“Edge of Tomorrow” is one of the most interesting, action packed sci-fi flicks ever made. It deftly combines the military precision of Jim Cameron’s “Aliens,” the fun of “Groundhog Day” and speed of the new Star Trek films. It’s just a brilliant bit of filmmaking.
Director Doug Liman manages to not only to get the most out of one of the most famous men on Earth in the form of Tom Cruise (who is fantastic), he never loses focus on the story despite the huge number of excellent special effects.
If the best films feature round characters, they also tend to have a supporting set of plot twists, props and set design that also change as the story does. Simply put, it’s all working to perfection in “Edge of Tomorrow.” The character development, the plot twists, the sets, the music and the editing (which is nothing short of amazing) all build scene after scene until the end of the film.
In a film like this, where a character must relive a day over and over, it’s incredibly easy to bore an audience or frustrate them. Not only do James Herbert and Laura Jennings (the co-editors) keep that from happening, they manage to make what should be a negative into a positive, for when leaps forward into time happen, they are very fun and satisfying.
The cast is just great — Bill Paxton is wonderful as a drill sergeant, while Cruise’s love interest in the film, Emily Blunt, is both sexy and tough — and has real charisma with Cruise. As far as Crusie goes, I’m somewhat of a slappy, but it’s really hard to see anyone other than maybe him in the role — always a good sign.
The music isn’t great — you won’t be humming the theme when you walk out of the film — but it manages not to repeat itself too much and is a professional job. The sets, the props (especially the battle suits), the guns, the aliens — it’s all what you’d expect and want from a top of the line Hollywood film.
Ultimately, “Edge of Tomorrow” is influenced by lots of good sci-fi films, but remains its own show. And that, I believe, is what fans want to see. For instance, anyone who’s seen “Starship Troopers” will immediately see the similarities to the battle scenes in “Edge of Tomorrow,” particularly the drop ships. But “Edge of Tomorrow” is just different enough to add something new to the mix (while living up the great action in “Starship Troopers”). The film doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does give it a nice fast spin.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
In sci-fi films without a humanoid antagonist, the heroes have to do all the heavy lifting. Such is the case in “Edge of Tomorrow.” While it makes perfect sense in terms of the story (which is quite clever), it does mean the ultimate showdown won’t be quite the same as Kirk defeating Khan or Luke overcoming the Emperor. It isn’t a fault per se, but it does mean that this story — brilliantly told though it is — can never quite be a five star film. But it’s dang close.
In the end, humor, amazing action, top notch production value, great actors and a new, unpredictable storyline make “Edge of Tomorrow” the first must-see, live-action flick of 2014. See it while you can on a big screen.
4.5 “Holy shit, a great movie that’s not a remake!” stars out of 5.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
“Edge of Tomorrow” was directed by Doug Liman from a script by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth. It’s based on the novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and it stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.