Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lachlan Labere versus Edge of Tomorrow

Thank you Matt Bellamy for convincing me to get out the other night and see Edge of Tomorrow at my local theatre. Because of a terrific partnership between said theatre and my employer, I got to enjoy this latest Tom Cruise sci-fi spectacle fro $2. And in 3D no less.

The price was a bonus. Because of Bellamy's review here on WCFTB, I was prepared to pay the full cost of admission. And now I can admit, I don't feel I would have felt ripped off if I had.

That last sentence may be a side-effect of having just seen the movie which, I think is fair to describe as a mash-up of the cinema classic Groundhog Day and Aliens.

The movie is actually based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka's graphic novel, All You Need is Kill. I haven't read the whole book, but from the pages I have read, it looks as though director Doug Liman did a respectful job of representing the source material. (Sakurazaka actually showed up at the film's London premiere, which means he isn't being Alan Moore-ish about the translation to the silver screen.)

The story, in short, is this: Aliens invade the earth, and mankind is at war. Due to a mutually fatal encounter with a shiny blue invade, protagonist and reluctant soldier, Major Bill Cage, played by Cruise, finds himself in a death-life-death-life loop. The only way out is by killing a shitload of drone aliens (referred to as Mimics) to get to, and finish off their queen (the Omega). When the queen drops, so do the drones. (Which is more Ender's Game than Aliens, but whatever. Wanna fight about it?)

At the beginning of the movie, Cruise's character has more in common with Carter Burke than Ellen Ripley. He's a bit of a whiney dick who has to die a few times before you start to care anything about him. That attachment also comes with the necessary partnership he forms with Sgt. Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt. She was killed by one of those special shiny blue aliens (an Alpha) earlier on, ad has been through what Cage is going through until she lost her "restart" ability. So, Cage lives and learns and dies and lives and learns and dies until he and Vrataski are finally able to kill the big baddies -- without the aid of mechanized fighting suit. (in your face Ripley!) OK, enough the movie comparisons/references.

Judged on its own merits, EOT is a high-action, high-suspense flick that does't necessarily keep you guessing, but certainly kept me entertained. My initial reluctance to see the movie is based on a personal aversion to Tom Cruise. Well, I can safely say Cruise does not get in the way of a good story. To be fair, he's pretty solid, as is Blunt. And of course it's always a pleasure to see Bill Paxton in action (you know, Pte. Hudson from that other movie I said I wouldn't mention).

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the lazy filmmaking that, at times, is painfully evident in EOT. Case in point, the introduction -- a much overused approach that I suspected would happen -- and gritted my teeth when it did. But I got over it. And tried to ignore other things. And, overall, I really enjoyed myself.

Speaking in general, I found EOT to be a movie experience where the 3D treatment was totally unnecessary. I would have preferred the clarity and brightness of a 2D viewing. Sound was great and the FX terrific, but not overbearing.

So again, I offer my thanks to Matt Bellamy, and am of the same mind that Edge of Tomorrow deserves a Good.

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