Saturday, June 14, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow: The True Summer Blockbuster

If you're reading this, stop and go to the theater to watch Edge of Tomorrow.

Still reading? Fine, guess I have to sell you on it some more. If you have dismissed this movie because the trailers make it look like another lumbering Tom Cruise sci-fi flick, I beg of you, give it another chance. Because this movie is so much more than that. It is inventive, witty, tense, thrilling, romantic, fun, fast-paced, and fabulous. And I am begging you to see it because it had a mediocre opening weekend, which means that studios might decide that audiences don't care for such movies and will continue to make the same rote summer movies instead. I saw it on the second week of its release at my local multiplex and it was already downgraded to the tiny 100-seat theater, with limited show times and barely any audience. But those of us who watched the movie left happy, completely delighted by the two-hour spectacle we had just witnessed.

Based on the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is set sometime in the future when the world is in the midst of an invasion by aliens called Mimics. Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, a cowardly PR spokesperson for the United Defense Forces (UDF) who are valiantly battling the aliens. He is forced into battle and inadvertently obtains the Mimics' power to reset time. This is how the Mimics have been winning all their battles - if things go wrong, they can reset the day and anticipate the UDF's every move, thereby always emerging victorious and rapidly taking over the world. But now Cage has this power and every time he is killed in battle, he just wakes up 24 hours earlier. At first he is unable to make any difference in his day, since his fellow soldiers just think he is crazy. Then he runs into Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a famous soldier who led the only successful battle against the Mimics. She recognizes what has happened to Cage, because it happened to her earlier. She lost the power, but now she is determined to train Cage so that he can help her find the Mimics' power source and destroy them once and for all.

The brilliance of this movie lies in the editing. The repetitive nature of Cage's predicament could lead to extremely dull storytelling, but instead, the scenes are cut together in a way that is both wonderfully witty and also accelerates the pace of the movie. Director Doug Liman knows how to balance action, humor, and drama perfectly and you are always on the edge of your seat or chuckling as Rita shoots Cage again because he got injured during training and she needs to reset the day. Emily Blunt is an absolute powerhouse in this movie, holding her own next to Tom Cruise and teaching him how to be a hero while she battles Mimics and saves the world repeatedly. They make a great team and it's wonderful to watch their relationship evolve as Cage learns more about Rita but every day she is just meeting him for the first time.

Edge of Tomorrow has everything you want in a summer blockbuster. An original story, great action, impeccable visuals (the Mimics are magnificent to behold), humor, and thrills. It starts off slow because there's a lot to explain about this world, these aliens, and our cowardly "hero," but once the Groundhog Day shenanigans commence, you won't be able to keep your eyes off the screen. And when the movie ends, you'll be slightly disappointed, because you could easily have watched it for an hour more. That is the power of a truly great film and that is why you need to watch it right away.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I read your review, Shlokes, otherwise, I would've dismissed it as well! Also, I love a good kick ass female lead :) Will definitely watch (eventually)!!