Edge of Tomorrow: A Very Short Review

by Brenda W. Clough

TomorrowOh, the pleasures of a summer action movie! There is nothing like checking your brain at the door and just letting it rip. Edge of Tomorrow touches all the necessary bases for success. Bloodless violence! Combat armor! Alien invasion! Enough of an intellectually challenging premise to keep the high foreheads distracted, while all the explosions and blazing guns distract the children! Time travel is a classic hardy perennial device for this, and Edge of Tomorrow stands in excellent company with Looper and Source Code . It is distinctly more enjoyable (at least for me — YMMV) than last year’s attempt at this, Pacific Rim — fewer insults to my intelligence.

But now, tomorrow morning, I can pick up my brain again from the coat check and analyze what this kind of movie has to have and what it has to omit, in 2014. We are now well settled into the trope of the powerful female co-star. The hero doesn’t rescue the blonde any more — she blows him away with her shoulder cannon instead. However, she is always the co-star. Look at the movie poster, up there in the corner of this post. Who is bigger and to the front? Not her. In this Gravity was excitingly unusual. In line with this, although you do get tank tops and snug garments, you no longer get the gratuitous T&A of the past. The sexuality of the heroine is now subtle instead of overt. And I assure you that Tom Cruise’s hunky star power is quite notable in this film and is of equivalent attractiveness — he can still do that charming roguish twinkle a treat, and we should enjoy it. We progress!

You remember movies like The Dirty Dozen or Ocean’s Eleven? Where the group of criminals, or the platoon, or whatever, always has its token black guy, its token geek, its token big dumb lug, its token red-headed Irishman? I note, with mild pleasure, that now you have to have your token chick, too! Cruise’s platoon looks like my daughter’s — the women are just part of the force. And this one is not the cute mascot or coffee fetcher, any more than they are in the US Army. Very good, Hollywood!

The other thing that seems to be essential these days is aliens. The days are gone, when we could fight Ulysses Grant or Nazis or Japs on the screen. The antagonist has to be faceless or not human — even purely mechanical and physical forces, as in Gravity. I am sorry to report that in Edge of Tomorrow these are your usual spidery scary extraterrestrials that do not stand up to common sense. (Why do spacefaring aliens need to fight a ground war in the north of France? Kaiser Wilhelm is running their strategy?) However, this is a perpetual fail and nobody seems to be able to crack this nut, so we must accept it as a blind spot in the film industry. All in all this is a thoroughly enjoyable film!

The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe.

How Like a God, by Brenda W. CloughMy newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.




Edge of Tomorrow: A Very Short Review — 7 Comments

  1. I struggled with the “why do they have to move on land? Why not fly?” issue. But the script does say that they were hurled to Earth, arriving on an asteroid (it’s hard to tell if there is more than one asteroid strike, but they all seem to have hit in Europe), and while they can apparently thrive on water, they do not seem to be able to fly. So I gave that one a pass.

    I liked the mechanics of the aliens–they move wonderfully. And I liked that Cruise’s character, like Bill Murray’s in Groundhog Day, has an almost infinite number of chances to grow, learn, and become a less callow human. Destructive Summer Fun for the win!

  2. Isn’t it? The simple pleasures are always the best, in hot weather. Angsty foreign films we do in the winter. For summer, let it be aliens exploding. Although I did wonder, if the aliens are so whip-fast, that any terrestrial opponent could ever stand against them. It would be like fighting the Flash. Oh, stop that, brain. Take the month off.

  3. Good review, Brenda. I loved the shattering of expectations with the Cruise character at the beginning (I hadn’t read anything about the film). loved the characterizations and, yes, the bloodless violence. Not sure I bought the ending but the film was great fun!

    • Here’s a good question, which someone elsewhere suggested. Would the ending have been better with an abrupt shift of POV? If suddenly it was Emily Blunt who was able to make one more loop back into the past?

  4. Yes, I enjoyed it much more than I expected. Emily Blunt was a strong character, in showing how the repeated horrors had made her so emotionally guarded. And Tom Cruise did a great job in his transformation from Callow to courageous. Some of his facial expressions were so hilarious in the early film, I was laughing out loud. And the sergeant (?) Paxton was wonderful. Check it out for some summer popcorn fun.

  5. Great review Brenda! I’ve seem Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky and The Minority Report, and I think he comes out well in these sci fi roles – a welcome change from the more slushy stuff from his earlier career.

    Anyway – you’ve put Edge of Tomorrow firmly on my To Watch list, many thanks! I just need to persuade my wife to watch it with me so she can hold my hand when those scary aliens come!