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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ — again and again and again
June 06, 2014, 05:00 AM By Jerry Lee Daily Journal

Movie. Aliens. Everything go boom.

- End -

New science fiction movie good. Aliens and explosions. Funny jokes and pretty actors.

- End -

“Edge of Tomorrow” is a new science fiction movie starring Tom Cruise. He is an incompetent fighter. He has to battle aliens. He dies.

But strange, he comes back and gets to starts over. He dies again. Then starts over. Again and again.

Movie tagline is “Live. Die. Repeat.” Good flick. Go see for good time.

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Remember that job your grandfather or your aunt told you about, working that 9 to 5 in the office or factory, where every Monday through Friday must have seem exactly the same?

That is “Edge of Tomorrow, a new science fiction movie starring the Old Reliable of Hollywood, Tom Cruise. Our protagonist is stuck in a time loop, where he keeps reliving the same day, a day in which he has to fight at the front line of a massive invasion.

These aliens are bigger, faster, stronger and more deadly than he is. But his advantage is that he gets a do-over every time he fails. And he fails (i.e. dies) a lot.

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As rare as the presence of water on Earth or in the human body, the plot of “Edge of Tomorrow” is about an alien invasion of our planet.

While at times, moviegoers themselves must feel trapped in a time loop of the same we-have-been-invaded film over and over (and over!) again, this one is clever enough to be worth a viewing.

An alien force called the Mimics is waging war on our planet. These difficult-to-describe creatures (they sort of look like hyperactive squids) have overtaken most of Europe, and we can’t stop them because they seem to anticipate our every move and counteract our strategies with ease.

After a half-decent victory at Verdun, France, the forces of Earth decide to make one final, it’s-game-seven-and-we’re-bringing-in-our-number-one-starter-in-relief type invasion onto the beaches of Normandy. It’s D-Day part deux, in WW trois.

“Tomorrow” is a high octane, war-studded version of “Groundhog’s Day.” Mix equal parts Ivan Reitman’s genius classic with “Saving Private Ryan,” plus a dash of “Starship Troopers.”

At any moment, you half expect Ned Ryerson to appear and yell, “Phil? Phil Connors?” And then he gets stabbed through the heart by a giant alien life form.

Far from battle, Cruise’s Army PR hack character, Lt. Col. Bill Cage, butts heads with the commander of Earth’s forces and is promptly demoted and sent to join the invasion. He wakes up in cuffs, breathing in the hot air of a platoon sergeant’s screams. He is forced onto the frontline, even though his combat training has consisted only of smiling at television cameras and a brief stint in the R.O.T.C.

His first foray into combat ends unsurprisingly in an ignoble, violent death (not a spoiler!). But a millisecond later, he finds himself in cuffs again, breathing in the hot screams of the same platoon sergeant. It’s an exact repeat of what has already occurred. He shortly commences battle again and ends up dead again, albeit in a slightly different way.

This happens again. It happens many times. Many, many times. There may be a perverse joy here for anti-Cruise fans to hate-watch this movie simply to watch him get shot, blown up, crushed, dismembered and eviscerated (and that’s just in the first half). This may actually help the studio recoup some of its reported $178 million budget.

Cage keeps failing at his task, but he is able to retain the critical memories of his experiences. So he learns from his errors, and avoids them the next time he re-enters the repeat scenario. With such predictive abilities, each of his subsequent attempts gets him a little farther on his quest to beat back the aliens.

Along the way, he meets not-sweetly with Emily Blunt’s character, Rita Vrataski, a veteran warrior who made a heroic name for herself at Verdun. They join together to stop the alien menace. They bond in the heat of the battle, although it’s a rather one-sided relationship. You see, for Rita, in every scenario, she has just met him for the first time. For Cage, he has met her hundreds, if not thousands of times in the loop and probably is crushing hard on her.

Cruise does his usual yeoman’s work as leading man. He consistently makes very decent movies well worth the price of admission. His cachet as an A-lister affords him his choice of scripts, but more importantly, he knows how to pick them well. In recent years, he seems to have found a solid niche in science fiction.

Blunt is a very special actor. But the script’s attempts to give a little depth to that beauty and perfect British diction, ultimately fails. This is not a movie about character depth. It’s about a clever, funny time loop. For a full Emily Blunt experience, watch “The Adjustment Bureau.”

The action and special effects are acceptable, with lots of computer graphics and noise depicting the chaos of battle. One of the main highlights of the production are the battle armor suits that the foot soldiers wear in the thick of it — call it mech couture.

Doug Liman (“Bourne Identity”) earns many laurels for taking a challenging film and making it seamless. He must have a serious attention to detail bordering on the OCD to make sure the movie works as smoothly as a time loop movie can work. He executes it confidently, humorously and repeatedly well.

And by repeatedly, I mean literally.

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Tags: movie, again, battle, aliens, every, times,

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