Sunday, 1 June 2014

Review: Edge Of Tomorrow

World of Blackout Film Review

Edge Of Tomorrow (3D) Poster

Edge Of Tomorrow (3D) (SPOILERS
Cert: 12A / 113 mins / Dir. Doug LIman
WoB Rating: 7/7

Putting its cards on the table, the trailer for Edge Of Tomorrow lets you know exactly what the film's going to be about. There are no great surprises in store, but this is a showcase for the craft and the spectacle, not the reveal. Like a mashup between Aliens and Groundhog Day, Doug Liman's latest movie relies on you buying into the central premise straight away; because if you don't, you'll be left behind. The film doesn't skimp on explaining The Rules™, but there's precious little in the way of downtime, and it expects you to keep up.

Tom Cruise is surprisingly affable as Major William Cage, a PR executive who, by bad luck and bad judgement, finds himself drafted to the front lines in a final push against an extra-terrestrial enemy who seems to know mankind's every move before they make it. Because of Plot Reasons™, he finds he's also doomed to retry every time he fails to win the battle (and he does fail. often). Having to start at smarmy, work through confused and end at determined seems to show that Cruise has got range, and while the film is obviously heading towards Tom Is The Hero™, by the final reel you feel he's earned it.

Emily Blunt is great as ever as Rita Vrataski, one of only two people who know what Cage is going through (although her character is essentially a beefed-up version of the one she played in Looper). Elsewhere, Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton have a great time with their relatively minor roles. Oh, and it also stars the paperboy from Spaced, which is fantastic, obviously. He goes into battle in the nude. Yeah, think about that.

Like 2006's Crank, Edge Of Tomorrow is essentially a portrait of a protagonist who doesn't realise he's a video-game character, and the mechanics of repeatedly attempting the same level (with the added bug of the character himself remembering each time, of course) result in a better game-to-movie adaptation than most branded tie-in efforts*1. It shifts the focus from the in-game narrative itself to the experience of the player, and will resonate with anyone who's ever played a first-person-shooter to completion. The scenes of beach-invasion may not be grounded in the reality of war, but they're a battle that will connect with the audience.

The film's strength lies in the sheer joy it takes in resetting, and the way it deftly skips through the buildup for each new/same day*2. Every bit as awesome as it is ridiculous, Edge Of Tomorrow has to be seen - and relived - to be believed.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Kinda, but there's more to it than what you see in there.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
I did.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
With flying colours.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema if you like big, but the concept will transfer to home-viewing just fine.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I probably will.

Will I watch it again?
I probably will.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Didn't catch one, but there's no doubt it could be buried.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
What? I'm too sparing with top-marks, and this film is enormous fun.

And my question for YOU is…
Was that caravan park the one in Gravesend which was also used in The Sweeney?

*1 This approach doesn't always work, of course, with the Gerard Butler vehicle Gamer being an example of a film which fails on every level.
*2 A luxury that gamers don't always have, depending on save-options.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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