Sunday, April 26, 2015

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Groundhog Day was an interesting movie.  In it, Bill Murray played a weatherman doomed to repeat the same day.  It was a comedy, so I doubt that much technical thought was put into it, but I always wondered if each day went on without him being aware of it.  A similar concept was used in Edge of Tomorrow.  Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage.  Earth has been overrun by an alien that seems to know what we’re going to do.  It’s impossible to defeat them until we start inexplicably winning.

Cage isn’t big on seeing actual battle, but he threatens the wrong guy and gets sent into battle where he’s killed.  He awakens to find himself in the staging area before he’s sent into battle.  With no way out, he has to repeat the following day or two.  He realizes that he can use this to his avoid getting killed.  This is huge because this is supposed to be the battle that ends the war, except humanity is getting slaughtered.

Any comparisons to Groundhog Day are totally understandable.  Each has a main character that is able to repeat a specific time period and use it to his advantage, despite being in a situation that they‘d rather avoid altogether.  The details differ a little, but the underlying motive each character has is to get it right.  One big difference is that Cage has Rita Vrataski, who was able to do the same thing until she had a blood transfusion.  (She has an amazing win streak that’s attributed to a new suit, but you kind of know that it’s not really the suit.)  She understands what Cage is going through and is able to help.

There’s very little repetition in Edge of Tomorrow.  Whatever repetition there is exists only to let us know what’s going on.  There are a few clich├ęs that manage to work their way in.  It seems that whenever someone is doomed to repeat time, they always start at a bad time.  If it’s not waking up to a song they hate, they’re having a door opened in their face.

The character in a time loop is also given limited options to get away.  If Cage were to wake up before insulting his CO, there would have been no movie.  Here, Cage wakes up on a base to someone calling him a maggot.  He has nowhere to run.  Yes, there’s one time loop where he goes to a bar, knowing that it doesn’t really matter, but Cage realizes that he’s needed.  (Note that there’s a similar scene in Groundhog day; Phil’s epiphany also takes place at a bar.)

There was one question I had, though.  If Cage is repeating the day, how is he able to go back before the accident and still be able to repeat the day?  His power comes from absorbing the blood of an alien.  Theoretically, the alien blood shouldn’t go back with him.  I suppose that if we can accept that he’d retain the memories, the alien blood going back with him shouldn’t be a stretch.

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