Edge of Tomorrow (PG-13)

9 Stars

If you see one flick all summer then look no further.

It’s not only the best of the season, Edge of Tomorrow is the top release so far this year. It’s still playing in some theaters so catch it before it completely leaves the big screen.

Whether you’re a film buff or just the occasional theatergoer, you’ll love this science fiction thriller. It’s riveting, smart, inventive and fun.

With a massive budget, a strong supporting cast of knowns and unknowns, and top-notch special effects; the cinematic experience doesn’t get any better.

But it’s the story you’ll dig most. EoT is similar to last year’s Ender’s Game by offering an original take on extraterrestrial invasion. The ‘mimics’ are organic, menacing and wildly compelling.

To pile on top, the plot fiddles with time travel in the smartest way.

Let’s discuss discouraging numbers.

Edge of Tomorrow pulled $28 million for third place in the box office opening weekend, behind Maleficent in 2nd place, and The Fault in Our Stars which made $48M.

According to budgetary estimates on IMDB, TFIOS cost $12M to produce, and EoT cost $178M. So far EoT grossed almost $95M, but still tails behind its wretched usurper (TFIOS) at nearly $120M.

EoT is making up for it overseas, but the statistics speak for themselves: American moviegoers reward bad dromantic quirkedies over well-crafted science fiction.

This disappoints me.

Anyway, back to the film.

A common criticism regards the title. I’ve heard four separate voices speak out about it. But there’s a trend: Nobody ever suggests a better one, or explains why it’s poor.

It’s certainly better than the title of the novel the screenplay’s adapted from, “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

Perhaps ‘Precipice of Yesterday’ is better? ‘Threshold of Today’ is definitely a downgrade.

Now. If the argument regards the title’s inadequacy in capturing the attention of the American viewing audience, I’m listening. It’s got to be more than just, “Edge of Tomorrow is a bad title.”

Tom Cruise never gets enough credit. He stars (as two different characters named ‘Jack,’ ironically) in two great movies from last year, Oblivion and Jack Reacher. He’s acted in at least fifteen fantastic films (and no, this doesn’t include Jerry Maguire) most of which he’s the leading role.

Quick T.C. top five: Rain Man (1988), Magnolia (1999), Minority Report (2002), Risky Business (1983) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

He’s one of our finest, most accomplished actors working today. You can add yet another fantastic film to the list and consider him adequately credited.

Emily Blunt’s acting is perfect, but we don’t get enough combat out of her.

Although she’s often wielding an awesome futuristic sword, she doesn’t dispatch many mimics with it. Probably due to the unfortunate PG-13 rating.

There’s a shot of Blunt as she gets up out of a yoga pose. As enjoyable as it is, it happens three or four times and it’s one too many.

Another undesirable moment occurs when Nance (played by Charlotte Riley) uses the phrase, “Could I trouble you for a glass of shut the hell up?”

It’s a jarring cliché and her phrasing’s not realistic. She’d choose a stronger curse word.

As irksome as it is, one can argue it’s a nod to the Nursing Home Orderly played by Ben Stiller in Happy Gilmore. This interpretation’s a stretch, but it’s preferable.

All in all, these are small scratches on a fresh finish; unworthy of dwelling upon.

What’s worthy of dwell is the ending. (Beware, a spoiler follows.)

Something doesn’t add up. According to screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie the filmmakers only solidified the ending while shooting was underway. Some of the backlash responds to the ‘happiness’ of the movie’s conclusion.

I’m more concerned with the pre-established rules of the fictive universe, and how the time reset could work in such a way on the mimics’ final day. There’s no precedent to suggest the time interval would increase upon the aliens’ destruction.

Again, this is neither here nor there.

Whichever way you slice it, Edge of Tomorrow is terrific.

I can’t wait for Edge of the Day After Tomorrow, where the mimics rise again and develop flight capabilities. Let’s get Blunt in jet-propelled boots, and give her a second sword, just in case.

Thoughts, perchance?

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