Recently: “Edge of Tomorrow”

IMG_0370-0.JPGScience fiction action films are tricky to pull off as there are so many moving parts that need special attention. Paying too much attention to one means that another won’t be properly handled and the balance in the film will be off, as well as the quality of the overall story. It’s rare to get one that can fully flesh out all aspects and be successful, but when it happens, you know it.

The Warner Bros. Pictures film “Edge of Tomorrow”, may sound complicated and stupid, but achieves more than you’d expect.

This action film stars Tom Cruise (“Oblivion”, “Jack Reacher”), Emily Blunt (upcoming “Into the Woods”, “The Wind Rises”), Bill Paxton (“Nightcrawler”, “Agents of S.H.E.L.D.”), Brendan Gleeson (“Stonehearst Asylum”, “Calvary”), Noah Taylor (upcoming “Predestination”, “Game of Thrones”), Kick Gurry (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “Off Course (Short 2013)”), Dragomir Mrsic (“Crossing Lines”, “Easy Money II: Hard to Kill”), Charlotte Riley (“Peaky Blinders”, “World Without End”), Jonas Armstrong (“The Whale”, “Walking with the Enemy”), Franz Drameh (“Some Girls”, “Now Is Good”), Masayoshi Haneda (“47 Ronin”, “Emperor”), and Tony Way (“The Riot Club”, “Game of Thrones”).

The film is directed by Doug Liman (“Fair Game”, “Jumper”) and written by Christopher McQuarrie (“Jack the Giant Slayer”, “Jack Reacher”), Jez Butterworth (“Get On Up”, “Fair Game”), and John-Henry Butterworth (“Get On Up”, “Fair Game”). It is based on the novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

The film originally opened on June 6, 2014.

I was simply surprised by how good the film turned out. My only reservation was Cruise, simply because he’s an absolute bore. Sure his action films might be good, in a hit or miss kind of way, but that’s not just solely because of him; more a collaborative effort. I can’t recall the last film he did that wasn’t an action film or one that was trying to be serious, but only looked silly and stupid, like “Valkyrie”, which I haven’t seen for obvious reasons. Hey! I named a film! Woohoo!

Anyway, as for the film itself, the tricky time travel, repetitive scene moments were handled brilliantly. For a bit you saw the same stuff, with the same dialogue, and Cruise trying something new, but after a while, the scenes started to progress. You knew that Cruise still went through this stuff, but saw more and more of what any one of his days looked like. I was okay with this handling of pushing the story forward as it seemed to keep everything fresh.

The biggest surprise for me was the way the death scenes turned out. Each one, especially during the big montage, was quite hilarious. It’s death, so you wouldn’t expect that it could be funny at all. Fortunately it was as it certainly provided a break for all the exhilarating action and drama. This too was done in a manner that allowed the story to move forward without a ton of repetition, beyond what was already needed.

Cruise, as usual, was capable of handling the action. While it was still pretty impressive and intense at times, it seemed less exciting than some of his other action films. Here, there’s bulky suits that don’t appear all that helpful when making a fight sequence look cool. On the plus side, it was fun to see him being the helpless one for a change, even if was for a short while. It’s not something we get. So, watching him be this fragile, useless, and clueless person just made me enjoy him all the more. Wow. I never though I’d say that.

Blunt was an absolute surprise all around. When I heard she was going to be in this film I wasn’t sure what to think. She’s only really done drama or comedy-dramas, so an action film seemed out of place. Luckily, she committed to the role. When she wasn’t in the armor thing, she was dressed to train and be a military person in this world. I don’t think this was solely to show off and supply some sort of sex appeal, but more that she got into shape for the film and gave it her all. The fact that you don’t see much of her toned body shows commitment. I was sold on her character even more because of this and love that it continues to show the lengths actors will go to bring a character to life, especially for their fans and the audience.

And, just because it was the first thing that popped into my head, I was surprised that someone else could rival, if not beat, that scene with Catherine Zeta-Jones and the laser grid in “Entrapment”. That is pretty much an iconic scene. While I don’t feel like this scene was meant to be deliberately sex filled. Some could argue otherwise and that’s fine. I feel it’s more of a perk type situation.

I was greatly impressed too, by the special effects and alien design. Both equally brought the entire film to some new and exciting level and reminded me greatly of “Starship Troopers”. Granted, there were a lot of similar plot elements in both, so that may be why too. When the aliens got close you could see a lot of detail and marvel at how well it fit in with the rest of the footage shot. And when you think on creativity of the aliens, I’ve got to say it’s some of the best I’ve seen.

The one thing I definitely can’t understand is why time reset where it did (and at all), after the Omega was killed? There was no explanation really for it, considering how much time was spent explaining about the Alphas. To me, that didn’t fit into the way the Alphas’ blood is supposed to work. Maybe I missed something, but I don’t think so. Nor, do I think I’m overthinking it. Fortunately this little tidbit isn’t enough to ruin the film for me as a whole.

Since sci-fi and alien invasion films are everywhere, it’s hard to find one that is actually good. Sure the ones that go direct to DVD or appear on SyFy are fun, for the most part, but every now and then a really good theatrical alien film is needed. Here, that need was met. I just wonder how long it will be until another genuinely good one will come our way.

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