What do you get when you combine Groundhog Day with Aliens?
Simply put, you get Edge of Tomorrow, the new sci-fi adventure of the summer. In this film, the earth has been invaded by a strange race of aliens called the Mimics, and NATO has formed a military organization called the United Defense Forces to combat the threat. Tom Cruise plays William Cage, a Major in the UDF who is demoted to a footsoldier after blackmailing his General. After dying in combat with the alien forces, Cage soon discovers that he is doomed to live out this scenario over and over again from the moment that he is placed in the ranks with the grunts, living this day until he is killed off and then restarting from that point. Eventually, Cruise meets Sergeant Rita Vrataski, a battle-hardened soldier who is aware of his condition. The two embark on a quest to find the source of the Mimic threat, and the film that unfolds is one very fun ride.
When I heard about this movie, I was very scared that it was going to copy Groundhog Day in ways that would seem tired to us, such as showing every single failure that Cage goes through in his attempts to achieve the “perfect day” in this hellish world around him. I can gladly say that this movie didn’t fulfill these fears at all. Cage’s failed attempts are only shown in the beginning of the film; later, it is just given that he has had many failed attempts, and we see him effortlessly call out events that are about to happen. This plays into the plot, as well, as there are some things that Cage has experienced during his previous attempts that aren’t revealed until later in the film. I felt that these choices in both the script and editing made this movie very unique, and helped to avoid wasting the viewer’s time.
Another thing that I loved about the movie was the design of the Mimics. It bothers me greatly when all that a filmmaker can come up with for alien creatures are two-armed, two-legged humans with green or blue skin. The Mimics threw those ideas completely to the wind; their grayish color and retractable limbs gave them almost a robotic feeling, and their spastic movements certainly made them seem like something from another planet. As their name suggests, the Mimics are also able to take the shape of many creatures on earth, such as lions and other fearsome animals, allowing the artists involved with the making of this movie to be even more inventive. The Mimics were some of the most creative alien creatures that I’ve seen in a film in a long time, and they made for great villains in throughout the movie.
Cruise and Blunt are absolutely fantastic in their roles, as we have come to expect from both actors. The script used actually contained quite a bit of humor (perhaps another nod to the Bill Murray classic), and there were even some surprising moments where I was sucked into the drama of this apocalyptic world. One of the only complaints that I had with this film is that like most other sci-fi films that involve time travel elements, it forces the viewer to accept many plot elements as given and leaves several questions unanswered. For example, even after we discover the source of Cage’s ability to reset after death, it’s still not very well explained exactly HOW it is possible. Also, throughout the entire film, I was wondering, what happens to everyone else after Cage dies? Do they go on? Do they reset along with Cage? Does the whole world revolve around him? Unfortunately, the end of the film left many of these questions unanswered, although this may have been deliberate on the part of the filmmakers.
On top of that, the movie just lacked a certain quality that I look for in great films. As I stated above, it borrowed elements from both Groundhog Day and Aliens, and unfortunately, it never quite lived up to the heights of either. Still, Edge of Tomorrow is an excellent summer popcorn-muncher, and I recommend that every sci-fi fan and their brother go out to see it. Then kill yourself, and see it again.