Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
June 6, 2014 9:37 AM - Subscribe

An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy.
posted by mathowie (58 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this last week at a special screening, but I went into it with low expectations (not a fan of Tom Cruise or goofy dystopian scifi) but came out of this loving it to death. It's basically a Groundhog Day set in a future warzone, but it's exciting, funny in parts, thoughtful, and endlessly entertaining.

Tom Cruise doesn't seem like Tom Cruise from the last ten years of films he's done. He seems like an actor giving his all and not coloring the action with his ego. Emily Blunt is incredible and having only seen her in minor roles in the past, I'm kind of intrigued thinking how she got the part in an audition because I never would have pictured her as the badass super soldier that she is on screen (Jane Lynch would have been my first choice).

The movie is really fun to watch as you learn the "rules" of the character's predicament. Eventually it plays out like a video game walk-thru as he has to do things thousands of times in a row in a way that hit close to home whenever I'm playing a dumb video game. About the only thing I could say was slightly lame was the way the ending plays out. They're fighting to defeat the beast and badly injured, but somehow the humans beat the odds and outrun/outswim robotic kill bot aliens that can move with incredible speed -- the last few minutes of the movie felt like cheesy movie making that skewed into the unbelievable as they went for dramatic scenes where they just. barely. made. it. in. time. when they should have simply died in an instant.

Overall, I loved it, and I never expected to. Probably more enjoyable with big sound and a big screen to fully appreciate the chaos of war.
posted by mathowie at 9:49 AM on June 6, 2014 [10 favorites]

I was also impressed with this. Really strong pacing with just enough repeats of the same segment before it switched to a new perspective. Cruise avoids his shit eating grin persona which was welcome and I also thought Blunt was decent. Good supporting mix of actors. I also found the ending a bit of a switch but I suppose it needed to break the learning and repetition element. I'd recommend it, better than any of last year's blockbusters.
posted by biffa at 10:28 AM on June 6, 2014

I saw it at a screening on Wed and enjoyed it as well, but then it's right up my alley, and I liked the book it's from, which had the much more interesting title All You Need Is Kill. (What was that meeting like? "I love the story but I don't get the name, can we make it sound more like a long-running daytime soap opera?")

I found the return to "real time" after the transfusion really effective. In Groundhog Day, finally becoming a nice guy and charming Rita into bed released Phil from his loop – this is as if he suddenly stopped looping unexpectedly one day and had only that afternoon to seduce her, or lose her forever.

(Note that Emily Blunt's character's name is Rita too – has to be an intentional tribute, right?)
posted by nicwolff at 12:34 PM on June 6, 2014 [6 favorites]

I really liked this too! I went into it expecting garbage. I walked to the mall to eat a hamburger, because I didn't feel like cooking, and fuckit I will watch a movie too. I think I might have been pretty set up by this recent article about how the tom cruise oprah video makes sense in context. So I was feeling a bit better about tom cruise smarmyness.

The scene where they establish him as a chicken hawk was totally great, such a clear depiction of where the character is starting at, and the literal rejection of the quest. Weaving that into the establishment of the setting was good too. I was ON BOARD. The power suits sliding around were so so good, I wish there had been more of that on screen. Also, would have been cool if they were bubblegum crisis hardsuits, but you can't do that in your western adaptation I guess. But you can have military issued machined greatswords.

Like nicwolff says, that real time return is good. I like how it resets the stakes of the movie, but at the hand of the humans rather than the big bad.

I had a bit of difficulty buying the relationship arc, from the perspective of rita, wouldn't that coffee connection take place the afternoon that they met? I mean, I guess they had been driving all day, but still. I suppose that groundhog day is equally silly with its relationship, but that has more time to build it out because no space aliens. Also, the mechanics of the time looping, particularly the epilogue timeloop. This may just be because I don't like happy ending you lived because love conquers all epilogues though.
posted by jonbro at 1:35 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, I forgot to add: "The longer we talk the more rational I will sound" will totally become a line nerd dudes will use on women after this movie becomes popular.
posted by mathowie at 1:53 PM on June 6, 2014 [15 favorites]

Really enjoyed it, much more than expected, even given my weakness for exoskeleton hijinks! The real-time return cranked up the stakes nicely and had me quite tense which I like. I am very curious about the re-watch ability of it though. At the end I was "don't kiss him, don't kiss him, don't kiss him, oh, actually that's fine, go for it" and then I was faced with that old sci-fi dissapointment of cheating the female character of her chance of an heroic martyrdom (see Pacific Rim most recently) but that got a medium-good resolution I have decided. Only actual "oh come on!" was Cruises character not grabbing a chunk of rubble as a weight and instead trying to swim against his own bouyancy. There is also the unfortunate fact that no swarming tentaclebeasts will ever compare favorably to or escape comparison with the Matrix Sentinals. Will go see again and how it holds up on rewatch.
posted by Iteki at 2:39 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I very much enjoyed "All You Need Is Kill," the light novel (novelette?) on which it is based, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. It's worth reading; in it the action is set in Japan, with the protagonist being a Japanese soldier and the Emily Blunt character is a reknowned American Special Forces soldier who, along with her unit, is fighting in the Japanese front against the giant-frog-like aliens.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:44 PM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just got back from this. I expected a big summer explodey, flashy, loud, and thumpy action flick, and it is all of that. What I didn't expect is the slapstick gallows humor of the second act. Most of Cage's resets are laugh out loud funny. It's even better when Rita starts to reset him. It was a nice way to pace out the the repeated battles and the exposition.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:46 PM on June 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

We went to see it last night and liked it a lot. The tentacle beasts reminded me of Warlock from X-Men, but the matrix Sentinel comparison is more valid.
posted by arcticseal at 8:00 AM on June 7, 2014

This movie has by far the funniest-ever scene of someone being run over by a truck. (That scene in Taken might be a far second.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:05 AM on June 7, 2014 [10 favorites]

The resets are fun, "it's only a flesh wound"... Blam.
posted by arcticseal at 11:19 AM on June 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Does anyone else think that "Edge of Tomorrow" sounds like one of those daytime soaps that's been running since about 1961?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:21 AM on June 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

I loved this. I think the key was making the Cruise character an "everyman" at the beginning...understandably cowardly, like how any of us would feel in the same situation (the shot of him awkwardly waddling out of formation in his supersuit on his first day is priceless...as if he could get away!). Then he builds and builds toward becoming a great soldier by the end, with the help of this goofy power that they manage to wring a lot of great humor out of.

I'm so pleased that something that looked like at most it could be just barely worthwhile ended up being an ideal fun summer movie romp.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:44 AM on June 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

I thought this was so fun. I have an inexplicable soft spot for Tom Cruise, though, so I was bound to see this. I thought the film did a good job keeping just a small amount of levity ( I laughed out loud when he was hit by the truck and thought the number of times Rita killed him was amusing).

I am with mathowie regarding the ending, which I guess would have been much more satisfying to me if either Rita or Cage had to make a choice knowing that one of them would actually die this time...and then have one of them actually die instead of a final "all problems solved" type of ending where everyone lives.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:05 AM on June 8, 2014

Just saw it and was very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. Agreed with Matt that Cruise finally doesn't come across as Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise Playing a Role, but just as a pretty competent actor playing the role. Blunt also nailed it, the resets were hilarious, the reversal to realtime was well played. Given that the attack on the Louvre pyramid was a bit over the top but no more so than any other recent action movie. I didn't even object to the ending, which kind of made sense since Cruise didn't just kill another Alpha, he killed the fucking Omega and got drenched in ITS ecto-whatever.

Of course the ending does carry the interesting unstated implication that Cage can still reset if he dies...
posted by localroger at 2:48 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had a bit of difficulty buying the relationship arc, from the perspective of rita, wouldn't that coffee connection take place the afternoon that they met?

Don't forget that, unlike in Groundhog Day, Rita has had her own series of reset cycles. Some of the most important things she tells Cage are messages to her pre-reset self, like the real middle name, to let herself know that Cage is a guy who she has a history with and who she should take seriously.
posted by localroger at 4:13 PM on June 8, 2014 [10 favorites]

I thought the movie was pretty good until the ending, which just made absolutely no sense whatsoever. It felt like they just really wanted to tack a everybody lives happily ever after ending on to it that wasn't earned whatsoever.

I didn't even object to the ending, which kind of made sense since Cruise didn't just kill another Alpha, he killed the fucking Omega and got drenched in ITS ecto-whatever.

I can buy that killing the Omega would have reset him even further back, but what makes no sense is how the Omega is still dead in the reset.
posted by kmz at 10:30 PM on June 8, 2014 [6 favorites]

The reset further back made sense because Cage died and (more importantly) gained the reset power at an earlier time the final run through, since the attack was launched the night before the invasion.

Any explanation for why the Omega was dead is going to be a bit of a hand wavy timey wimey thing, but I didn't really mind the ending since the rest of the movie was so entertaining; it felt somewhat earned. Towards the end I was actually wondering if Rita would get the power back instead, which might have been an interesting twist.

(We'd miss the reset back to the opening scene of Cage waking up on the helicopter, but we'd have final Rita with a chance to reverse roles when meeting him on more equal terms if he retained all but the final run through memories. A different choice might have her meeting the pre-time loop and fairly useless Cage sans an eternity of character development, but that would be a bit of a bummer.)
posted by Pryde at 10:52 PM on June 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

WAAAAIIIIT a second...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but...WAS the Omega alien already dead when Cage woke up on the helicopter, a day earlier than he had been, or did Cage still have to make sure that that happened? He gets off the helicopter, meets that woman who says they've had good news (which we didn't hear before, we were shown that from a distance out of earshot at the beginning)...I can't remember if she specified what the good news was, or if we were meant to think that the good news was the Omega was dead. Could she have meant that they're prepping the assault on Normandy, which they were confident would be a successful sneak attack? Then Cage accepts his mission to join the assault without being stripped of rank, goes to meet Rita so that they can prep a trip to Paris to kill the Omega much easier this time?

There were news reports shown that screw up my theory, weren't there. I just don't remember for sure...I was going to see it again anyway because it was a blast, but now I need you guys to let me know I'm wrong about this so I don't get my hopes up too high as it nears the end on my second viewing.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:45 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

The ending is ambiguous. It could be that by killing the Omega, there were no more resets from the creature, and without the reset function the creatures are sort of lost as fighting machines, and that's why they describe them as seemingly lost their will to fight.

It might also be that Tom Cruise still needs to kill the Omega, and that's why he's back visiting Blunt. It's possible to imagine that he laughs because he's done this a million times, and may have to do it a million more times.

I like the ambiguity. I liked the movie a lot. I especially liked that Bill Paxton was back in full-on character-actor/weirdo mode, which he excels at, and I haven't seen for a while.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:46 AM on June 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

This was way, way, WAY better than I thought it would be. Had some of the feel of those awesome Cameron action movies. So good.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:46 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I liked the movie too. At first, I was a little peeved by the happy ending for everybody, but on reflection, I think a martyr's death wouldn't have fit the tone.
posted by liet at 9:09 PM on June 11, 2014

I loved this! I also have really enjoyed Tom Cruise as an actor since Collateral and this was no exception. I didn't mind the ending either, it was earned.

It's a very well-paced/well-edited and lean movie. There are no dull bits. And the humor never felt out of place, it was also earned by how tense and desperate the world in the film was. I will see it again.
posted by biscotti at 5:09 AM on June 14, 2014

>> Cruise avoids his shit eating grin persona

>> Cruise finally doesn't come across as Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise Playing a Role

I enjoyed the movie, and I have a soft spot for Cruise (and other train-wreck, male A-listers).

In contrast to the above comments, I think Tom Cruise worked in this *because* of his shit eating grin persona. He was so perfect for this role as a smarmy media relations guy, with that smile and those perfect bright-white teeth.
posted by zeek321 at 12:32 PM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ok so I actually walked out of this really disappointed.

I had the sort of first-order disappointments of things like:
1. Hive mind, really? Independence Day, XCOM, Ender's Game, etc. Haven't we seen enough hive minds?
2. Similarly, hyper-advanced aliens that attack primarily with melee weapons? Seriously? Explain to me why the general wouldn't be able to order air strikes on the Louvre until something got through? It's not like the aliens were able to keep ships from landing on Omaha beach (also, Normandy, really?).
3. Why doesn't the brain have the same reset power as its alphas? Why do blood transfusions break that power?*
4. How has he not become a quivering, traumatized lump of minimally functioning tissue?

But the greater disappointment for me came from watching the trailers, which were making me think that the alien invasion was a distraction from whatever the real story is. Like I wanted to know why these people had day-resetting powers? What was really going on?

And the answer was that actually it was just the aliens, who were killed with grenades. Bleh.

*It was pointed out to me later that blood magic is a pretty common/useful/satisfying trope, so ok, I'm fine with that.
posted by kavasa at 9:11 PM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

On the other hand, I loved how Rita was just a killing machine. And her sword was cool.
posted by kavasa at 9:15 PM on June 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just saw this and it's my kind of flick and much better than I'd expected.

kavasa, all your points are totally valid but it's a frigg'n time travel space alien flick, just going to have all sorts of logical plot holes, has to, time travel is a paradox and just doesn't work. I do think it handled a lot of the frequently gaping holes pretty clean and efficiently.

Also for this kind of story it was edited very clearly, the non SF folks followed the resets and logical quirks better than most of this genre.

I wish they'd slipped in just a bit more back story. Why was the general sending him to the front?
posted by sammyo at 7:48 PM on June 15, 2014

it's a frigg'n time travel space alien flick
Right, and that's why those were lesser problems for me. Like I said, I was hoping for a primary mystery that the super-dull aliens were a cover for or distraction from.
posted by kavasa at 8:33 PM on June 15, 2014

But the greater disappointment for me came from watching the trailers, which were making me think that the alien invasion was a distraction from whatever the real story is. Like I wanted to know why these people had day-resetting powers? What was really going on?

I got this same impression from the trailer, and was expecting a different movie. That being said, I thought the movie was so much fun. The pacing was perfect, which makes sense as Doug Liman (the dude who directed the first Bourne Movie) directed it.

I'm seeing it again tonight with a big group of friends. Super looking forward to it.
posted by toofuture at 5:20 PM on June 16, 2014

I am still not quite sure how the ending is to be explained, but I'd like to see the film again to see if there were details that I missed. My impression always was that Cage's resets were always a do-over and that any consequences that occurred in the previous attempts were erased and done away with. So, even if he kills the Omega on a Saturday and resets to Friday or Thursday, he has to kill it again; he will be wherever he was on the Friday or Thursday when he did the reset. There's no continuum where Cage could have been present in two places at once.

However, two things that made me wonder: one, there's Rita's sudden tendency to ask "is there something on my face?" and there's a scar on her forehead and I can't remember if the scar was there before, but it made me wonder if there is some kind of leakage of events from one timeline to another. Second, there's Farrel's (and God I loved seeing Hudson reincarnated as Appalachian Apone) speech about how through discipline and training we become masters of Fate, and I want to believe that beneath that "fuck you" grin of his, Mr. Master Sergeant actually knows Mr. Cage's game, and actually all of J Squad is a bunch of misfit time travelers, but they've somehow agreed that Cage has to carry the ball because he's the only one who can talk through the general about getting the transponder; and that once Cage leads J Squad to the Louvre, all of them go back in time and kill the goddamn Omega themselves and are back before anyone else is the wiser. The tip of the spear. The edge of the blade.
posted by bl1nk at 5:37 AM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

The movie wasn't too explicit on the timing, except in its scope.

Remember the ambiguity of the ending of Inception? Christopher Nolan has said the ending isn't ambiguous, but rather it's the end of the narrative the movie was telling. If, hypothetically the world goes on afterwards, then that's a different narrative, and that ambiguous object would have an outcome, one way or the other.

That's what came to mind-- Cage awoke in the Helicopter at the instant the narrative started. Not 20 minutes later in the waiting room, or hours earlier when he was brushing his teeth. The movie appeared to start at some moment selected due to the usual reasons of narrative efficiency, and of course the spectacle of landing a helo in Trafalgar Square. In fact, it started there because that's exactly the right distance from the destruction of Omega for its effects to be realized by Cage. And it had effects before that, because the bells were tolling when he landed-- I'm no Brit, but I'm pretty sure that London sounded like that on VE day, from what I read.

It gets a bit more slippery when I try to think about the mechanism of the timing, except A) Cage's awareness of a reset only occurs when he awakes, but maybe the reset goes deeper into the past, and B) the Omega is basically a being that exists spread across several days; its "now" spans a time that's on the order of, but not necessarily the same size as, Cage's first reset (when he was entangled with the Alpha). When Cage destroys (and is entangled with) the Omega, it destroys it across 2 days, the length of time which is unwritten by the act.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just got back from this and I had a great time. I'm kinda bummed the box office apparently hasn't been that great because it's a really fantastic, fun and smart movie. I wish every film people call a "fun summer popcorn action flick" was this good.

Particularly loved: Rita basically being the biggest badass throughout and Cage deferring to her, not spending too much time on the "romance", plus feeling the "romance" was earned from Cage spending countless hours with Rita plus watching her die over and over, sharp pacing, and all the comic relief was great.

The ending only really distracted me because it seemed very similar to Pacific Rim's. But once we're jumping around in time you can kind of do whatever I guess.
posted by frenetic at 8:12 PM on June 19, 2014

So, in a confrontation near the end, but before he loses his power (I think it was at the dam in Germany), Cage is confronted by an Alpha. He tries to kill himself for a reset, but before he can the Alpha knocks the gun out of his hand. It clearly knows what he is trying to do, and stops him from doing it — just like at the end, our heroes know that they can't kill an Alpha, as that just allows the Omega to reset.

Given the Omega's awareness of that as a potential tactic (and I'm assuming they didn't just learn it from Cage, they should have realized it on their own long before), shouldn't the Omega keep an Alpha or two at hand, specifically designated for sacrifice/reset in the case that things are going badly for it?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:28 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Finally got a chance to see it last night and like a lot of you was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was and how nicely written.

Anyone else think it was funny to see Bill Paxton as a drill sergeant in an alien(s) movie?
posted by octothorpe at 10:43 AM on June 21, 2014

Liked the movie well enough, fantastic editing. Hated the ending though. HATED it. Lately I've learned how important to me a solid ending is, and the jumps in the movie's internal logic in the ending are inexcusable for me.
posted by dogwalker at 3:11 AM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sunburnt: I really like the idea of the creature existing in a longer "now", that it exists over a couple of days is a beautiful concept and that's exactly how it now works in my mind.
posted by Iteki at 8:54 AM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Partner pointed out: How did Rita realize that she "lost the power"? She'd have to die for that... but then she'd stay dead.
posted by olya at 7:09 AM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was wondering about that initially too...but after Cage gets the transfusion, he says he can "feel" that he's lost the power, so I was willing to let that slide after that comment.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:12 AM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just saw this tonight, and so glad there is a post because the person I went with fell asleep in the movie, and I needed to hear someone else talk about that ending!

I loved this. I didn't even recognize Paxton...I was surprised when his name showed up in the credits.
posted by freejinn at 9:16 PM on June 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

The final reset point makes sense to me. Maybe this has been said by others—I can't find it anywhere—but:

The point that Cage returns to would appear to be the last reset point of the alien. The alien, it's suggested, is constantly resetting in order to gain an upper hand (every time a blue ant is killed). So it resets the first morning, while Cage is in the helicopter (for reasons unknown. It's a big war). We aren't aware of this until Cage ends up back there at the end. Cage's lost "save point" is when he wakes up on the bags. The alien's last "save point" is earlier that morning. In killing the alien Cage is drawn back to its last save point (by exposure to the blood), and the alien perishes.

Another way of thinking about it is that we're in a reset timeline that exists because the alien perpetuates it. The alien dying carries time back to its last save point but does not allow the alien to continue from there. Cage was carried back, he didn't cause it.

Are there any massive holes in this view?
posted by distorte at 5:22 AM on June 30, 2014 [8 favorites]

I just saw it and enjoyed the heck out of it. I don't tend to mind Tom Cruise (and like Collateral and the third MI with Renner and Pegg and Paula Patton) and he really did a solid job here,as did Emily Blunt. Bill Paxton plays another great military weirdo, coming off his stint in SHIELD, and I didn't recognize him. But most of all I admired how tightly and well edited the movie was, which given it's Bourne pedigree makes a lot of sense.
posted by PussKillian at 9:12 PM on July 6, 2014

This just made it to our little rural theater--I thought it was a very good action movie, and Cruise and Blunt were very good in it.

I initially didn't much like the ending, but having read distorte's comment above, I'm on board with that now, to a certain extent. And makes his meeting with Rita at the end very ambiguous. Without the context of a day spent battling the creepies, any relationship they might have after that has a super-weird context, even with her own past reset experiences to explain it.

(Then again, the inferior "Jack Carpenter" had another one of those...would you readily take up with a clone of your dead lover?)

The Cruise character was a better person later in the movie than I'd ever be. When Rita mentions having watched her Rita-doppelganger die "100 times" I was totally expecting Cruise's character to say "and I've watched you die 1,000 times". Nice to have it left unsaid.

Finally, the initial battle scene was very good at making me think "you are not going to win this war."
posted by maxwelton at 2:10 AM on July 14, 2014

I was displeased by the kiss. Sure Cruise has to get the girl but she didn't really know him (despite what he knew) so she shouldn't have felt that emotion for him. The ending with Cruise walking up to her would have had more impact then. But then again I do also think Cruise should have died. (Rita is too badass not to survive.)

Otherwise, yeah, I really liked this against my expectations. (I've been displeased with Cruise since he helped ruin Mission: Impossible.)
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 10:17 PM on July 23, 2014

On home video, this is now officially titled Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow. I first noticed the change when scrolling through pages of my cable channels, where I saw its pay-per-view channel listed under the Live Die Repeat title.

The IMDb page still has the original shorter title, with no mention of the rebranding to include the tagline above it.
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:59 AM on September 19, 2014

"Live Die Repeat" is such a better title. I wonder if that was thought of before the theatrical release but vetoed by the studio?
posted by octothorpe at 7:12 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

(so we just watched this on HBO, where it was still titled Edge of Tomorrow.)

I think Tom Cruise worked in this *because* of his shit eating grin persona

Me too: at the beginning he's all smarmy and squirmy and expecting to be able to talk his way out of trouble, and he played that really well..

I liked the way it was echoing WWII history: the enemy spreading across Europe, Britain one of the last to fall, the over-here US forces, the all-out assault on the beach. I could have done without the old codgers in the pub spelling it out, though.

(Also, the brutal beach assault obviously refers back to Saving Private Ryan.)

Some of the most important things she tells Cage are messages to her pre-reset self, like the real middle name, to let herself know that Cage is a guy who she has a history with and who she should take seriously.

Oh my God; I totally did not realize that about the middle name. I did notice the increasing sharing of identity information -- names, experiences. But I thought that would somehow play more against the fact that the aliens were called "mimics"; that we might at some point get a "one of them's not human" reveal.

I thought the aliens were well done, and better-done when they were in motion than stationary; a melee of whirling blades.

And video-gamey, YES! A lot of this looked and felt like live-action Half-Life 2; the mimics lying in wait, the first-person shooter point of view shots, the resets as reloading from save points.

This was way better than I expected, and a shame that it bombed at the box-office.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:22 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Finally caught up with this and I love the fact that Fanfare threads are open forever. I also didn't love the ending but having read this discussion, I'm a bit more okay with it now. At first it seems a bit too easy but after some thinking about it, it makes a certain level of sense.

I agree that smug Tom Cruise was perfect for this role because at the start you want the shit eating grin guy, who is all "I can sell this war" and then he is turned into a battle-hardened soldier. That's a great story. And Emily Blunt was so great. I recently watched Sicario and that's another film where I just didn't think she sounded like the right person for the job and it turns out I was completely wrong. Here, too. She's a real force to be reckoned with.
posted by crossoverman at 2:18 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

The ending of this movie is "good enough" because Punxsutawney Phil only exists to set-up the story in a simple way, and doesn't require detailed structure or exposition. The heart of this story is not Cage vs. Punxsutawney Phil/Invading Aliens, it's Cage + Vratasky (and as a bonus, Cage + the townsfolk of Punxsutawney/J Squad). Does the djinn grant wishes or curses? You can be immortal, but there's a catch. You will fall more and more in love with people that will never, ever love you back at the same emotional level. And you get to watch them die enough times that even the djinn begins to blush. Do you love these people more after each death? Do you love them because you're trapped in a nightmare hell loop and are desperate for anything to keep you from going mad? And why wouldn't he fall deeply in love with Vratasky? She's fucking amazing in every way. Her BO smells like birthday cake. Cage is the person we all wish we could be if placed in a similar situation. You can't give Cage a vacation in hell and then kill him in the end. Well executed comedy, continuity, and special effects should put this film in the top 10 of sci-fi films, and #1 in the time travel subgenre.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:15 AM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just re-watched this, and feel it has aged pretty well. I'm now speculating about how many trips to the farmhouse, how many days training, how many step-throughs of the Whitehall sequence you have to do to make it from where he was to where he ended up. It must have taken years for Cage to get to the end. Maybe decades--or even hundreds of years.

How could he fail to fall in love with Rita? You couldn't spend a lifetime in situations arguably more intimate than mere sex with someone who is smart, brave. selfless, has been though the same hell and is full of their own hurt, and not fall for them. I mean, at some point he would have to realize that the few hours/maybe couple of days he spends with her, over and over, are all that he will ever get...and from there, it's only a short journey to never trying to end it, potentially, because when it ends, their "relationship" ends.

I'm a little less bothered by the ending than I was, but I still cannot puzzle out what Bill and Rita's conversation/relationship/whatever would be like, or if one was even possible.

(I guess Rita was too busy driving, but if there was a single place where killing Cage to reset things should have happened immediately was the instant after he used the device to find where the omega was.)
posted by maxwelton at 6:57 PM on August 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

(Also, friendly fire must have killed at least as many people as the mimics ever did.)
posted by maxwelton at 7:07 PM on August 21, 2019

Having heard the recent The Incomparable episode about it, I watched this over the weekend. And I loved it!

One lingering question still bothers me: was Rita's sword made from the propellor of a dropship? If so, when did she get it? And if not, why is someone in an age of space aliens carrying a giant sword?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:57 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also, Bill Paxton was the most perfect possible face & voice for that speech about "the CRUcible" of war. I wish we had seen more of him...though I suppose it would have been more views of the same few snippets of dialogue.

(Now I want to make someone eat playing cards.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:03 AM on November 12, 2019

She uses a broadsword because she is hunting Alphas, with the goal being a proper soak in Alpha blood. Melee combat enables significantly better odds of that occurring. Also, melee weapons do not require ammunition.

It makes sense if it is a repurposed aircraft blade. An Apache blade, for example, is stainless steel with a titanium edge. It's designed to take out trees if necessary.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:47 PM on January 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

so we just watched this on HBO

Aaaand it is now back on HBO again and yeah, it holds up pretty well to a rewatch.

I'm now speculating about how many trips to the farmhouse, how many days training, how many step-throughs of the Whitehall sequence you have to do to make it from where he was to where he ended up. It must have taken years for Cage to get to the end.

Yeah; the movie's pretty smart about telescoping down the number of resets that we actually see versus the number of failed attempts that we imagine have occurred off-screen.

For example: Cage going to the farmhouse and on to the dam without Rita plays out like a snap decision on-screen, but: all their previous choreography for getting off the beach relies on both of them being present and all of that has to be redone and relearned for him to do it solo.

I agree that smug Tom Cruise was perfect for this role because at the start you want the shit eating grin guy, who is all "I can sell this war" and then he is turned into a battle-hardened soldier.

I feel like there's also a payoff to his initial shit-eating-grin ad-exec persona in that: it later becomes crucial to the success of the kill-the-Omega plan that Cage sells the plan (a) to the General, and (b) to J Squad.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:30 PM on February 15

The screenplay did not yet have a satisfactory ending, and, despite the producers and studio executives worried about starting filming without a set conclusion, Liman opted to finish the script during principal photography … Eventually, McQuarrie considered that focusing on the comedic aspects meant "it needed to end in a way that wasn't harsh", and thus opted to end the plot where it started, on the helicopter bringing Cage to London, fulfilling the notion that "comedies generally have to go back to the way things were".[21]
The ending makes no "in world" narrative sense, but production sense yes.
posted by mazola at 9:34 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

And if not, why is someone in an age of space aliens carrying a giant sword?
posted by wenestved

Manga is the reason
posted by eustatic at 7:37 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]

Yeah that ending…what is the problem of him going back to the point he wakes up on the ship again? It could be explained if the death of the omega caused on last reset, but one where the aliens have died. He could still go right to see Emily Blunt as soon as he woke up. What is the point of sending him back earlier in time? I don’t get why they had to do it that way.

I have a weird preference for movies when I’m falling asleep (this is a good one because it repeats so much you don’t have to follow it), so even though I have started this movie maybe 100 times, I only maybe once or twice have actually seen the end. So at least I don’t have to see/think about that ending most of the time I watch it.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:46 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]

What is the point of sending him back earlier in time?

I saw a reasonable comment on YT (?) which suggested that they killed the Omega before the alpha was initially killed (in the timeline of that day), roughly corresponding to when Cage was on the helicopter flying into London. There was also speculation that Cage might still be resetting the day due to his fresh infusion of mimic juice...but not sure I buy that. No one would know until he dies. It's a smooth path to a sequel, I guess.
posted by maxwelton at 3:11 AM on July 18

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