Edge Of Tomorrow Leaves You On The Edge Of Your Seat

edge posterThe new Tom Cruise sci-fi action epic Edge Of Tomorrow turned out to be genuinely great surprise. Think Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers meets HALO and that is what you get with Edge Of Tomorrow.

Tom Cruise plays William Cage, a hapless, deskbound soldier who is part of a military campaign to rid Europe from aliens called Mimics that have established a foothold on the continent and are spreading out to the world. Being that he is inexperienced, Cage is killed nearly instantly in a failed invasion of Mimic-held territory. Yet, because he was doused in the aliens’ blood, Cage wakes up the previous morning and relives the day. As the movie progresses Cage goes through the landing on an infinite loop, but each time he dies and is resurrected, Cage gains more combat awareness. This not only makes him a better soldier, but able to decipher how to defeat the Mimics.

EDGE OF TOMORROW

Edge Of Tomorrow is based on the novel All You Need Is Kill (the film’s original title) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and is directed by Doug Liman. The director’s expert hand is clearly evident in the film as he keeps each repeated day from becoming tedious to watch. It’s actually kind of fun to see Cage dying from different ways and coming back. At the same time, the action scenes with the aliens are very intense and calls to mind the chaos of other war movies like Starship Troopers, Battle: Los Angeles and even Saving Private Ryan. The mech suits that Cruise and his co-star Emily Blunt wear are kind of goofy looking, but in reality are deadly and formidable weapons and it makes viewers wonder how Starship Troopers might’ve been like if the soldiers in that movie were adorned with mech suits like in Robert Heinlein’s novel. Well, now we have a good idea. An added bonus is that for the most part Tom Cruise does his own stunts and it pays off since it adds intensity and realism to his role. With this and other sci-fi films like Oblivion and Minority Report, Cruise’s presence in them and any future genre film has to be considered as a sign that the film is usually exceptional. As for Emily Blunt, she is definitely a supreme badass warrior woman in this movie and helps carry it.

????????????????????The trailers for Edge Of Tomorrow don’t do the film justice, and makes it seem like another typical, mindless summer action film. But it isn’t. It’s very clever and a real joy ride with fantastic special effects. Sadly, based on expectations and the timing of its release, Edge Of Tomorrow might get lost in the crowded summer movie schedule that already is favoring chick flicks and youth-oriented fare. Regardless of its scheduling and marketing hurdles, sci-fans are in for a mind-blowing treat and should go out of their way to see this extraordinary film.

Waldermann Rivera

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The Desolate Beauty Of Oblivion

oblvion poster 3Oblivion is the latest thought-provoking sci-fi epic directed by Joseph Kosinski. It stars Tom Cruise in the pivotal role of Jack Harper, a drone technician several decades from now.

Jack Harper explains in a monologue in Oblivion’s beginning that Earth was invaded years ago by an alien race known as Scavengers who destroyed Earth’s moon. This caused overwhelming environmental catastrophes such as tsunamis that wrecked the planet. But humanity was able to fight back and repel the invading force, but the damage was done. Most survivors have been evacuated to Saturn’s moon Titan that is being terraformed, while a massive space station called the Tet orbits Earth. The Tet’s workers are implementing a process of draining the Earth’s resources, including oceans using these gigantic hydro-rigs that are manned and protected by drones. These deadly machines also roam the landscape and kill remaining Scavengers, who look like a cross between the tusken raiders in Star Wars and the Predator aliens.

more ruinsEveryday, Jack Harper heads out in his bubbleship flying craft and checks on the drones. His job is to maintain and repair them. Aiding him is his lover and communications officer Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), who has an aversion to exploring Earth and can’t wait to join the rest of humanity on Titan. Jack is the opposite, he is drawn to the Earth despite its ruinous state. He is obsessed with exploring the ruins, which are quite amazing with the way the Earth has reclaimed most of the cityscapes. Vast, barren wastelands cover most of the planet while occasional rusting remnants of structures like the Empire State Building stick out conspicuously from the grounds and crevasses.

ruins

Part of the reason for his obsession are these recurring dreams he has about living on Earth before it got ruined. One constant dream involves him visiting the Empire State Building with a mysterious woman (Olga Kurylenko). The thing is these memories occur about sixty years in the planet’s past, which only confuses Jack.

It turns out that the Earth isn’t quite so barren after all, Jack happens to commute from time to time at a secret valley retreat filled with flowering life: towering trees, verdant fields, clear lakes and a small cabin he built that is full of ancient mementos like books and vinyl records. He clearly doesn’t want to leave the Earth, but he and Victoria are slated to leave the planet in a couple of weeks when their mission concludes.

One day, he spots a spaceship crashing to Earth. At the crash site, he finds humans inside these high-tech coffin-like containers. They’re alive but in hibernation. Before he could investigate further, several drones fly in and destroy all but one of the containers. harper and wifeThat one has the same woman from his dreams and she recognizes him. Before long, everything that Jack knew has been turned upside down as he learns that among other things that the woman he rescued, Julia, is actually his wife and the truth of what is going on with Earth isn’t what he believed it to be.

Oblivion is downright entertaining with many mysteries and questions that keep you guessing. Some of them can be figured out but are well done. Along the way, valid points about the nature of identity and the soul are brought up without being heavy handed or preachy. Director Joseph Kosinski once again presents a rich, well-realized sci-fi world that is a memorable followup to his previous film Tron: Legacy. He presents the Earth in a new way bubbleship dockedthat is barren and desolate yet somehow beautiful to behold at times. Equally as stunning are the production design and future tech, which looks ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing. This was best seen with Jack and Victoria’s living quarters, a delicate looking, ethereal habitat on top of a tower above the clouds. Thanks to the rich cinematography, their home looks like some kind of futuristic heaven complete with floor-to-ceiling window panes that offer panoramic views of the world below.

harper and morgan freemanMorgan Freeman turns in his usual spot-on performance as a sympathetic resistance leader of a downtrodden, hidden group of human survivors. The acting by Tom Cruise and the others is also quite good and balanced. Needless to say, the special effects were spectacular, at times the bubbleship visuals were very realistic and fooled the eye into thinking that such aircraft does exist. Joseph Kosinski demonstrates that he is a genre director to watch and celebrate. His directing style is confident and allowed for an evenly paced film that gives moments to pause and reflect rather than some mindless action romp. The world he created in Oblivion is simply a breathtaking marvel.

Lewis T. Grove