As my final non-franchise film to watch this month, I decided to give in to temptation and check out Tom Cruise's latest contribution to Sci-Fi after a barely passable effort in Oblivion. The marketing for this film made it appear to be Groundhog Day meets Pacific Rim, and that is pretty much what you get.
Edge of Tomorrow is a conventional but surprisingly absorbing sci-fi film, with very strong performances by both Cruise and his screen partner Emily Blunt. The premise is that Earth is being invaded by a species of alien, and Cruise playing John Cage gains the alien's power to relive the same day over and over again by killing himself. Using this ability, and partnering up with war veteran Rita Vrataski (Blunt), they must figure out how to defeat the aliens in the decisive battle before the aliens do.
The film capitalized on the really fun premise in a very fun way. I was won over by the evolution of the main characters, and even though it lacks some of the exploration of humanity and philosophy owned by other films of this nature, it is a story with substance and immersion, which is quite a feat given the benchmark set by Groundhog Day.
After a mediocre performance of a mediocre script in Oblivion, Cruise surprises with his portrayal as a surprisingly unskilled cowardice who shows that anyone can become truly strong provided they die enough times. He fully embraces his role and isn't afraid to be exposed and vulnerable.
Emily Blunt's performance is perhaps even better than Cruise's, playing perfectly off of his character's evolution of fear, naivete, frustration, despair, courage, drive, and love. She may not be as veteran-ed as Cruise is in films, but you are convinced she didn't need many repeat takes to complete a satisfactory scene. The other side characters are a bit less defined, but their caricature of rag-tag army buddies blends nicely with Cruise's fish out of water scenario as they don't overstep their emotional boundaries.
It is a skilled execution that puts drama in fantasy, humor into war, realism in the CGI, and creativity into the action sequences. The aliens themselves are somewhat mute in this film and only serve as a plot device, but their design is memorable, which is increasingly rare these days despite more and more alien/monster films being made than ever. Having said that the ending does leave little to the imagination and more to be desired for a Sci-Fi film, but at least the journey was fun, which is arguably more important for a blockbuster.
It falls short of the sophistication of Minority Report, and will probably fail to secure a place in film history, but it is still a top contender for the best Sci-Fi film to come out this year so far, and given how many has already come out, that is no small feat.
I can easily watch Edge of Tomorrow on repeat at least a few times, and I'm sure you can too.
7.5 / 10.0