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Edge of Tomorrow the best movie of 2014

Imagine being able to live a single day over and over again, where you can anticipate everything that’s going to happen and then make infinite improvements until you’re able to do practically anything short of being a living god. In the movie Groundhog Day that something happens to the character of Phil Connors (Bill Murray) who lives Groundhog Day over and over again. Which turns out kind’a great for Phil since he’s able to perfect everything, to the point that he turns his life around and instead of being a cold, distant jerk turns himself into a nice, giving person who’s able to win the hand of Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell) in the end.

Tom Cruise in a power suit

Tom Cruise in a power suit

Now imagine Groundhog Day, except that rather than having the ultimate “do-over” to come out on top, that nothing you do can change the ultimate outcome of events, that every different choice you make to try and change the day instead all leads to the same inevitable conclusion; your death.

That’s the basic premise of the movie Edge of Tomorrow, since kind’a sort’a retitled Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow.

Here, alien “mimics” have invaded the planet and in a matter of years have taken control of most of Europe. What’s left of our forces are about to mount the greatest invasion in history to take back the content. But on invasion day we’re all but wiped out by a mimic surprise attack and when military PR specialist Bill Cage (Tom Cruise) is about to become one of the casualties, he accidentally sets off a chain of events that leads him to live this day over and over again.

He wakes up, is yelled at by his Sergeant (played by the wonderful Bill Paxton), is a part of this doomed invasion, sees it all go to hell and then at some point is killed.

And repeat.


These do-overs start off terribly for Cage who can’t quite figure out what’s going on. And no matter how or when he dies, and he always does die, he wakes up to repeat everything over and over again.

Eventually Cage teams up with badass soldier Rita (Emily Blunt) to try and change the variables, figure a way off the invasion beach and behind the lines to end the war for good. Which in an ordinary movie the story of Edge of Tomorrow would borrow from the Groundhog Day playbook and simply have Cage and Rita figure the perfect way to escape the beach, kill the master alien, win the war and fall in love.

Emily Blunt as Rita aka The Angel of Verdun

Emily Blunt as Rita aka The Angel of Verdun

Except in Edge of Tomorrow they’re NEVER able to figure a way off the beach. In every different iteration they try it always ends the same with either Rita or Cage dying and resetting everything back to the beginning. And where at first death with no consequences is fun for Cage it eventually becomes to much to bear seeing Rita killed over and over again day after day after day.

It’s an interesting shift in tone from comedy to serious drama not too many movies can pull off these days.

Another way Edge of Tomorrow succeeds when so many other recent summer movies have failed is the story of the film leaves just enough questions unanswered. Like where do the “mimics” come from? How does Cage’s time travel work exactly? What’s all been going on the last few years the mimics have been on the planet?

This isn’t sloppy storytelling — far from it. It’s actually great storytelling, giving the viewer just enough of the story to follow and leaving the rest up to his/her imagination.

Tom Cruise and Bill Paxton

Tom Cruise and Bill Paxton

Not too many “hard” sci-fi films are made these days. Sure, there’s an argument to be made that all comic book movies are sci fi and films like Riddick, Godzilla and Star Trek that have all been released in the last few years are sci fi. But I’d argue that while comic book movies have sci-fi elements, they aren’t really sci-fi. And while Riddick, Godzilla and Star Trek are sci-fi they’re not really “hard” sci fi that makes you question what the future’s really going to be like or what the characters will be left with after the movie ends.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt plan for victory

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt plan for victory

That’s why when I finally had the chance to catch up with the movie Edge of Tomorrow on home media I was so disappointment it did so poorly in theaters. Edge of Tomorrow is not only the best sci-fi movie I’ve seen in quite some time it’s also the first “hard” sci-fi movie I’ve seen in many years.

Plus Edge of Tomorrow features the first real glimpse we’ve ever got to see of a Starship Troopers-esque power-armor suit in a live action movie since, well, ever. The original 1997 Starship Troopers didn’t have the budget and 3D special effects were still too new to pull off power-armor and after no one else has really tried to show this since. But from the power-armor to the “drop” out of the transport I think that Edge of Tomorrow is the closest thing we’re going to get to the world of Starship Troopers until there’s another big-budget Starship Troopers movie.

Grade: A.