Regardless of his quirky beliefs, Tom Cruise knows how to pull off a blockbuster.
As an actor, Cruise has forged a career taking obscure never-to-see-the-light-of-day stories to the big screen. I loved Oblivion. Sure, there were a few plot holes, but it was a gutsy and somewhat art-house take on an alien invasion, and in a time of death-by-sequel both Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow are a breath of fresh air. Please, Mr Hollywood, no more Transformers or Godzilla remakes. Even such franchises as X-Men are past their used by date. They’re great as popcorn movies, but they’ll never be as memorable as Oblivion or the Edge of Tomorrow.
Edge of Tomorrow is a real fan-boy movie, with the mech suits deliberately reminiscent of Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop miniature set piece battle game developed in 1987. As if in honor of Warhammer, Emily Blunt even wields a battle sword against the alien horde.
Edge of Tomorrow is based on a Japanese book called All You Need Is Kill, published in 2004 by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Originally, Brad Pitt was approached for the lead, but he turned it down. Tom Cruise loves switching between genres, appearing in such diverse movies as Top Gun, Jerry Maguire and Valkyrie. Tom jumped at the chance of more scifi.
Edge of Tomorrow stays largely true to the essence of All You Need Is Kill, changing only locations and focusing on one portion of the book rather than trying to tackle the whole novel. There’s some key changes around the ability to go back in time and the means of defeating the mimics, but these strengthen rather than lessen the movie adaptation. Warner Bros are to be commended for taking a chance on Edge of Tomorrow, and its success bodes well for original movies in the future.
Edge of Tomorrow deliberately sets the alien invasion in a World War II style setting. Cruise trains in Forward Operating Base Heathrow on the eve of D-Day with his troops assaulting the shallow beaches of Normandy to establish a foothold in Fortress Europe. The visuals are spectacular, the story line intense, and the aliens are given a level of intelligence and sophistication beyond the normal raging bull stereotype.
Edge of Tomorrow works well in 3D. For large portions of the movie, 3D isn’t needed, and that has you forget you’re wearing 3D glasses until something comes flying out of the screen and you duck! It was nice to see 3D used with judicious precision like this.
There were a few insane battle scenes that felt a little too much like watching a video game, but these didn’t last long and were interspersed with touches of humanity as we see Cruise go from coward to hero to disillusioned wash-up and on to a hard won victory. Yes, it’s Groundhog Day for science fiction junkies, but Edge of Tomorrow is a must to see on the big screen.
Fives stars from me.