Spoil-Free Review: Edge of Tomorrow
What is there to say about Edge of Tomorrow that you haven’t already heard? Not much to be honest. The praise has been pretty loud across the board. Most likely, no doubt, because the hype for this movie—or lack thereof—was less that dreary. I was one of the biggest offender, liking neither Tom Cruise nor Doug Liman, and having witnessed the hodgepodge of misplaced sci-fi troupes that was the trailer I had all but written it off as a bust. It’s a good thing though that two of my friends went to see it and told me it was worth watching, or else I wouldn’t be typing these words.
Hardcore science fiction1 films in the past few years, during blockbuster season, have been the definition of hit-or-miss. On one hand some of the best summer movies in the past five or so years have belonged to the genre my geek side holds so dear; we’ve gotten filmic triumphs like Elysium, Prometheus, Star Trek 1 & 2, Pacific Rim, Pandorum, Attack the Block2, honestly the list goes on. The problem with that is the other hand holds a sack of shit, and it’s heavy; containing your favorite movies to hate like Avatar, After Earth, Robocop, Cloud Atlas, Battleship, Battle: Los Angeles, blegurgahphx. Shit, sorry, I just threw up all over my keyboard by accident; but you get the point. So it’s hard for me to get excited for a summer sci-fi because I’ve been burned so often, but let’s be very clear, Edge of Tomorrow definitely makes the former list.
Edge of Tomorrow is Tom Cruise’s best movie in his entire career. Now many of you are screaming with anger right now. Allow me to explain.
I present with you Exhibit A: Risky Business, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Minority Report, The Color of Money. Those are the four movies that out rank Edge of Tomorrow on Cruise’s Rotten Tomatoes profile. Firstly, Risky Business, a classic, the dichotomy between the life of the American teenager and the dark reality of the real world is deftly done; the problem here is that like many 80s drama-comedies, Risky Business falls flat when put to the test of time. The supporting cast gives rather lackluster performances, least impressive of which coming from Rebecca De Mornay. Coupled with the fact that the entire film is a big “who cares?” it just doesn’t have anything on the urgency or the palpable on-screen chemistry of Cruise and Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow.
Second, Ghost Protocol. I’m surprised this is up so high on the list. Yes it was a good movie, best of the MI series. But it was over the top and while Pegg and Renner are great in the movie. The writing, directing, and utterly ridiculous nature of the movie make it an odd addition to this list. Edge, is surprisingly grounded for a movie about time travel, alien invasion, and saving the world. And the writing and directing combine to make a surprisingly poignant and funny movie.
Thirdly, Minority Report, originally my go-to for best Cruise movie this is a sci-fi triumph. In fact, I was sure that no one would ever be able to coax a better performance out of the actor than the genius Spielberg. I have few complaints about Minority Report, a movie that recaptures the dark, bleak nature of the film noire and throws it into a futuristic setting. The problem here is that the visual beauty of Report was such an impressive feat in itself and is overshadowed by the brutal slash and go filmography of Edge of Tomorrow. The aliens, the battle scenes, the future-tech, it’s all gorgeous and subtlety executed as well. At least someone learned their lesson from Avatar, because while an orgy of colors and light sounds like fun–its not.
Four, The Color of Money, never seen it, probably won’t watch it just to write this review, and choose just to assume it’s worse than Edge of Tomorrow because I want to.
So you’ve been convinced. And no that wasn’t a question.
Should you go see this movie? Of course. Is it going to be one of the best movies of the year? I can’t see how it wouldn’t be. Do you need more convincing? I don’t know, I don’t know you.
But here you are anyway. The action sequences are amazing; just so we’re clear, if we ever run into aliens that fight like these, we’re fucking fucked. Emily Blunt is amazing, I managed to look past her being too beautiful for her own damn good and taking on-screen badassery to an excess to realize she was putting together one of the best performances in an action movie this year. The concept is really cool, think Groundhog Day meets Platoon, but in the future with mother fuckin’ aliens. It has its predictable moments, including a big plot point or two, but it will still keep you on the edge of your seat. One of the more annoying things future set films do is they make one big change to the world we live in and don’t really grasp how we as a people would actually react (I’m looking at you In Time with your countless logical holes; or you Elysium and its weirdly rare but also wholly too accessible magic tables; and I’m definitely looking at you, humans of all three Transformers movies). Edge of Tomorrow seemed to have a pretty good grasp on what a society about to collapse because of invading aliens would look like and that was a nice change of pace. And even if you don’t like movies: go just to see Emily Blunt bring sexy yoga back, and she does it like 20 times in the movie.
Admittedly I am the most biased person you will ever meet when it comes to British women. There’s a line in Scrubs were Turks says some shit that I won’t bother to Google to quote. But basically, he would still diggity-do Tyra Banks even after she vehicularly man-slaughtered all over his loved ones. That’s me, but with the Brits. I have a crippling case of anglophilia. But I mean—can you blame me:
(click to enlarge)
Acting (Main Cast): 9/10
Acting (Supporting Cast): 6/10
Action Sequences: 9/10
Special Effects: 8/10
Sci-Fi Concept: 9/10
Overall Rating: 8.18/10 (amazing)
Pop Culture Che Suggests: 4/5 (Go see that shit in the drive-in picture show, don’t bring a date they’ll distract you)
1: Just to be clear “hardcore science fiction” refers to movies like District 9, Pacific Rim, and less to films like Marvel’s movies, Inception, Her, or Hunger Games which while technically science fiction, not what we’re talking about.