- by Jeff Beck
Edge of Tomorrow: A Breath of Fresh Air for Science Fiction (Blu-ray)
“Edge of Tomorrow” seems to be just the kind of film made for those who didn’t think “Groundhog Day” had enough action. Taking place in the not-too-distant future, Earth has come under attack from an alien race known as “Mimics,” causing massive casualties as they sweep across Europe. Major Cage (Tom Cruise) has become something of a face for the war, promoting the use of new technology to beat the creatures and persuading others to join in the fight. However, when a general (Brendan Gleeson) decides to send him to the front lines, Cage finds himself in unfamiliar territory, having never been that kind of soldier.
Over the course of a few hours, he gets very basic training with an advanced weapon suit, but when it comes time to use it in the field, he doesn’t last long against the alien foe. However, when he’s killed, he wakes up right back on base, on the day before the battle, as if nothing ever happened. Everything plays out exactly as it did before, including getting killed in the battle, but once more he finds himself back where he started. Pretty soon, he decides to use this bizarre gift to his advantage, seeking the help of a professional soldier, Rita (Emily Blunt), in order to put an end to the Mimics for good.
Indeed, the film is just as it sounds: a combination of “Groundhog Day” and the action genre, but what results is actually a rather entertaining film that puts the concept to exceptional use. Each time Cage respawns, he puts the previous session’s knowledge to good use, basically inching himself closer and closer to the best way to achieve his goal. However, before he can get anywhere near it, there is the necessary period of trial and error that has him trying all kinds of methods, beginning with simply surviving the battle on the beach through knowing exactly what’s going to happen and when. Further attempts have him trying to ensure that Rita survives the battle as well, but it eventually becomes necessary to miss the battle entirely to fulfill the ultimate objective of destroying what is called an “Omega,” a higher and more important form of the Mimics.
With such a setup, the film is constantly engaging, pulling you in with each attempt and ensuring that it’s not just a continuous mess of action like so many other films of the genre. The finale is pretty much a free-for-all shoot-em-up, but given that that’s what the film is building up to the entire time, it hardly comes as a surprise. Even so, it’s not a long and drawn-out conclusion, once again putting it above action films that do just that. “Edge of Tomorrow” ends up being a more intelligent action film, one that’s made for people who aren’t just looking for a few explosions, but a captivating story and intriguing characters as well. Simply put, it’s one of the better films of the genre that’s come along in a while.
“Edge of Tomorrow” arrives on Blu-ray in a 2.4:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of superb quality. Every frame of the film is presented with perfect sharpness and clarity, making the incredible CGI elements shine. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is exceptional as well, presenting all elements at excellent levels and allowing every little sound effect to be heard loud and clear. When it comes to films of the action genre, you couldn’t ask for better treatment than this.
Storming the Beach, Weapons of the Future, and Creatures Not of This World: A series of featurettes that take you through the creative process of designing the battleground, the weapon suits, and the Mimics, featuring interviews with the cast and crew. Definitely worth watching.
On the Edge with Doug Liman: A fascinating 40-minute journey through some of the production with director Doug Liman. Another featurette that’s definitely worth taking a look at.
Deleted Scenes: About eight minutes of deleted material. These scenes don’t really add anything to the film, but they’re still interesting to see nonetheless.
With its intriguing premise, engaging characters, and plenty of thrills to go around, “Edge of Tomorrow” makes for a breath of fresh air in a genre that has been crushed under monotony as of late. It’s a fun and entertaining ride that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go throughout its nearly two-hour runtime. Whether you’re just looking for a good amount of action or a story with a little more intelligence than normal for such a film, “Edge of Tomorrow” is the perfect fit.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
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