Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Movie Review - Edge of Tomorrow

If you've heard that "Edge of Tomorrow" is "Groundhog Day" with aliens, you pretty much heard right. In "Groundhog Day" Phil (Bill Murray) finds himself senselessly reliving the same day over and over. He gradually finds a purpose, to win the heart of his producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell). eventually he breaks out of the loop, wins the girl and saves his soul.

In "Edge of Tomorrow", Major Cage (Tom Cruise) cowardly army publicist, finds himself reliving the same day over and over. But, instead of finding himself in a pleasant little Pennsylvania town on Groundhog Day, he finds himself in the middle of the biggest battle of all time as humankind tries to stop the advance of implacable aliens. He never gets to fall asleep at the end of the day, he gets killed within minutes and resets back to the beginning of the day.

But like Phil, Cage gradually finds a purpose, meets up with Rita (Emily Blunt), who once had the same power that Cage now has, to reset time upon his death. Together they figure out how to defeat the aliens, if only Cage can stay alive long enough.

Just like in "Groundhog Day" there are a lot of repetitious scenes, but each is filmed a bit differently and as he lives longer and longer, the earlier parts of the day get skipped. All this is filmed very well, and the movie never drags. In each reset we, and Rita and Cage, learn something new.

Cruise is pretty good as the cowardly and completely at a loss Major Cage,  thrust into a horrifying battle with no preparation. He doesn't even know how to turn off the safety on his battle suit. But slowly, and believably, he turns into a confident and deadly soldier with a world-saving mission.

Emily Blunt is also good as the tough-as-nails Master Sargent Rita Vrataski. She'd been killed over 300 times in a previous battle before she lost the reset power. The movie is a bit murky on how she eventually survived that battle and how she knows she's lost the power. She meets Cage on the big battlefield, when Cage, with several lives worth of experience, rescues her and leads her to safety. She immediately recognizes what he is. You've seen the trailers "Come find me when you wake up!"

The opening box office was not good. It only made $28MM the first weekend. It cost $178MM to make so it's got a long way to go. But I think this is a movie with legs and that word of mouth will save it. So if the comparisons to "Groundhog Day" have made you think you don't need to see this movie, go see it anyway.

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