Monday, July 7, 2014

On The Edge of Tomorrow

I will readily admit it, I'm not a Tom Cruise fan. I'm neither a majority or a minority on the issue either. He seems to be a lukewarm star to me. No one is maddeningly in love with him (at least in my social circles) or desperately ready to cave in his skull with a Toyota Prius launched from a trebuchet. And his personal life is no end of amusement.

That said, after the disappointing rancid predictable tripe that was Oblivion, I was leery of Edge of Tomorrow at best. I love Sci-Fi, but after growing up on Hienlien, Asimov, Clarke, Verne, Wells, and Phillip K. Dick ... it's hard to be impressed by the stuff Hollywood usually turns out. It doesn't mean it can't be good or enjoyable but ... well, Back to the Future is one of the best time travel movies out there, beloved by mass audiences. Now go read the plot synopsis for Heinline's All You Zombies. I'll wait.

See? When you spent High School uncovering these gems, you'd have a bit of a higher bar when it comes to what gets you really excited. 

And let's face it,
Tom Cruise's chin cannot compete with Casper Van Dien's
So what did I think of Edge of Tomorrow? It was okay for a weird lovechild between Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers (doncha miss the days when my reviews were me frothing at the mouth about what a bunghole Dark Knight Rises was?).

But seriously, let's look at the pieces. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are both talented and skilled actors, capable of carrying their weight separately and their characters are given some pretty solid depth and growth. The action was fast paced, visually interesting and enjoyable (the exoskeletons are undeniably badass). The side characters were colorful and some were memorable. The script used repetition to good use without being overbearing. The third act fell apart and turned generic on such a dime it nearly folded space/time doing so. I won't say it fell apart, but the buildup could have payed off so much more. It's more of a shame than an insult, since the first 2/3rd of the film were actually pretty damned enjoyable.

I also have to take a moment to really compliment Emily Blunt's character. Not only is Sergeant Rita Rose Vrataski a strong women in a man's world but ... well that's pretty much it. The film doesn't add much more to that. She's there, she's badass, and no one really comments on the fact that she's a woman. Props.

There's no other possible reason I found her performance engaging. None at all. 
If I were to lobby one complaint it was the (barely) techno-babble behind the time travel. It's internally consistent with the rest of the film and it follows its own rules without breaking them or copping out too much .... they just weren't very interesting rules. But if I wanted to watch a time travel movie that I knew'd blow my brains out, I'd make time to finally watch Primer.

Wait that's a good idea. Lates!

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