What is science-fiction? How would you define the science-fiction genre? Allow me to write me own definition. Science-fiction is the challenge of our mental and physical strength in order to create a better self for a better society by exploring situations we never thought possible. Okay, some might argue with me on the account of the word ‘fiction’. The word itself has a very straight-forward meaning; make-believe, fake, imagination, unreal, and whatever word belonging within those context. However, my argument is, by believing what is unreal in the future, we can create goals and targets for ourselves to achieve and aspire.
For a moment there, I sounded like a college professor or a philosopher, but I believe it does have some truth to it. These themes and values are explored in the film I am about to review.
|The two leads; Emily Blunt as Rita Vratask and Tom Cruise as William Cage|
The film is titled Edge of Tomorrow. This science-fiction drama is directed by one of the most underrated and often reclusive directors in Hollywood, Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper, Fair Game). The cast comprises of Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, and Noah Taylor. The film is written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), Jez Butterworth, and John Henry-Butterworth. The script is an adaptation from the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
Will another science-fiction film be ridiculous to watch? Or will it be good and requires a repeat viewing? Do read on…
|William Cage (Tom Cruise) waking up in unfamiliar surroundings|
Somewhere in the near future, our planet Earth has been invaded by aliens and slowly colonizing our world. Meanwhile in London, an American military officer named William Cage (Tom Cruise), is stationed to the British army. Cage’s duties involves public relations and has never experienced a day of combat in his life. Against his wishes and very reluctantly, Cage is thrust into combat action against the invading aliens. After being killed by one of them, Cage mysteriously finds himself repeating the day over and over again in a time-loop. As the process repeats, he discovers a war hero named Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) who might help him to be a better soldier. Together, they discover that they can defeat the alien invaders.
|William Cage (Tom Cruise) reluctantly thrust into battle|
Clever and entertaining. The story has been and will draw similarities to a comedy classic Groundhog Day (1993). Despite the script being adapted from a previously published material, it felt original and fresh as we don’t often get to see a time-loop as a story. It came as no surprise to me how predictable the film’s plot was as the marketing made it quite obvious. Despite the predictability, it slowly became unpredictable which makes it fun and engaging for the audience. The dialogue doesn’t bore you with futuristic science-fiction word jargon which was great for it makes it more understandable. It felt slick and intelligent and keeps you wanting more. There was great addition of comedy and it came the right moments of the film. However, ending climax felt a little incomplete and could have been improve even better. It is not so much a cliffhanger but even films with cliffhanger gives some sort of resolution of the entire film’s plot. This is the only drawback about the film. Characterization of roles were focused a lot on William Cage. I don’t find it surprise as Cruise headlines the movie. I would have loved to see a little more back-story on Emily Blunt.
|William Cage (Tom Cruise) about to battle some alien invaders|
I think this one of Tom Cruise’s best acting performance. The role he plays required multi-faceted emotions such as confusion, angry, frustration, determination, and many more. He did well in balancing the action hero persona and the comedic outcome stemming for his awkward repetitive state of being. Emily Blunt is billed (credited) as the lead actress but her character was more a supporting role. She also did well when she was on screen and was convincing as the rugged female military hero. It was nice to see underrated Bill Paxton in there to provide some comic relief. I think he was good but his character could have expended even further. Brendan Gleeson and Noah Taylor were reasonably good.
|William Cage (Tom Cruise) attempting to escape from death|
Director Doug Liman doesn’t have a particular filming style but his past films are known to contain that sleek and smooth ‘attitude’ in them. He does this by making his movie scenes short and compact while his actors deliver short lines and avoid long dialogue delivery. In addition, some slight upbeat musical score plays in the background to enhance the mood. He brought this trademark again in this film but kept more to a minimal. The focus was more on the visual effects and editing. The editing was quite good as the cuts were quick and exciting from scene to scene. The visual effects were not too bad but mostly quite brief. I would have liked to see more of the alien villains of the film. I particular liked the sound design and sound effects editing. Anyone who are enthusiasts in the world of sound might like this film. The production design, in particular costume and props, managed to capture the ‘look’ of a future not so far away from now.
|Doug Liman (holding camera) directing Tom Cruise on set|
The pacing was not too bad. It didn’t feel too long and built up quite well to the ending. There was brief slow pace in the middle but it was more to establish relationship between William and Rita. For a futuristic action-packed science fiction movie, it had a very decent pace.
Two unlikely heroes collaborate to fight alien invaders by using unfamiliar methods in a futuristic setting where all hopes of winning seems to be depleted.
|Bill Paxton as an army sergeant for new recruits|
I didn’t like the ending so much. It was just okay. It felt unresolved. It can or cannot be a cliffhanger but to me it had that feeling of “Is that all?” to the whole movie.
Great action sequence and stylistic filmmaking. Fresh choice of story among many other science fiction films. Good underlying “If at first you don’t succeed, then try and try again.” themes throughout the film.
|Brendan Gleeson as a British Army General|
This film might just be a surprise hit this summer for Hollywood and for Tom Cruise after several misses from his last few films. The story may be a little bit predictable but the technical aspects (especially editing) is very commendable. My thoughts on the ending won’t destroy the exciting experience you went through from the beginning. It is worth a watch in cinemas with all the big ‘bangs’ and ‘booms’ but you won’t feel like gripping the edge of your seat like there is no tomorrow.
8.0 out of 10