I wrote last year about how 2013 was going to be a break out year for science-fiction films at the theatre. After an up and down year, it appears I was a tad premature on my thoughts on that front. But only by a year, as with last weekend’s debutante, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, I can safely say that sci-fi is not a dead genre anymore.
Tom Cruise is at his best as an outmatched United States Major forced into battle for the first time in his life. Ending up with the ability to reset the battle by dying, Cruise’s Major William Cage goes on one of the strongest character arcs in recent memory as he explores the desperation, hopelessness and fear that comes with living and dying over and over again.
In what one would have hoped was a strong role, Emily Brunt is relegated too many times to an almost damsel in distress role as Sergeant Rita Vrataski, the only other person who has gone through the same situation as the main protagonist. At times strong, at times tossed aside, in the end, Vrataski is the one character that director Doug Liman and co-writers Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth could just not get right, and in the end, it hurts the film a touch.
Some will refer to ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ as a poor-man’s ‘Groundhog Day’, but that is doing neither film justice. While the time loop elements of both are a tad similar, the fact that the main antagonist of ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ resets not by going to sleep at the end of the day but by dying delivers enough of a difference to sell the concept.
At the end of the day, the film originally called ‘All You Need is Kill’ and based off of the Japanese novel of the same name, is a powerful, exciting return to enjoyable science fiction for not only Tom Cruise, but audiences as well. I fear not enough people will see this in theatres and that is a major loss for them.
As always, for all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.