Dave Finally Watches: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

While visiting in Champaign I looked through pal Dave T’s DVD collection. He had a bunch of things I haven’t seen and want to, and it was hard for me to make a decision. I finally settled on Edge of Tomorrow, which was probably the safest option.

I’d skipped this movie in theaters because honestly, I didn’t hear much about it. All I knew was that it had Tom Cruise in it, and I’m not much of a Tom Cruise fan. But afterwards I heard it was actually pretty good, and Cruise’s usual take on a role, especially and action role, worked in the movie’s favor here, since he was supposed to be smarmy and also improbably skilled.

The central conceit is pretty good. Aliens have invaded, and they’re really doing a number on us. After a particularly amazing victory made possible by Emily Blunt’s character, we stage a giant attack on the aliens that turns out to be a trap, and a slaughter. During the battle Tom Cruise’s character dies taking out one of the aliens…and then wakes up again, thrown back to a day earlier in time, with all of his memories intact.

It turns out the aliens can control time, and Cruise has accidentally stumbled into sharing this ability. When he dies, the action goes back to the previous day, with him still keeping all the knowledge. Inch by inch, death by death, he gets closer to being able to defeat the enemy once and for all.

It’s more than a little hinky if you think about it too much, but the action and Cruise’s affability (honestly, Emily Blunt didn’t really blow me away here, but she did well enough) do the heavy lifting. It’s not a genius action movie, but it’s still better than the usual fare. And it’s funny, something that I never got any indication of before. The fact that the day restarts when Cruise dies makes for a number of really funny bits that don’t take away from the existing threat.

It reaches a pretty satisfying conclusion, and then it’s clear that someone at the studio felt the ending needed to be happier, so it then goes on for a couple more minutes with a coda that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever within the rules of the movie. It’s jarring and dumb and best mentally deleted when reflecting on the movie as a whole.

It’s almost as dumb as the movies’s title. Edge of Tomorrow is a stupid name, but the name that they’re using now, Live. Die. Repeat. isn’t much better. (Both are worse than the name of the book it’s based on, All You Need Is Kill, but that’s really dumb as well.) It’s a wonder they dropped the ball three times on naming this thing when Groundhog Troopers is right there, not being used. (As an aside, the world in which this takes place is one very similar to our own, except there never was a Groundhog Day movie, because it’s what first springs to mind to any viewer but no one here mentions it at all.)

Despite the dumb name and tacked-on post-ending, Edge of Tomorrow is a fun movie that isn’t a ponderous, joyless grind, nor an insultingly stupid time-waster. I’m glad I picked it.

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