Brief Reviews: Edge of Tomorrow

July 5th, 2014, 10pm

It was 19.4°C with overcast. The wind was light.

If you’ve considered seeing Edge of Tomorrow, prepare yourself for what might be the best sci-fi movie of the year. Certainly the best sci-fi movie of the summer. Okay, I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, so I can’t be sure, but it’s a really good sci-fi movie, okay? Go see it!

Here’s the thing: Tom Cruise is doing some really smart stuff in the roles he’s choosing lately. If you’re not watching the arc, think of it this way: an aging, white, male, action star can choose the Harrison Ford path (aka smoke his brain away and ride on the laurels of his huge earlier franchise successes), the Bruce Willis path (aka become the sage action hero who mentors younger characters and never displays any weakness), or the Tom Cruise path. The Tom Cruise path is more diverse, and more interesting for the audience to watch. It involves pure-action roles, and dramatic roles, and roles that combine the two. It makes it so that the actor is never playing the same character twice (Bruce Willis) and certainly not over and over again in the same franchise (Harrison Ford). Edge of Tomorrow is a prime example: Tom Cruise—who I’ll admit I’ve loved since an early age, despite his personal weirdness—picks a role that’s incredibly vulnerable, where he doesn’t start out as a supreme action star, and actually takes the audience along with him as his character develops. He, in short, actually acts, and does it so well that you, like most of his movies, forget the personal weirdness and respect the man’s commitment to his craft.

So yep, Tom Cruise. Great in this. Emily Blunt is sort of underplayed, but I have a feeling it’s more the way her role was written, and the way the plot moves, that gives us an imbalanced view of the dynamic between their characters.

This is also a great movie for the conception of the aliens. For the first time in a long time (maybe since Alien?), I actually feel like these aliens are bad-ass enough that we really would be as in trouble as the movie purports. The universe is believable, the characters are genuine and believable in that universe, and the whole thing is therefore enjoyable.

The only complain/warning I have is that movies should come with a ‘this movie is going to make you vom’ warning: Edge of Tomorrow is a 10/10 on that scale, because Director Doug Liman is the man behind the Bourne franchise, and he has a distinct hand-held style. Other than that, the movie’s damn fun.

P.S. For the movie geeks in the house, I’d like to point out that Christopher McQuarrie, one of the screenwriters, has worked with Tom Cruise on three recent projects: Valkyrie, Jack Reacher, and this. Three solid Tom Cruise movies… anyone think this is the kind of relationship we want to continue to see on screen? (I do!)

Christine said thanks.

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Valerie Stimac

Constraints create lots of great things, diamonds and creativity among them.

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