Sci- fi Edge of Tomorrow uses the premise of Groundhog Day in a forgettable formula flick
2014 | 113 minutes | Dir. Dough Liman | Warner Bros.
I saw Edge of Tomorrow before its official release but decided not to write about it because I really didn’t care about it that much. Now it’s “hiccupped” at the box office and allegedly caused Warner Brothers to delay the release of Jupiter Ascending until February 2015, which pisses me off because I was really looking for an alternative summer blockbuster this year.
Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise as another yet another hero. This time he plays William Cage, a timid army major- turned- cadet who must relive the same day over and over until he saves the world. It’s like a science fiction Groundhog Day. Aliens have imperiled the world and crush soldiers on the battlefield despite the soldiers’ heavy- duty army suits. Tom’s key to using his gift lies in soldier Rita (Emily Blunt), who had the same gift until she lost it.
Edge of Tomorrow has a too- big- to- fail mentality and skimped on essential details. The aliens invade Earth for no good reason and have no motive for continuing war. The “evil force” in the film has no face and no personality; the aliens are just big slimy scary things. The film also featured nothing original. The whole Groundhog Day thing proved entertaining, but we saw the same thing in Groundhog Day. In all other aspects, the film merely mashed up aspects of Transformers and The Bourne series (also produced by Tomorrow director Doug Liman). Warner Bros. produced a formula action movie with tight special effects, decent acting and a huge star, so it’s no wonder Edge of Tomorrow’s failure surprised them.
Why did Edge of Tomorrow choke at the box office? Maybe because it opened just a week before X-Men: Days of Future Passed. Maybe because Edge of Tomorrow is not part of a franchise, doesn’t star a superhero and can’t decide if it appeals to adults or teenage males. The plot says adults but the special effects spectacles say gamers. Though the Edge of Tomorrow doesn’t exactly binge on SFX, they are a little much for older audiences. Conversely, the characters and their problems (and the actors) fall into a life stage kids can’t really relate to.
But Edge of Tomorrow’s biggest problem? It has no point. Tom Cruise battles aliens and saves the world. At the end, the aliens go home but no one has really learned anything. Edge of Tomorrow rings hollow.
Warner Bros. reports Jupiter Ascending needs seven months to “perfect special effects”. Surely, the effects in Jupiter Ascending will dazzle, but special effects represent the biggest chunk of a film’s budget. The higher the budget, the greater the pressure at the box office. Special effects don’t make movies make money, and they certainly don’t make movies better. Edge of Tomorrow should prove that.