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‘Edge of Tomorrow (2014)’ Throwback Review: An Underrated Sci-Fi for the 21st Century

What happens when you take the premise of Groundhog Day and put a sci-fi twist to it, a freakin' awesome experience. Here's my review of the most underrated film of 2014, Edge of Tomorrow.

The best kinds of Hollywood blockbuster are the ones you really didn’t expect to be entertaining than what you originally thought when hearing the premise. Honestly, who would’ve thought the word of mouth for Edge of Tomorrow made this 2014 sci-fi a classic in the making? Unique of a premise this brought to everyone is one of the few reasons why people should’ve paid more attention to this when it came out. Would you agree?

What’s the Story: Set in the future where Earth is under attack by aliens called “Mimics,” Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is blackmailed into fighting the aliens with no combat experience whatsoever. But after he kills the Alpha Mimic during an invasion, he’s able to relive the same day before the invasion due to the alien’s blood exposed to him. Meeting Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who shared the same exact experience as he’s going through right now, she helps him through training in defeating these aliens with every chance he gets, even if that means dying repeatedly to save mankind.

Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

If I were to describe what Edge of Tomorrow is, let’s say that this is an acclamation of Minority Report meets Halo meets Aliens meets Groundhog Day. Would you buy that premise? When we all saw the trailers for this, many were a little bit worried this would be 2013’s Oblivion all over again? Not in the slightest. While I’m not in the group of people who hated Oblivion, it’s a beautiful-looking movie, but it could’ve been better.  For me, my anticipation was reasonable enough to where it looked cool enough to see, especially since sci-fi is my go-to genre. Seeing this on its Thursday night screening, I didn’t know what to think, but I was keeping an open mind since I have nothing but respect for Mr. Cruise. Walking out, I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed. Hands down, this is one of the coolest sci-fi movies to come out of the last decade.

This honestly was such an immense surprise. It may seem like an original movie to the eye, but it’s based on the Japanese light novel called “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and what an adaption this brought to life. Maybe having a plot about someone constantly getting killed to get everything right might sound repetitive since it has been done so many times. Just like with Groundhog Day or another underrated time-loop gem Source Code, this takes it on a smart and even funny level of enjoyment feeling like yourself needs to get everything right. It feels like you’re playing a video game, and when you die, you come back to life starting over. As someone who plays a lot of Grand Thief Auto or an action game, it’s easy to see where you make a mistake during a mission and get killed, but you already know the ways to getting back on track without, hopefully, failing again.

You wanna know why Tom Cruise is awesome? Because he’s always committed to any role and proves he’s still an action star everybody looks up to. When this came out, this was his best action movie in a few years. What was unexpected about his performance as William Cage is that he doesn’t start out playing a hero as one would assume from seeing Cruise in the lead; he actually plays much-so a coward in this based solely on his first few times staying alive and how he didn’t want to go to war, which was pretty different from how they marked the film. But as the progression of his character follows on, he’s beyond capable of what he’s doing, and his character arc truly comes full circle. Right around the middle is where we see him blasting these aliens left and right after constantly resetting.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

But if you wanna talk about a badass woman? Emily Blunt is the answer as Rita Vrataski, the “Angel of Verdun.” She had got to be the most talked-about an on-screen heroine that’s outstanding and powerful since Ripely from Aliens. Both working together captured everything right as she helps Cruise out training him how to kill these aliens and trying not to get killed as she also experienced the same thing he has. Plus, it was almost refreshing when she’s training Cruise because we rarely see gender role swaps like this before. You do not understand how cool it was to see something like that. The chemistry she shares with Cruise was excellent in every scene they’re in together, even more so you start to realize every time a new day turns, she’s meeting him for the first time, but Cage has introduced himself multiple times before. I also liked the fact they didn’t push them to be love interests of each other or get them too attached to one another if one of them dies. Emily Blunt in this made me love her even more, and it’s her role in that makes me want to see her in a lot more action movies like this.

Also, I have to mention Bill Paxon (R.I.P.) as Sargent Farell for just having a great screen presence, and you can tell he had a terrific time here. His performance made me think of this as a stricter version of his character Hudson in Aliens. Gone too soon, man.

Doug Liman (The Bourne IdentityMr. & Mrs. Smith) directed a non-stop action movie that’s never dull but gets more exciting with every sequence, which is why this has got to be the best in his filmography in a long time due to his style of not becoming very over-the-top with everything. Just the first battlefield scene alone when they’re in this Saving Private Ryan/ Normandy Beach kind of battle where hell is taking place for these soldiers since aliens are involved was exhilarating when I first saw it on the big screen. As soon as Cage wakes up for the first time, I had to catch my breath. All the action set pieces never become uninteresting when it starts, and you never know how it will end, despite some of them being the beginning battle sequence. The script by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth is very clever with very good dialogue that’s interesting to the plot, and even the humor infused in here becomes funnier after watching it multiple times whenever Cage gets killed unexpectedly that’s a surprise to anyone watches. This is coming from the perspective of someone who has never read the source material this was based on. Those who’ve read it would think they did an excellent job of translating this to the screen or not, depending on if you read it.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

In talking about the visual effects and how they were handled in here, this should’ve gotten nominated for an Oscar because it looked cool. They even had the actors wear those mech suits that I assumed were very heavy. The aliens themselves have a cool design to them than what I expected as if they based their movements on them doing drugs and freak out when going into action. And the editing needs some credit when it needs to montage through when Cage dies and changes the next time, making everything fast-paced for us to keep up.

But it disappointed me this didn’t do that well at the box office, despite positive reviews, as it was only number three domestically. That alone is why I’ve always thought of this as underrated. Thankfully, it got more recognition on home video, even though I’m not a fan of the studio re-titling it with the tagline “Live. Die. Repeat.” When this came out on Blu-ray, I re-watched this on a day off from school when the seniors were out for testing for something. Talks of a sequel have been going around for a few years now, but word is there’s still getting it started or something. Part of me doesn’t want it to happen, but I’m willing to hear what the plot is this time around. Trust me when I say this was one of the biggest surprises of the year where most of us expected nothing out of it, and it blew our minds. Because of that, it made it on my best list of 2014, let alone pushing it up to my fifth spot the more I thought about it.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow delivered an outstanding sci-fi blockbuster that captures that’s definitely intelligent, well-acted, action-packed, and breathtaking all around. This is always a movie I recommend to those who missed this six years ago, and still do now since it’s not your average film you find in the genre. You got to live throughout this entire movie, dies from enjoyment, and repeat all over again.

Grade: A-

Edge of Tomorrow Movie Poster

1 comment on “‘Edge of Tomorrow (2014)’ Throwback Review: An Underrated Sci-Fi for the 21st Century

  1. Pingback: ‘Edge of Tomorrow (2014)’ Throwback Review: An Underrated Sci-Fi for the 21st Century — DC’s Take | Fantasy/Sci-Fi FILM & WRITING FESTIVAL

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