“Groundhog Independence Day”
Time travel movies have always fascinated me. What if you could go back in time, change the past and right the wrongs? What if you could forever alter history for the better? The possibilities are endless. Then there are movies like Groundhog Day, one of the all-time great comedies. While not traditional “time travel,” the character is stuck in a time loop – forced to repeat the same day over and over. We already know that this can mean comedy gold, but what if you apply it to a big-budget action movie? Enter Edge of Tomorrow.
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is the public face of military recruiting, yet he has never actually been in combat. After successfully recruiting hundreds of thousands of new soldiers for the war against a technologically advanced alien race who has invaded Earth, General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) wants to embed Cage in the action to gather PR footage. When he declines, going as far as to basically blackmail the general to get out of duty, he is put under arrest and ends up tased by military police. When he wakes up, he meets Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) who is the opposite of sympathetic to his situation. Cage ultimately ends up on the battlefield, unskilled and untrained, and dies minutes after landing on the ground. But unlike most deaths, his results in waking up at the moment he was detained by MP. Everything is exactly the same, and eventually he finds that no matter what he does – he is living the same day over and over after each death.
The film is a perfect combination of action and comedy. Much like Groundhog Day, Cruise’s character finds himself in a humorous situation – even though his situation seems far more serious. His interactions with his fellow soldiers become more and more laughable as he becomes accustomed to his new routine. And even though his day is based on him dying over and over, knowing that he will wake up and have another go at it makes it seem not so bad. Meanwhile the action on the battle field is great, especially as Cage becomes accustomed to his surroundings. Watching Cruise stumble over trying to memorize what is going to happen and when is quite funny, and never seems to get old. And over time the once inexperienced Major becomes a lethal soldier before our eyes.
Emily Blunt plays Rita Vrataski, a top soldier marketed as “The Angel of Verdun” by the military – and nicknamed “Full Metal Bitch” by the soldiers. Simply put, Blunt is a total badass in the role, as she wields what looks like a giant buster sword straight out of Final Fantasy VII. Her character is extremely entertaining to watch, especially when she is taking out aliens left and right. Once Cruise is finally introduced to her character, the action steps up another notch and the film really takes off. Rita is one of the only people that Cage can share is situation with, because she has experienced the time loop first hand before losing the ability. The two must work together to try and put an end to the alien invasion before Cage dies and resets the day. Both actors have a great chemistry together, and are a lot of fun to watch try and get a grasp on the situation.
The special effects in Edge of Tomorrow are top notch. The movie has all the makings of a summer blockbuster, and with a $178 million dollar budget they spared no expense. The aliens are awesome looking – something like a cross between the sentinels from The Matrix and the aliens in Starship Troopers.
We already know that Tom Cruise still has what it takes to be an A-list action star as he enters his 50s (see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Oblivion). I grew up watching his movies as a kid, and I still have the same excitement I had then about seeing him star in a new movie – and maybe even more-so. Edge of Tomorrow is a great action/Sci-Fi film that also makes you think while eating your popcorn. While Cruise is living the tagline, “Live. Die. Repeat.,” audiences will most likely be “Watching. Enjoying. Repeating.”
Edge of Tomorrow is an A.