By John Leung (Hong Kong)
edge-of-tomorrow-4

 

Review with Spoilers

Edge of Tomorrow could potentially be the movie that had the worst false marketing campaign in movie history.

The themes of this movie were: men vs aliens invaders, fate vs free-will, mystery solving, and survival of humanity, in a sci-fi genre movie.

This movie started off with Cage (Tom Cruise), the protagonist, got sent off to the military base all of a sudden to be a front-liner. He accidentally killed an “alpha mimic”, the antagonists or the enemies (aliens), and had its blood all splattered on Cage. For some reason, Cage gained a superpower through the blood and he was able to reset time whenever he dies. When he got killed off, he wakes up right back in the military base, a day before the drop off to the site where they faced the mimics. Cage died many times in the story and eventually he got to Rita (Emily Blunt) to find out she had the same resetting time power before but lost it due to blood transfusion. Cage and Rita worked closely together and each time they failed, Cage dies and resets time and repeats the process until scenario is perfect, which means both of them had to be alive enough to find the “Omega aliens” and destroy it.

At the end, Cage lost his power due to blood transfusion. But he had enough knowledge and power to rally a small team to follow him and Rita to destroy the Omega. During the process, Cage gained the power back again right before he died. And the movie ended when Cage and Rita’s “first” meeting.

Overall, the plot was very solid and well executed. The acting was amazing as I would not expect anything less from Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. The soundtrack or the score was not the main focus of this movie but it had done its job. The graphics/CGI was amazing. It’s just a great overall movie. It was very enjoyable and it had depth.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the movie. I love the fact how the movie portrays each scenario was the same yet it was not boring at all. The pacing was perfect at this. Each time there was just a little difference from the previous one yet we saw what Cage did differently. Through different scenarios, it showed Cage was smart, witty, and had a sense of honor. He knew what his priority was and worked hard till death many times literally to achieve his goal. The change in Cage throughout the different scenarios was an excellent narrative of telling the audience how many times Cage had been through this already. The way Cage responded to the same situations in different scenarios shows that the change in character. From a regular person, not even a solider, to a highly trained warrior, with a smart, calm-headed mind. Though no one knew, he became a hero of humanity.

One of my favorite scenes was when Cage and Rita were in a house making coffee. It was a slower point in the movie but the emotions ran deep. In this scenario, Rita might have spent 20 hours with Cage. But, Cage by now might already had spent 5000 hours with Rita and had developed feelings for her. The movie was not clear on how deeply Cage felt this way about Rita since romance was not a focus in this movie. Since Emily Blunt is a beautiful actress and Cage had spent so many hours with her, it is safe to say that Cage cared about Rita a lot. Cage was trying to savor the moment with Rita by bringing her coffee and food. Rita was irritated by the time being wasted on it later on and figured this scenario was not the first time they had done this. Cage explained that he had tried every possible option and the result was the same, Rita died on the spot, at the backyard of the house where the helicopter was. Cage struggles to convince Rita to stay in the house due to Rita’s stubborn personality. The hopelessness in Cage’s eyes, you could just see it.

At one point where Cage believed it may be the last time he had to reset when he knew for sure where the Omega was located. He knew Rita was going to die in this scenario and if Cage succeeded, Rita will forever be dead in this reality. And he chose not to bring her along to his mission. During their “first” encounter in this scenario, the music changed, the entire tone was changed, and it was a tone of goodbye. You could clearly see the struggle on Cage’s facial expression that he grew to like her, yet she had no idea whom Cage was despite the fact that Cage knew everything about her. Cage knew if he had to do this on his own and to kill the Omega, Rita would never go through the journey with him. At least not to Rita’s knowledge. And their relationship would never be the same and every moment they had spent together would just remain in Cage’s head. That was perfectly executed. The struggle and the decision Cage had made to sacrifice the time and relationship with Rita for the greater good of humanity.

Towards the last act of the film, Cage lost his powers due to blood transfusion. That was an effective plot. It took the sense of security away. Knowing that if Cage dies, it will be for-good this time. It brought the suspense into the plot development because we knew this was the first and only time Cage was going through and to execute it. It puts everything into the unknown realm and survival became the main focus again. However, this act was the weakest of all in the entire film since the main selling point of this movie was Cage figuring out how to fight back and save humanity by solving each piece of the puzzle by trial and error and die and reset and repeat. Cage had to use his intelligence and memory from the previous trial and error to overcome more obstacles. That was the most interesting element since we do not get a lot of this type of movies. We wanted to see how Cage knew everything since he had been through it hundreds of times. But this act took that element away. It became survival. Fast reactions. Guns. Muscles. Actions. Though it had its benefits to the entire story, it was not the most compelling part.

There’s an underlying meaning to this whole “you made a mistake and you die and you wake up and repeat” idea. The message here was even though sometimes we can get more than one chance, how many times do we have to “die” in order to learn from our mistakes. Or how many times are we willing to sacrifice ourselves in order succeed. And sometimes we don’t get a second chance, just like at the part where Cage lost his power. So what do we do when we lost the sense of security? These are some of the messages I received from the movie. And it raised a lot of philosophical ideas and questions.

The coffee scene where Cage knew Rita was going to die on the spot no matter what decision he makes. That was a very interesting subject. What is free will? What is fate? Cage had all the free will and time in the world for him to figure out a method to save Rita’s life. But no matter how many times Cage tried, how hard he tried, how hard he struggled, the result would be the same. Fate played a role in this story. It raised the question, is there “true” free will? Or was it “predestined”? What is “true” free will? Or was it just an illusion? If it was all “predestined”, then who was orchestrating it? Our creator? God?

Finally the ending scene, where Cage had woken up for one last time and met Rita at the training station. Rita asked, “Can I help you?” It was the same thing every time. Only this time, Cage had the memory of defeating the Omega. Whether or not he actually did defeat the Omega was not clear. But at least he had all the knowledge and power to. Therefore, humanity’s future at this point was secured and there was finally time for a little bit of romance. The movie did not show us any affection between Cage and Rita. But the smile on Cage’s face right before the credits rolled, the smile told us so much. It was the power of subtext and from a world class actor, Tom Cruise. His smile was all powerful, he knew everything, he could do anything, and finally he had the time to slow down and do it.

All in all, it was a fantastic movie.

Score: 9/10

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