Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow 3D
– for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Jonas Armstrong, Charlotte Riley
Running Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: June 6, 2014
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 7, 2014 (Amazon.com)
The epic action of “Edge of Tomorrow” unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop—forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. (from Facebook)
Making a complicated sci-fi action film isn’t an easy task. While some sure are complicated and cerebral in nature, they may lack the sensibility or overall appeal needed to be a box office hit. Box office superstar Tom Cruise starred in last year’s ambitious Oblivion, which this reviewer loved, but it seemed to polarize the general audience. Cruise returns with Edge of Tomorrow, from Doug Liman, director of The Bourne identity (first Bourne film). Utilizing a premise that feels like a mix of Groundhog Day and Source Code, Liman brings to the table a fresh and wildly entertaining new spin.
For Edge, we’re transported to a future time when earth is at war with an alien race that has invaded. However, when the Army created mech body suits for the soldiers, the human race finally had a fighting chance. This time around, Cruise steps into a surprisingly different kind of role than he has been portraying as of late. The film opens with his character, Cage, being responsible for the PR of the war, never having seen the front lines firsthand, and when he tries to avoid getting a front row seat to the carnage, he’s thrown directly into it instead. Cruise plays Cage as a complete coward. That is, of course, until he begins reliving the same experience over and over and over again. Before long, Cruise is playing the character with the kind of bravado we’re used to seeing from him on screen. It’s fascinating to see him develop as the story unfolds, with Cruise playing both parts equally as convincing. It begins to feel like Groundhog Day and Source Code as the character learns from the repetition of the same experiences and makes the necessary changes. Cruise rises to the challenge and knocks it out of the park.
Alongside Cruise is England-born Emily Blunt (and wife of The Office‘s John Krasinski), who plays a legendary warrior who Cruise turns to to help him learn to be a soldier. The story reveals some interesting things about both characters and Cage bonds with Rita even though she only ever knows him a short time. The alien aspect of the story poses unique changes to the concept and offers up some unique visuals and action sequences. The rest of the cast is mostly background, with Bill Paxton clearly having a blast playing the leader of Cage’s outfit, Master Sergeant Farell. A host of other characters help color the background but aren’t really very developed or significant to the main plot.
The beginning of the film is rather quirky as it sets things up. It really isn’t until the point where Cage begins reliving the same day and Cruise teams up with Blunt that the film really starts to take flight. The aliens in the film are also pretty unique, not the same kinds we’ve seen time and time again, however, some will certainly find some of their characteristics similar to something else they may have seen before (like The Sentinels from The Matrix sequels, but not exactly). Liman builds up the pace and then keeps it sprinting to the finish without sacrificing the quality or character development. While some action/adventure films seem to leave character development in the dust, Liman strikes a solid balance between the two here. It’s not all just effects for effects’ sake either.
The content is definitely of the PG-13 variety. There is intense war action violence throughout, but it’s seldom gruesome. However, we see Cage die over and over, sometimes with Rita deliberately shooting him in the head to “reset” him. But we don’t usually see any impact of this, even though we do see him frequently get injured. We see a character get crushed by a crashing ship a few times (he just disappears beneath it, it’s not gory or gross), and we see others disappear in explosions. Cage gets tossed around a lot while in his mechanical suit, sometimes breaking his leg or back (in one scene only his head can move as he thinks aloud that he can only move his face), and we see Rita lying dead with her eyes stuck open or in the midst of dying at different times (sometimes with a little blood on her). One of Cage’s deaths have him getting run over by a truck, but we don’t see the impact and just hear Farell’s humorous reaction to what he sees. In fact, Liman plays most of Cage’s deaths as humorous, whether due to the shock of it or due to Cage’s inexperience in battle or inane attempts at heroism. It’s surprisingly funny along the lines of Groundhog Day, maybe even more so, because when Bill Murray’s character in that movie, Phil, turns to trying to commit suicide over and over to get out of repeating the same day, it’s done in a morbidly amusing way. While most of the action is shockingly bloodless or not gory, there’s one gross moment where Cage’s face is covered with alien blood that burns his skin as he screams (just before dying). It’s one of the more fake-looking CG effects in the film, but it may be unsettling to some. Later, he’s stabbed in the leg and then catches a bullet and we see blood all over his pant leg and hands. It’s not focused on too much though. Finally, another scene has him trying to “reset” by putting a gun to his head, but an alien knocks the gun away and he seems to still get wounded enough to have lots of blood drip down his arm and hand to a pool on the floor (it’s a dimly lit scene). Otherwise, language is colorful enough to include a barely incomplete screaming of “Holy F—” from Cage just as he dies again on the battlefield, and a handful of other swear words, including 1 “g*dd*mn,” a few uses of the “S” word and many uses of “h*ll.” Rita’s nickname on the battlefield is also “Full Metal B*tch” which we see written on a poster many, many times during the film and hear it said aloud a couple times. There is also a few other uses of blasphemy (including “For Chr*st’s sake” twice). Finally, there’s no sexual content, but there’s one brief reference to it and we also briefly see the bottom of a man’s bare butt cheeks in the mechanical suit he wears.
Edge of Tomorrow is an action-packed futuristic sci-fi war film with some fantastic moments, great lead characters, a unique premise, great effects, a fair amount of humor and a decent musical score. It’s an excellent popcorn film for the summer movie season. Due to the violence and intense nature of the story, it’s certainly not for everyone (the tentacled aliens will certainly disturb some viewers), and the language is something to take into consideration, but otherwise, Edge of Tomorrow is a great summer surprise.
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 6/6/14)
Blu-Ray Special Features Review
Edge of Tomorrow released a couple weeks earlier than its physical release to all digital outlets. The home entertainment release of the film has “renamed” the film to Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, which is an intriguing marketing strategy. As far as physical copies, you can grab the film in a 3D Blu-Ray/2D Blu-Ray/DVD 3-disc combo pack, a Blu-Ray/DVD 2-disc combo pack and on a single-disc DVD.
Edge of Tomorrow 3D – For my second viewing of the movie, I watched it in Blu-Ray 3D and I enjoyed the movie even more my second time through. The 3D is really good, but I didn’t feel as though it really added or detracted from the film. The moments where it really stood out, however, were when the aliens were being shown, or during a scene where characters are viewing 360 degree holograms of the creatures. Otherwise, Liman’s camera angles just looked really neat in 3D, but not especially ‘wowing’ or anything. Also, love him or hate him, Tom Cruise is a solid actor and he’s really excellent in this. His transformation from coward to hero is fantastic. This time around, too, a line that Paxton’s character utters early on in the movie bears a lot more significance and weight after having seen the movie before. He comments that with Cage going into battle for the first time, he’s “about to be baptized, born again” and it’s actually completely appropriate. Once Cage gets his first taste of battle and is doused with the Alpha Mimic’s blood, he’s “born again” and begins reliving the same day over and over. And it’s through this that he begins to transform from complete coward to unstoppable hero. It makes for a real interesting topic of discussion when you think of the spiritual application of this.
Operation Downfall: Adrenaline Cut (2:34) – This is an edit of the sequence where Cage is a hero and meets up with Rita on the beach attack. It cuts out the mistakes Cage makes and just cuts together the successful run in one edit.
Operation Downfall: Storming the Beach (8:59) is a making-of featurette that talks about the conceptualization of the war sequence and how it was all meant to deliberately reference WWII and the battle at Normandy. Here, they talk about scouting for a beach to shoot at and finding one, but then it being suggested that they just build a beach of their own on the studio backlot. So they did just that and surrounded it with a 30-foot green screen wall and tried to do as many practical effects as possible. (1 “b*tch”)
Weapons of the Future (8:25) is about the suits and weapons used in the film. They talk here about designing the suits, trying them out, how much they weighed, working in them, etc — and how they decided to go with real, physical suits instead of just CG effects. They also showed how the drop ship was a real, built set and how difficult it was to do long shoots in the tiny space while the actors had to just hang there in their suits.
Creatures Not of This World (5:38) is about designing the Mimic aliens, trying not to copy aliens from other movies, and aiming to be unique and practical in how they move and act.
On the Edge with Doug Liman (42:37) – This is the big, main behind-the-scenes featurette. It opens with Doug playing tennis, curiously enough, only to find out that Liman was trying to physically prepare himself for working with Tom Cruise after hearing about his intense work ethic. He said that Tom offered to shoot 7 days a week, which is unheard of, and Liman decided to take him up on that. The featurette reveals how the story started from scratch, stressing that there wasn’t a finished script through much of the production, and how everyone pitched in to help make the film as good as it could be. They also talked about creating characters during the casting process just because they liked someone’s audition, and the cast and crew reflected a lot on Doug’s craft and process for filmmaking. Overall, it’s a pretty good featurette that shows some great on-set footage with some great insights from the cast and crew (2 “S” words, 2 “a” words, a couple bleeped-out “F” words).
Deleted Scenes (7:38) – There is a batch of deleted scenes and alternate takes that include the following: Some more footage from on the drop ship; Cage on the beach with unfinished effects and previs animation to finish the unfilmed moments. Here, he awakens from being knocked out to find everyone else is dead (just before he himself gets killed and wakes up); The small piece of dialog featured in the trailer where Rita tells Cage “You’re a weapon” (which is very similar to Cruise saying about himself in his previous film, Oblivion, “I’m the weapon”); An alternate take of Rita and Cage talking in the training room (where he asks her if sex could transfer his powers to her); A short scene where Rita and Cage gas up their car and she sees a dead body in a car nearby; J Squad gearing up for duty; and Cage seeing a horse in the wartorn city of Paris in the finale.
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 10/5/14)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: We see the bottom of a man’s bare butt cheeks (played for laughs) sticking out of his suit (later Cage makes a comment to the battalion about how that character literally lets it all hangout on the battlefield); When Rita says she couldn’t transfer special alien DNA through any kind of blood transfusion, Cage awkwardly asks if she’s tried all bodily fluids or functions and she asks “You mean sex?” and he agrees and she insists she tried everything.
Vulgarity/Language: 1 “F” word (as a barely incomplete “Holy f—“), About 7 “S” words, 1 “g*dd*mn,” 5 “a” words, 1 “*ssh*le,” 3 “S.O.B,” 6 “b*tch,” 11 “h*ll,” 2 “For Chr*st’s sake,” 3 “p*ss,” 1 “d*ck”
Alcohol/Drugs: Cage drinks a beer in a bar.
Blood/Gore: Alien blood sprays on Cage’s face and he screams as it sizzles and burns. It’s a little gross; We see varying amounts of blood on Cage’s face during his lives; Cage is shot in the leg and we see a lot of blood on his leg and hands; Cage tries to shoot himself to “reset” and an alien knocks the gun away but he still wounds himself (or is wounded by the alien?) and we see blood dripping off his hands into a pool on the ground; We see Rita lying dead a couple times with her eyes stuck open and a little blood on her face sometimes; We see a blood transfusion bag; We see an Alpha jump on a person and kill them off screen, but for a split second, we see it making tearing motions upward with some blood spraying and a chunk of bloody mess in one of its hands (very, very quick)
Violence: We see news footage of chaos and fighting on the TV at the beginning of the film. We see many, many takes of a sequence where soldiers land on a beach but are ambushed by aliens that leads to a slaughter. Each time, we see lots of explosions and intense action, with many characters dying and aliens being gunned down; we see Cage die over and over, sometimes with Rita deliberately shooting him in the head to “reset” him. But we don’t usually see any impact of this, even though we do see him frequently get injured. We see a character get crushed by a crashing ship a few times (he just disappears beneath it, it’s not gory or gross), and we see others disappear in explosions. Cage gets tossed around a lot while in his mechanical suit, sometimes breaking his leg or back (in one scene only his head can move as he thinks aloud that he can only move his face), and we see Rita lying dead with her eyes stuck open or in the midst of dying at different times (sometimes with a little blood on her); Cage tries to roll under a car and gets run over (we don’t see the impact or aftermath); An alien attacks a helicopter as it takes off, throwing the vehicle around and tossing its pilot to the ground. We then see them alive for a short time before dying; Cage pushes a soldier out of the path of a falling aircraft and is crushed to death himself instead; We see a montage of scenes where Cage trains over and over in his mechanical suit and gets battered and beaten over and over; Cage jams a sharp device into his leg; Cage is hit by a bullet and we see blood all over his leg. He then wakes up on a gurney; Cage tries to shoot himself to “reset” and an alien knocks the gun away but he still wounds himself (or is wounded by the alien?) and we see blood dripping off his hands into a pool on the ground; Rita carries a large sword that she uses to slash through the aliens; We see Cage roll into a small space to escape an alien and drown; And lots of other action violence.