Go and See Edge of Tomorrow, it Rocks!

The hero and her sidekick Tom Cruise

The hero and her sidekick Tom Cruise

Edge of Tomorrow is a kick ass science fiction action flick.  GO AND SEE IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!!!!!

It is action packed, actually makes sense (in science fiction terms,)has a quirky dark military sense of humor and an odd quirky dark romantic subtext (to me who loves warrior women [and my wife].)

OK Groundhog Day and that episode of Stargate did the reliving the 24hours bit before but not with the firepower (literally) of this movie.

I love the fighting machine, its direct line descent from what we are seeing in progress today and it certainly give the heroes a rational ability to carry REALLY BIG GUNS!

Emily Blunt is the hero here though the action revolves around the time looping Tom Cruise character.  Right now I think she’s better than Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from Aliens because she is not so much reacting heroically to the demands of the moment as displaying long-term self-control and holding onto hope long after knowing the chances of survival are in the hands of pure chance.

SPOILER ALERT:    DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND HAVE ANY INTEREST IN GOING.

The aliens have invaded, 4 years ago, worse, they’re winning.

Tom Cruise’s character, a slimy salesman in uniform, pisses off the Allied high commander and gets assigned to the invasion force getting ready to push the aliens back from the beaches of Normandy (D-Day with choppers.)  It all goes terribly wrong and TomC gets killed in the first few minutes, along with pretty much everyone else.  But he’s not the utter waste of humanity you first thought.  In a final act of bloody-mindedness he takes an alien commander with him, setting off a time loop around his last 24 hours (which the aliens had set up so they got the advantage of do overs.)

Rita (Emily Blunt’s character) was killed early on during an earlier great battle in similar circumstances. In a series of many hundreds of do overs she finally has enough of an effect to win the battle though she cannot in the end get to the alien’s core (the Omega) and destroy them.   It is never stated in so many words but it is obvious that she learns from, and works with another soldier in this repetitive nightmare, falling in love with him but never able to save him.  At some point after the battle, probably trying to find a final solution, she is wounded in combat and given a transfusion, which destroys the looping.

By that time she is the new Sampson, Hercules, Sergeant York, Audey Murphy…but damned now to live and die just once she has to try to find a way to counteract the aliens’ undetectable, undefeated advantage.  Her friends dead or discredited she has to grit her teeth and allow herself to be used to recruit cannon fodder, in the hopes that somehow, she can help stave off defeat and find a key to victory.

My read of Rita is that she is very near the breaking point by the time the too cute TomC character pops into her life.  Not given the advantage of looping with her guide, each time she has to accept, come up to speed and move out with him each and every time, and it looks hard for her.

The TomC character Major Cage, starts out as a near total waste of oxygen, but his act of rage that sets up the loop is an act of redemption. And somehow, with backsliding, he keeps the redemption train moving.  When Rita first meets him I’m fairly sure she’d really like to pull his head off to see what goo is inside.  But as time progresses he earns her trust (remember this is over a period of less than 24 hours for her) and finally a little bit more.

It’s fairly obvious that Cage falls for Rita, physically at first (Blunt is Valkyrie hot) and then in a far deeper way (after the first several hundred deaths or so) and is also convinced that she (and her mad scientist friend) is the key to not having to die for good eventually.

At the end of the movie they die…after their first (and only) kiss, but the loop acts one last time to toss Cage back to an even earlier beginning, the beginning of a new age as the aliens have been destroyed though nobody has any idea what happened.

Last Scene, Cage in his noncombat officer finest faces the still burnt out and very dangerous Rita but now he is a seasoned warrior under the glow.  He has seen her die many hundreds of time, almost every time knowing that her death was the death of any hope except for his death and a do over.  She is seeing him for the first time, again.

I’ve spent hours thinking about the pick up line after the fade out.  One does not know what will happen, “Hi Rita you don’t remember me but we blew up the alien Omega together.  Just dropped by to thank you for saving humanity with my help,  I wanted you to know that seeing you die several hundred times was a real bitch and dying that last time, I was glad I wasn’t going to survive without you.   Could I take you out for a cold beer and pizza later?”

OK so that’s corny but I bet there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others wondering the same thing.

 

Review: Man of Steel

20130623-130611.jpgMy son and I went to see Man of Steel yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. In my opinion ‘Hollywood’ for all the damning it/they take these days is/are in fact incredibly good at making movies that the ‘public’ like me enjoy, see: Star Trek into Darkness, Iron Man III, Oblivion, etc, etc….I will agree that they are not so good at making movies that spark movements, deep introspection, change hearts, etc but the working stiffs out here in the real world can only take so much of that (near zero in my case since I suffer internet news triggered navel starring disorder class one to begin with and go to the movies to get away from the world not to get hammered from one more angle by it .)
Other reviews:
http://booksforkidsblog.blogspot.com/search?q=Man+of+Steel
http://www.npr.org/2013/06/13/189284063/steel-trap-snyders-superman-between-worlds
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/06/man-of-steel-review-a-surprisingly-human-superhuman-story/
Henry Cavil …Clark Kent / Kal-El. Great choice
Amy Adams …Lois Lane. Fun to see
Michael Shannon …General Zod Great choice, great part, good man in evil cause
Diane Lane …Martha Kent Yes!
Russell Crowe …Jor-El Wow!
Harry Lennix …General Swanwick Good pick
Richard Schiff …Dr. Emil Hamilton Good pick
Christopher Meloni…Colonel Nathan Hardy Good pick
Kevin Costner …Jonathan Kent Oh Yeah!
Laurence Fishburne …Perry White Great supporting role

This is a very good movie despite what some say, though things that I think make it stand out perhaps ruin it for others. It has now been said many times, this is, at its core, a Science Fiction, not a genre Super Hero, movie and that core is very, very good. Man of Steel takes the Superman back story, fleshes it out and draws it out into a fully imagined prequel to the superhero of our childhood. This story of his birth and orphaning to Earth is striking and heart felt.

An artist without the commercial drivers of movie making and IP dollarization might have been able to stop there without much, if any, Super Hero baggage, leaving us with what might have been a timeless piece of work.

What I see as the problem is that the ‘execs’ felt they needed more than a good science fiction movie based on the Superman back story. They wanted a summer blockbuster super hero movie. So the creators gave them a summer blockbuster SciFi blow em up of the Independence Day sub genre and a Super Hero movie of the Spider-Man genre. They then proceeded to lace these pieces together with the science fiction piece, quite successfully mind you, into Man of Steel.

The three movies in one do actually make an entertaining whole with the core Science Fiction story providing gravitas. The other two parts do their thing though too often when two or three of the ‘bits’ have to overlay, things seem to get spoiled.

As said elsewhere some of the action sequences particularly around the Kent’s home town are too drawn out and there is something almost bug like about the super speed fighting that takes you out of the moment.

In the long battle scenes in ‘Smallville,’ Metropolis, even on Krypton, the humans and normal Kryptonians in the battle zone get squished/slaughtered in bushel lots with very little comment. Yet when Zod forces superman to kill him, Cal-El seems incredibly distraught, as distraught as when his adoptive father stops Clark from saving him thus revealing his super powers during late adolescence.

Related side note: My son said he was glad that the creators had not ruined the ‘reality’ of the action sequences by showing repeated miraculous saves. And though from one view it’s a bit cold from my writers perspective he is absolutely right.

There’s a lot one could say about this movie, my bottom line, if you have hesitated to go due to one review or another my suggestion is go, (see the cheap regular version like we did, it’s excellent and I’ve come to the conclusion that 3D, IMAX3D, etc are not really worth the extra price.) The theater we went to was quite well filled for mid afternoon second week with other new starts, and the folks behind us had seen the movie at least once and perhaps twice before and still seemed ready to see it again after the show.

Cheers