TL;DR: Fun, fun! Go see it!
Now for my more complete thoughts 🙂 This is spoiler free as long as you’ve seen the trailers.
I’ve said before a movie can pretty much win me over with good CG, high action, multi-stage explosions with lens flares, and some decent one-liners from watchable leads. I read books for character and story. Yes, I’ll whine about plot holes, but for the most part, a movie can satisfy me with popcorn spectacle and the entertaining illusion that I can deliver a round-house kick when I walk out of the theater.
But when I get character and story AND spectacle… well, how happy am I?
EDGE OF TOMORROW was all that. Maybe it’s because I’m writing a science fiction romance novella right now, but I really appreciated how this movie’s creators seemed to understand and honor both its inherent limitations (really, there’s only so much storytelling you can do in less than two hours) and its potential scope (visually and viscerally).
There really wasn’t a good time for a potty break in this movie. The action was continuous and the exposition was quick and tight. This movie wasn’t a reboot of an older storyline, so we didn’t get a lot of origin backstory. And it wasn’t a setup for a franchise, so we didn’t get a lot of foreshadowing. Our heroes focused on what they needed to do without a lot of unnecessary mooning about their bigger world. The movie told THIS story.
For my fellow writers out there, I was particularly impressed with how the script handled the repeating timeline aspect, giving us just enough repeat to establish the flow and change of the story and characters without getting boring. Really nicely done.
SMART, BUT NOT CLEVER
My fellow writers know all about the “rule” to Show Don’t Tell, and EDGE OF TOMORROW did a wonderful job with showing. The character growth and emotional arcs were beautifully presented in snippets of action and quick glances. Movies have an advantage over books in the SDT realm, and these movie makers made the absolute most of their medium.
Admittedly, sometimes I almost wanted more. But I wanted more because I enjoyed it so much, not because I was unsatisfied. Like a rich dark chocolate flourless cake — you can ALWAYS eat more, even when you don’t really NEED more 🙂
MOST IMPORTANTLY, I CARED
When a movie starts with the premise that the main character dies repeatedly, you’d think it’d be easy to stop caring cuz you know he’ll come back. But between the hero’s difficult arc and the established stakes for the storyworld, I totally cared. I was invested in his journey and wanted to see him win. And the movie delivered. Plus, explosions!
Aside from some minor quibbles with time travel conundrums (which are as pointless as complaining about FTL drives) my biggest peeve — as with almost all monster movies — was that the aliens were essentially unbeatable… until they were chasing our heroes, and then suddenly the monsters are running at half speed and bumbling over obstacles. I realize this is so common in monster movies it’s practically a trope, but they could’ve worked around it with better staging. But whatever.
I’m almost always going to support SF movies on principle alone (yes, I will see the PROMETHEUS sequel and whatever they give me for STAR WARS no matter how many times they burn me) but when a movie really comes through for me, I am so, so happy.
Go see it!
(Last thoughts. I saw EDGE OF TOMORROW in 3D and thought it was worth the extra expense because I am easily amused by ducking explosions and monsters coming at me. YMMV and if you can’t/don’t see it in 3D, you will still enjoy the story. Also, I just found out my preferred theater — a Century 16 — is discounted on Tuesdays, by $4/ticket, and I had NO idea, so check and see is your fave theater is doing anything to lure people into seats. Also also, I said science fiction romance earlier, but I don’t want to imply this was a SFR movie. So if you are a guy somehow reading this, don’t get scared away.)
Great review with no spoilers! Thanks. I love good action movies with decent characters, and not too stretchy a suspension of belief, so this sounds fabuloso.
I also very much enjoy Emily Blunt’s acting. This is quite a leap from Devil Wears Prada, where she delivered THE best line in the movie : ‘I had the flu, I’ve been vomiting all weekend. But I lost 3 pounds–if I’d been sick for one more day I’m sure I could’ve lost 4!’
So, let us know when you meet an opponent worthy of your high kick.
XY hates seeing action movies with me 🙂 Mostly I jump around and make the Ms. Piggy sound. Hiyah!
I agree. The character arc was phenominal.
A couple people have said to me they don’t like Tom Cruise, so I told them that makes this movie even better for them! 🙂
I was on the fence about seeing this one; not really a fan of Mr. Cruise since he got Hubbardomized. But I like the same things about visual storytelling that you do, and since I haven’t watched a SF film since Prometheus came out on DVD I’ll have to get to this one . Thank you for posting about it, ma’am.
Go go! The things you don’t like about Cruise the actor totally work for Cage the character.
And oh, Prometheus… Yerg. The curse of the giant storyworld smooshed into a two-hour runtime. Did you hear the sequel is approved? And I’m probably going to go see it! I am such a sucker 🙂