly work out for the better.

And so begins a beautiful relationship between Cruise and Edge of Tomorrow‘s global audience. What we don’t expect next is the very thing that is waiting around the corner for us. This is true of Cruise’s latest performance and of the script itself. A routine cycle of living for a few moments, quickly getting killed off and re-spawning once more doesn’t seem like a recipe for hilarity, and yet the writers have a field day with this. There’s even a joke or two about suicide somewhere along the way, and even these fail to register as offensive. Meanwhile, Cruise does his best to not break the fourth wall in any of his major fight scenes. Not once does he turn to the camera, hair blowing back epically in the wind of the destruction and loss of life around him, with the fortitude to whisper to us all (just once): “this is all a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?”

Unfortunately he never comes right out and says it but his performance, especially when measured up against a great dramatic turn from Emily Blunt, certainly is suggestive. Perhaps that’s more the work of brilliant writing from it’s four writers and direction from Liman. I don’t really care upon whom I should heap more praise, though; it’s the fact that the collective effort that went into this film — a film sitting smack-dab in the middle of the year, mind you — seems to have figured out a different policy for entertaining mass audiences. It neither panders to viewers nor does it have such a high-concept plot so as to come off condescending.

Fast-paced, funny and constantly engaging — not to mention, bolstered by some of the coolest aliens this side of Men in Black — Edge of Tomorrow is blockbuster filmmaking as it should be. The way the narrative develops is far from perfect, as the climactic final thirty minutes take to somewhat secure ground compared to the film’s refreshingly extemporaneous tone earlier on; however, I refer you to the previous line as to why slight slip-ups are not going to spell the end of the world.

emily-blunt-poed-at-tom-croooooze

3-5

Recommendation: Critics and audiences agree: Edge of Tomorrow surprised the shit out of us. This is a real treat. Again, it could be argued there has been too much anti-Tom Cruise/scientology sentiment going around that perhaps cast a very unfavorable light upon his newest outing. Or it could be I, personally, am just becoming very cynical the more movies I watch, and it very well could be that this was always going to be a great movie from the start. I would like to read the book now. Yes please.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 113 mins.

Quoted: “On your feet, maggot!”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

Advertisements

42 thoughts on “Edge of Tomorrow

  1. Pingback: The 2014 DigiBread Awards | digitalshortbread

  2. “Critics and audiences agree: Edge of Tomorrow surprised the shit out of us.” HA! Exactly. Bro, this needs to be a headline for the New York Times. I agree completely. I expected so much blah, and I got so much fun. Did not love the ending, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the film. And, yeah, Cruise and Blunt are surprisingly great together! Excellent review, Tom!

  3. Just discovered your blog Tom, keep up the great work!

    I really enjoyed EoT and, like you say, it was a huge improvement on Oblivion. I saw the trailer and thought it was going to be another generic action sci-fi, but I’m glad it was so much more. Great chemistry between Cruise and Blunt, fantastic aliens and a meaty plot to get stuck into! I couldn’t get onboard with the ending, but this is one of the films of the year so far for me.

    • Hey Andy, so so sorry I’m taking awhile getting back to your comment here. Cheers, and thanks so much for stopping on by. I’m glad you liked what you found. Edge was a great adventure, wasn’t it? Count me in to the group of people very much blown away by its quality. A Tom Cruise working against-type is always welcomed and it was nice to see a story become meta without overdoing it. Some films easily are funny that way but go over-the-top.

      I wasn’t big on the ending either but didn’t think it was bad. It was more typical of a blockbuster film, though. Definitely will say that.

      • No problem Tom! My biggest surprise of the year so far and I’m no huge fan of sci-fi either, a great film indeed!

  4. Terrific review, Tom. This remains the biggest cinematic surprise of the year, so far. The only thing I wish from Hollywood now is… “More films like this, please” 😀

    Every single ingredient is seamlessly blended. the entire story is perfectly stable. And despite its repeated narrative, it never becomes tiresome or looks dull. Loved everything about it. The Most Satisfying Blockbuster of the Year? In my opinion, Hell Yeah!!!

    • Hey buddy, nice to see ya! Yeah, what a nice surprise this turned out to be! I think a sufficient review of the movie would be that one word. lol. Tom Cruise stepping aside of his ego for once. Check. Emily Blunt being a general badass. Check. Brendan Gleeson in another awesome role. Check. Great action. Check. Smarts. Check. Hell yeah, indeed!

      • I don’t think there was much for anyone other than Cruise & Blunt but Gleeson & Paxton still filled in nicely. Best part was the seamless combination of action & humour in this! Loved it throughout its runtime & not for once did it get tiresome.

        Reviewed it a few hours go. Pass by whenever you get the chance. Would love your opinion on it.

    • It was good, wasn’t it? Thanks Josh. Again, good to see you around these parts again!

      Making a come-back? 😉

      • For now. If I continue seeing movies instead of baseball, I will stick around all baseball season. If I don’t, I’ll probably wind up taking another hiatus at some point. 🙂

    • Yes it was Wade, it was surprising indeed! I’ll be on by to check yours out in just a little bit. Thanks so much for stopping by and giving some input here! 🙂

  5. Tom. We agree. We agree hard! I was shocked at how much I liked this film. Just did my review but the more I think about the film the more I think I like it. Love a pleasant surprise at the cinema 😀

    Great review Tom

    • Thanks ever so much man. The fact that this didn’t boil down to your standard action flick was an impression I had read very early on in the first wave of reviews and that pretty much flipped the switch in my head to decide to go see it. Before that though there was almost no way. Although it didn’t look offensive or dumb, it didn’t look inspired at first. So I had no real reason to get excited. I think it helps when you go into a movie completely setting your standards on the floor. I’m not talking about lowering them. . .I’m talking about just not having any! 😀

  6. I’m not big on Tom Cruise. Nor was I big on the trailers that were provided for this film. However, I found myself pleasantly surprised. The aliens were bad-ass and awesome-looking! Anyone who denounces them has bad taste….

    I found myself disappointed with the generic ending though. No risks were taken and the obvious happens. I feel like I seen the final battle a million times as recently as last year with Pacific Rim. It went from intriguing to entirely predictable mid-way which kind of stinks!

    • The ending was certainly weaker, but this is only when you compare it to how strong a foot the film starts out on. If the film had a slightly weaker intro and had less humor placed throughout, I’d think the difference would not be as felt. That said, it is felt and I do agree. It’s not the best finish but it’s not to the point where it hurt the project, I don’t think.

      But I’d def agree on Pacific Rim, though. That was pretty conventional start-to-finish, even if I had a blast watching all that destruction. The Jager bots were pretty badass. And the kaiju, too.

  7. Sorry just finally getting to read this now (I’m having WordPress app problems, making reading & especially commenting on other blogs extremely difficult but I won’t bore you with the details). ; ) Fantastic review! (As always). You already know we agree on this one. What a nice surprise this one was. : )

    • And I am just having general. . . issues! I saw these comments the other day and I guess just went right on with my day! 😛 8)

      Yes indeed. Edge of Tomorrow might be one of my favorite Tom Cruise movies now. Never thought I’d see myself. . .typing. . . .that. . . ever. lol

    • I think you absolutely should Victor. It’s certainly worth a look, definitely for the humor alone. The plot meanders and eventually conforms to the generic blockbuster route, but overall this was a movie that more than avoided falling into too many traps.

  8. “This is a real tread.” Indeed! Man, this surprised the hell out of me. It’s smart and savvy but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Cruise is perfectly cast here too, while Blunt rocks. Excellent stuff Tom!

    • Thank ye, Mark! Thanks very kindly. I am excited to report good news as well. I have to be honest the apprehension coming in heightened the surprise, there’s no doubt about it. But no matter how I felt before, it’s how I felt after that really matters. 🙂

      Glad you dug it as well

  9. Hey there Tom! Nice to be surprised isn’t it? I’m glad I gave this a shot after reading all the positive reviews, and even nicer that it lived up to them, too!

    • It is great being surprsied, especially after paying at the theater! Edge of Tomorrow seems poised to become one of 2014’s biggest and best surprises, I think. 22 Jump Street this weekend is probably going to be quite popular, but I see it less of a surprise. Gonna be great, hopefully though. (I am susceptible to those kinds of comedies, I’m afraid.) 🙂

      Glad to hear you had some fun with Tom Cruise’s new flick, too Ruth. Thanks for stopping by

  10. It’s very cool to see so many positive reviews for this. I was a tad sceptical going in, but you’re right, this is one of the year’s surprises. Great write-up mate!

    Adam.

    • *Glass clink* Cheers sir.

      It has really seemed to have caught everyone sideways, with the high quality factor. It’s to a point now where I wonder how much of an insult that must feel to the director, I mean he’s got to feel that sense of a buzz in the air. It also is slightly responsible for the less-than-impressive box office nubmers. This could have been a bigger hit, as Mark said up top

      • Good point Tom, we should have expected this from the guy who brought us The Bourne Identity. (Maybe not from the guy who bought us Jumper though). Definitely a disappointment that EoT isn’t a bigger hit. Intelligent blockbusters are quite rare and deserve both critical and financial plaudits!

  11. Great review Tom! I really thought that this was going to fall flat, the trailer did nothing to inspire me or get me to want to watch it. If anything, it looked really bland and embarrassing. I hope that my experience of this when I finally watch it is not the same as my reaction to Pacific Rim, which people (strangely) seemed to love.

    • !!! Samesies. I was not moved one bit by the trailers. Actually, that’s a lie. I was. I was moved right on to the next trailer after about 30 seconds because it looked at first just like every big CGI-laden action film Cruise had ever been in! Boy was I wrong. 🙂

      I can take or leave most of Pacific Rim. The story was lame as all hell, and the characters weren’t developed at all. It’s much much better on both fronts here. Even if you don’t like Cruise, it’s funny watching him get owned. In fact, I’d say that’s probably the best humor. Cruise soiling his own image. 😀 😀

      • LOL! Yeah I thought it looked cheesy and weak. We will see. I will watch it eventually.

        I really, really didn’t like that one AT ALL. What a waste of my life that was. Those characters simply grated on my last nerve. Oh I don’t mind Cruise, I am not a hater on him, I think he has done some really good work before. I think that could still be fun and games to watch though haha!

    • Muchos gracias Fernando!!!!

      I’ve seen people denounce them, but I thought they were really freaking awesome. They were just scary in how unrelenting and quick they were. I also was really digging the concept that they could anticipate our immediate-future actions and prevent us from really ever winning the war, ultimately. THis was a well-thought out movie. And very meta. And funny.

      Great stuff.

  12. I do still cling to the idea that a “blockbuster” should have the courage to adhere to the very logic that it itself has set up. The ending was a serious misstep. However everything that came before that was spectacular.

    This should’ve been a bigger hit.

    • On a quick side note, I love how I claimed over on yours that I was trying to go for a different perspective and wound up writing the entirely same thing everyone’s being say about it: “Big surprise, Tom Cruise is good, there’s a lot action. Mimics.” Lol.

      Anyway, yeah I agree. The more I think about the ending the more average I think the entire package is. I gave it a real high score on the real high I was riding out of the theater. It surpassed expectations, and by a long shot. I might forgive it a little for the conventional finish. I think it ended in a way in which a sequel SHOULDN’T be possible. 😉

Comments are closed.