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Edge Of Tomorrow

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Mark Suszko
Edge Of Tomorrow
on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:16:53 pm

I really, really liked this one. A blend of Groundhog Day with Starship Troopers and Source Code, Tom Cruise plays a cowardly REMF who is thrust into battle against his will, fighting unstoppable aliens who've invaded Europe. Thru unique circumstances, he dies, over and over, each time getting a little closer to winning the war and saving Emily Blunt, the woman he's fallen in love with.

Terrific art direction, stunts, and effects. A relatively cohesive plot this time. The Groundhog Day reset is played for laughs as often as it is for dramatic effect, and the editing here is great, in that, while they make the audience go thru a lot of repeat steps, over and over, it never feels boring. They do a great job of telescoping those repeat actions.

Good performances by the secondary characters as well. This may not look as stylish as "Oblivion" did, but it's a better-told story.

Only one peeve, and not a spoiler. You know, for America audiences, it's one of Ebert's Laws that the Eiffel Tower has to be in one of the shots, to establish that its Paris. In this case, in the film, Paris has been laid waste for quite a while, when Cruise' character has to return to it. You expect the tower to be damaged, probably truncated. They have the tower laying on its side yet still complete, as if the base legs stopped at ground level, like a model had been tipped over on a table top. This one thing really bugged me and broke my willing suspension of disbelief.

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Scott Roberts
Re: Edge Of Tomorrow
on Jun 17, 2014 at 12:53:39 pm

I’m with Mark, it’s more good than bad. On a technical level, it’s right up there as one of the best looking special effects films of the year, until a couple weeks from now when we all watch Optimus Prime riding a fire-breathing robot T-rex into New York City. Anyway, here’s my additional thoughts on Edge of Tomorrow:

-The aliens are kinda cool.  They are rather frightening with all their flailing tentacles and CGI blur, yet a machine gun can mow them down, and one lady uses a giant sword for some reason, so it's not all bad.  I bet I could kill like fifty of them with one of those exoskeleton suits.  In fact, knowing that this fictional situation will *never* happen in reality, thus I'll never have to own up to it; I guarantee I could kill fifty of them.

-I enjoyed how Tom Cruises' character wasn't some badass dude or soldier right from the start.  He has to lose his incredible weakness and slowly learn to be a badass dude.  That's about as much character development I could ask for in a film when everyone has exoskeletons with guns for knuckles.

-As for seemingly every movie released in 3D, there's maybe, *maybe* one cool sequence that takes advantage of the technology and the rest of the movie feels like a 2D movie that cost $4 extra.  That scene where Tom Cruise first jumps out of the airplane and frantically falls to the ground was some pretty breathtaking 3D footage.  And then the rest of the movie was like I was wearing those dumb glasses for no reason.  But, at this point, kudos for having *one* memorable 3D sequence.

-Got some decent humor, way more than I was expecting.  It turned what easily could have been a completely forgettable, bland action movie into something of a fun romp.  Never have I laughed so much at a guy getting shot in the face two dozen times!

-I know they eventually kiss (which is a spoiler to anyone who has never seen a summer blockbuster movie before), but I'm kinda happy that they had a strong female lead who wasn't just used solely as a love interest for Tom Cruise's superior character.  In a lot of ways, the two protagonists were fairly even.  Good for you, screenwriter.

-Doesn't really get repetitive, despite it showing the same day over and over again.  They kept it loose in the beginning, but then eventually made the sequences tighter and tighter over the course of the movie.  The film and its gimmick would have started to wear you down if they didn't pick it up. 

-I kind of enjoyed Bill Paxton in this movie, you guys.  But imagine how it would have been with Bill Pullman!  #independenceday #lakeplacid #casper

-I was just looking at Tom Cruise's IMDb page, and noticed he's only been in 41 movies?  Wow, it feels like he's been in 100.  And he was only in 9 films in the 1990s?  I guess if you're an iconic A-list guy like Cruise, you don't need to be in *everything*.  For someone who I don't really care for on a personal level, I suppose I sort of enjoy his enthusiasm to be in big dumb movies like this and seemingly put forth a good effort every time.

-For all the criticisms that this film is basically just a video game, I have to agree that making all the aliens look exactly the same but a slightly different color depending on their varying difficulty to kill is classic lazy video game bullcrap.

-I wonder why it kept choosing the exact moment when he woke up after being knocked out as his reset point?  It couldn't be because it was the last time he fell asleep, because it reset him the day before the invasion, so he slept in the military base every time he reset before he went to battle.  Why would it reset him to that to that specific time if he kept progressing further and further in the next day?  Wouldn't it keep extending his restart moment if he, say, lasted 7 more hours the next day or wou-  OH WHATEVER WHO CARES.

-I found it kind of dumb that once the time traveling power travels to a new host, the entirety of its power falls into new hands.  Kind of a nonsensically bogus flaw in the aliens' design that you have to look over to enjoy the movie.  But then again, as dumb as that is, I suppose humans have equally stupid design flaws.  (carries a large glass of soda and a bag of chips in one hand, a plate of microwaved pizza and a bowl of salsa in the other, and a roll of paper towels under my armpit) (tries to open a closed door) (drops the salsa and almost drops the pizza) (humanity defined)

-For someone like myself who sees this sort of cycle of similar projects come in and out of theaters every year, who would be genuinely surprised if a *great* movie showed up between February and June, who probably sees more below-average-to-average films than above-average ones, who can site examples from last week, last month, and last year of films that I paid money to end up completely despising…  then, well, Edge of Tomorrow really wasn’t that bad.  At least in the scheme of things.  I’d rather enjoy most movies I see and watch the few complete duds sink to the bottom than the other way around. Long story short, if I wrote the movie, I would have included a running gag where Tom Cruise has an unavoidable poop he must take every morning when he resets, because I like to write about *real* problems.  And that's why I write for free and not for Warner Bros.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Edge Of Tomorrow
on Jun 17, 2014 at 6:11:20 pm

That's not a sword: it's the stubby remnant of a helicopter tail rotor, being USED as a sword. Which makes her all the more badass.

Remember the laserdisc-based games "Dragon's Lair" and "Space Ace?" WHen they first came out, I, as many of my age bracket, played the heck out of it, even though it was four quarter for a play, and you usually used up all your lives in three minutes.

The deal with these games was that all you needed to know was to learn (by expensive trial and error) what the exact pattern of joystick moves was for each scene: THAT's how you advanced to save the girl, lovingly drawn by Don Bluth.

It wasn't just the cost of the game that soon made me drop playing it. It was the fact that I needed no strategic or tactical thinking to win. Only to pay enough to memorize a button sequence and repeat it like a rat in a skinner box.

The movie reminded me of that game.

The other Alpha aliens don't lose their time-reset ability when Cruise gets the Power. That becomes a plot point later, where, if you paid attention, it was explained that no matter what, on the last mission, they could not allow a blue alpha to die, or everything would reset and they would never again get the chance to win. That was also a clever stakes-raising move.

Cruise doesn't need to make another movie, certainly not for money, for himself. Maybe he donates it to L. Ron's Tax Dodge. His last two films, I'm thinking the choices of Oblivion and Edge might in a way be seen as carrying a scientologist subtext, though not a very blatant, cut-and-dried one. Or is that just me, projecting. Anybody else see a dianetic dialectic in there?

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Scott Roberts
Re: Edge Of Tomorrow
on Jun 17, 2014 at 7:52:21 pm
Last Edited By Scott Roberts on Jun 17, 2014 at 7:55:05 pm

[Mark Suszko] "The other Alpha aliens don't lose their time-reset ability when Cruise gets the Power. That becomes a plot point later, where, if you paid attention, it was explained that no matter what, on the last mission, they could not allow a blue alpha to die, or everything would reset and they would never again get the chance to win."

***SPOILERY, if by chance you're reading this thread without seeing the movie***

Then why wouldn't the blue alphas just kill themselves or be sacrificed to reset themselves? Much like Emily Blunt did to Tom Cruise a bunch of times throughout the movie? I thought the whole purpose of the aliens luring Cruise to the factory/water dam/ whatever that was with the fake visions was so they could obtain his blood and regain their power? I kiiiiiiind of also remember Blunt saying in that scene with the scientist guy that by coming into contact with the alpha blood, he became like *the* new alpha, until he lost the ability out of his blood. Like he was still part of their overall network, so they could mess with him and give him visions, but he was technically the one in control for the time being. And then in the last mission, the aliens have the power back because Cruise lost the power, thus they can't let the alien alphas die.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Edge Of Tomorrow
on Jun 17, 2014 at 9:55:50 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jun 17, 2014 at 9:57:30 pm

More spoilery...

What professor exposition said in the scenes over the light table was that this alien invader is one mega-organsim, an ant-colony-like gestalt with it's Queen, soldiers and it's sensory apparatus.

There were something like 10 percent alphas spread thru the force of soldier units, acting as a kind of tripwire, in that if any mass of soldiers got wiped out, the accompanying alpha would get wiped out, triggering a re-set and a chance to evolve a different tactic in a different direction, until success is achieved. The alphas are not made to be able to self-destruct: they aren't intelligent enough to do that, only the Omega "overmind " is. Alphas are scouts; walking eyes and ears, and walking triggers for the re-set, but have no autonomy to decide to make a reset. That has to be that way or we don't have a movie.

There is a real world precedent for this, in how slime molds migrate and in how army ants navigate. Individual foraging ants are stupid and don't make high-level decisions, but they have a number of hard-wired responses to stimuli that add up to strategic action when the base actions combine in sufficient number.

Ants foraging or scouting leave a scent trail which wears out after a while, but is reinforced if another ant crosses and follows it. The more ants that find a food source and reinforce the trail, the wider and stronger it becomes, bringing more and more ant traffic in that direction. Urban planners trying to decide where to put sidewalks in a campus mimic this by planting grass everywhere at first, then noticing where people decide to create the most direct paths, and turning those paths into hard sidewalks.

Ant scouts that individually die off away from the nest, or find no food while out looking, leave no more trails, and their original trail fades out. You want to get rid of ants on a kitchen counter, wipe down the entire counter to erase ALL the scent trails and nothing will be there to lead additional ants back to the breadbox or whatever.

The Omega senses that it's alpha network is compromised, but structurally can't directly do anything about it unless an alpha dies - a fault of it being very hard-wired in this system it has. So it feeds Emily Blunt's character false location data (the visions) to send her into an ambush, hoping to force a big win. The fact Emily gets wounded and loses the power when her blood level balance is disrupted, is nothing the Omega could know, nor could Emily. When Cruise's character loses the power, he can't force a re-set any more but he's also off the Omega's "perceptual "grid" now, invisible to the Omega, until re-aquired by a blue alpha's sensory apparatus. At that point, you can't kill the alpha because the re-set reality it creates will be one where neither Cruise nor Blunt have the power anymore.

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Stephen Smith
Re: Edge Of Tomorrow
on Jul 7, 2014 at 2:44:09 pm

I loved this film! It was Groundhogs day with an explanation as to why it repeats itself. The blend of action and humor was great. I never got tired of seeing the "same thing" over and over again. It was also cool to see Tom play a character that was captain cool from beginning to end.

Spoiler Alert

Tom Cruises character dies.

Seriously, I hope everyone sees this in the theater because it is worth the money. I enjoyed it so much I could watch it again.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page

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