Starcraft meets Groundhog Day
(Or maybe that should be Mass Effect meets Groundhog Day. Or possibly both. Just so long as Groundhog Day is in there somewhere.)
Edge of Tomorrow is, hands down, THE best video game movie ever. And just to be clear that I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise, it’s also one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. Possibly even this decade. It’s excellent science fiction.
No, it’s not actually an adaptation of any video game franchise, but Tom Cruise’s William Cage is, in at least the metaphorical sense (and maybe more), living a video game, save-scumming his way to victory: Try something, get killed, play again and learn from your mistakes to get a little further. Make no mistake, this isn’t some simple, novice-level, 2-hour single-player campaign from next fall. Cage has found himself locked into a “Nintendo-hard” level repeated ass-kicking with only a single save point: The very beginning.
Except now that I think about it, this is actually from the pre-Savegame Era. Cage is working through the original Super Mario Brothers here. Except with high-powered explosive weaponry. And aliens.
And these are some pretty danged impressive-looking aliens, let me tell you. I hadn’t seen them at all before the movie (so far as I know, they’ve not been shown in the ads). The movie doesn’t make us wait long before throwing them at us, either. Try to imagine octopus ninjas on crack and you might have some approximation of what Europe is dealing with here.
I could go on here about just WHY Cage is reliving the day over and over, but I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself. (I had a theory based on seeing the trailers that turned out to be wrong. The actual reason is much better than I came up with.) I will say that director Doug Liman does a fantastic job of keeping this exciting and avoiding the trap of making it feel repetitive. What repetition there is, he handles with humor, and shows us just enough to get us on board with the concept before moving on and trusting us to keep up.
So, to sum up, I loved this movie, from the concept, to the writing, to the creature-design, to the execution. I’ll admit I’m not the best acting judge, but Emily Blunt does a solid job, and it was great to see Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton showing up for minor (yet recurring) parts. As for Tom Cruise, well, this is one of those movies where he pretty much just plays Tom Cruise, but being Tom Cruise doesn’t get in the way of things.
Okay, so there are two nitpicks I have: 1) I didn’t like one detail about the very end (but I can live with it), and 2) the aliens are called “Mimics,” yet don’t seem to ever mimic anything.
Well, except for the aforementioned hyperactive octopus ninjas.