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Edge of Tomorrow

Entry updated 9 July 2018. Tagged: Film.

US film (2014). Warner Brothers/Village Roadshow Pictures/3 Arts Entertainment. Directed by Doug Liman. Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the novel All You Need is Kill (2004) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Cast includes Jonas Armstrong, Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise, Franz Drameh, Brendan Gleeson, Kick Gurry, Terence Maynard, Dragomir Mrsic, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Riley, Noah Taylor and Tony Way. 113 minutes. Colour.

In the very Near Future, virulent Aliens called Mimics have invaded and occupied the European mainland, inspiring American and British forces to launch a counterattack on the shores of France that is explicitly likened to D-Day. Among the landing paratroopers, who wear weaponized exoskeletons termed "jackets" (see Powered Armour), is cowardly and inexperienced Major William Cage (Cruise), being punished by General Brigham (Gleeson) for attempting to evade combat duty. After all the human soldiers are slaughtered, the dead Cage reawakens the day before and soon figures out that he is now in a Time Loop, forced to relive the day leading up to the battle again and again. As he learns from each combat experience to be a better soldier, he encounters another fighter, Rita (Blunt), who was previously trapped in her own time loop; she explains that by means of contact with a type of Mimic called an "Alpha", they both picked up its ability to generate time loops, a quality that has ensured the aliens' victories by allowing them to relive each battle until they are triumphant. To defeat the Mimics, the soldiers must locate their controlling "Omega", eventually found to be lurking within Paris's Louvre Museum. Their final assault on the Omega is complicated by the fact that, because of a blood transfusion, Cage has seemingly lost his power to create time loops, so his death will now be permanent. However, after he dies while destroying the Omega, he awakens at the time that he first arrived in London amidst reports of the complete alien defeat brought about by his actions.

Edge of Tomorrow is certainly an entertaining film, with a heartening message about stick-to-it-tivity in the face of adversity, yet one struggles to discern the logic behind its inadequately explained premise. Presumably the Mimics developed some organic substance which, when placed inside the body of an Alpha, would create a one-day time loop whenever its host died; upon realizing that its forces were being defeated, then, the Alpha would arrange for its own death so the aliens could re-fight the battle; and when they were ultimately victorious, the Alpha kept itself alive to avoid another repetition of the battle. And at the end of the film, Cage had actually retained his ability to generate time loops, except that the cataclysmic impact of the Omega's death somehow forced him further back in time than the standard one-day interval. But how can all this be explained in the context of the known laws of Physics? Do these time loops affect only the space in the vicinity of their creator, or the entire universe? Why is no one else aware that they have started to repeat their own experiences again and again? And wouldn't these advanced aliens have the power to detect, and take countermeasures against, these human hijackings of their secret Weapon? Since such questions arise only when one attempts to summarize and analyse the film after watching it, the director and screenwriters could deem their inattention to such matters to be entirely justified, as their story remains involving and enjoyable; but the film illustrates yet again that sf filmmakers are routinely granted the freedom to omit the Infodumps providing solid foundations for unusual plots which would be considered de rigueur in written sf. [GW]


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