Edge of Tomorrow

Look at that sword. Just...look.
"Live, Die, Repeat."

Welcome back, it is that time again, when you sit down and let your eyes glaze over as I babble incessantly about whatever the latest movie on my mind is, until even I lose interest and then end the post! Today on the Tagline, I'm going to be talking about Edge of Tomorrow, a sci-fi action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, in which a united government faces the threat of complete destruction at the hands of an invading race of aliens known as Mimics. These creatures advanced relentlessly throughout Europe after a meteor conveyed them to the surface, and seemed unstoppable, until a single soldier, Rita Vrataski (Blunt), more or less single-handedly stopped their advance in Verdun, Germany. This soldier is heralded as a hero by the rest of the UDF, and emboldened by their victory the UDF plans a D-Day style invasion of France as part of a multifront offensive with the aim of eradicating the Mimics completely. William Cage (Cruise) is a political officer for the U.S. military, is summoned to London, and is surprised when the General overseeing the invasion orders him to be present at the beachhead as a propaganda plant. He understandably takes issue with this, and winds up being arrested, stripped of his rank, and then dumped on the front lines anyway. Predictably, he doesn't last very long, but as he is dying he is drenched in the blood of a weird looking Mimic, and then something really strange happens. Well first he dies because he'd been blown up, that's actually not so strange, but then he wakes up! He wakes up and sees that it is the previous day again, and realizes just like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, that he now gets sent back to the previous day every time he is killed. He discovers after contacting Rita (who had previously had this power) that this is how the Mimics win: they can reset the day over and over until they can create a favorable outcome.

Sometimes you just want to robot hang out.
So that's your basic premise, like if Groundhog Day were a futuristic rendition of D-Day. Cage and Rita realize that if they can't find a way to kill the Omega Mimic (which is the one that controls all the others) that the day off the offensive will be the last for the UDF as a coherent force. This means he must relive the day, dying over and over until he can become the warrior he needs to be to survive the day. It's sort of interesting because as an actor who usually plays really confident, well trained action badasses, here we see him as a sort of smarmy political attache who attempts actively to flee from battle, until fate and circumstance force him to rise to the occasion. In what is a relatively short time for us, and probably a really really long time for him, we see Cage become an actual hero, and also not such a douchebag. Rita of course doesn't need to undergo that transformation. She is already a certified badass tromping around in her armor frame (they have these sweet ass exoskeleton armors called jackets) killing mimics with a sword that looks like it was sharpened down out of the bumper of a school bus, judging by its proportions. I've seen a lot of pretty good movies so far this year, and some of them had more than decent female characters, but Rita Vrataski is one of my favorites, in terms of her sheer tenacity, her propensity for ass-kicking, and her no-bullshit I lead from the front attitude. I mean Cage gets pretty attached to her, but for the most part there is no love story, this lady gives a shit, and is there to finish what she started in Verdun and kill these fucking aliens for good. I find that singularly admirable. Also she fights with a fucking sword, let's be serious here.

Tell me you don't want to see this shit.
This movie was adapted from a light novel (later adapted into a manga) called All You Need is Kill, more or less about exactly the same stuff, with some character differences and location edits (obviously they're invading Tokyo right?) and it's nice to see that even if it was sort of stealth, that they managed to make a smart adaptation of a sci-fi manga. What a unicorn of a movie right? A manga adaptation of a film that has a strong leading female and an interesting, nuanced male lead who is not the typical hero-type (at least not at first for sure). The effects are fantastic, and that comes partly from excellent design choices and partly from practical prosthetics. The metal exoskeleton rigs were for instance real objects, really heavy ones at that (around 85 lbs for theirs, as much as 110 for some of the heavy variants) and they had to slog around in them, sometimes on wired. Tom Cruise did all his stunts as usual, and apparently Emily Blunt did too, which I consider also seriously badass (she trained pretty seriously for the role and you can tell, she looks like she is in awesome shape). The Mimics are a fantastic and truly alien enemy, and they also just generally look super cool. They manage to forgo a lot of the alien menace cliches and create aliens that really ARE both genuinely alien and also quite menacing.

Without those exoskeletons you just look like European
I was sad to see that despite really excellent reviews and fantastic looking trailers (or at least I thought so) Edge of Tomorrow grossed kind of weakly in the US box office on its opening weekend, especially because of its intimidating 179 million dollar budget. Fortunately it is doing strongly in foreign markets, so there is still hope for it to become a winner. It is admittedly released into a really crowded box office, with a lot of tough contenders, so that doesn't help it in comparison to say Oblivion, which was released with substantially less competition (funny story, Tom Cruise actually immediately began shooting Edge of Tomorrow after Oblivion. That's harsh). I highly recommend going out to see this movie, I don't think you'll be disappointed. If nothing else you'll get to see Tom Cruise die over and over, which might appeal to some of you. That's it for this week, join me again next week for college antics and more!

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