EDGE OF TOMORROW
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Tom Cruise as CAGE
Emily Blunt as RITA
Brendan Gleeson as GENERAL BRIGHAM
Bill Paxton as MASTER SERGEANT FARELL
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Doug Liman
BY KEVIN CARR
Looking back on much of the box office for 2014, it seems the year was cursed a bit. Even the big hits of the summer (like the truly exhausting and unnecessary “Transformers: Age of Extinction”) had soft numbers somewhere.
One of the most disappointing casualties of the year was the poor performance of Doug Liman’s “Edge of Tomorrow.” Some have zealously called the film out for its uninspiring title (and evidenced by the fact the DVD and Blu-ray are titled “Live. Die. Repeat.: Edge of Tomorrow” as well as being listed on Amazon that way), it’s possible that this may have been part of the case. Whatever the case may be, I am glad to see the film getting a proper push on home video because it was one of the best would-be blockbusters of the summer.
Based on the graphic novel “All You Need Is Kill,” “Edge of Tomorrow” follows a military public relations officer named William Cage (Tom Cruise) who is selling the world on a global offensive against an alien invasion. After being ordered to the front lines as an embedded personality, Cage tries to run but is arrested and dropped into battle. He finds himself in an alien ambush, but when he is killed, he discovers he has the sudden power to live the day over and over again to improve his situation. This leads him on a search for answers and a way to defeat the aliens forever.
“Edge of Tomorrow” and its time-loop premise is the kind of movie that either greatly appeals to someone or turns them off. I happen to love these kinds of stories, as long as they are done well, and for the most part, “Edge of Tomorrow” is an effectively presented tale of science fiction. If you hate time loops, you’ll want to skip this one, unless the copious amounts of military action can keep you interested.
There’s an energy to “Edge of Tomorrow” you expect from director Doug Liman, who has come off a few duds over the years but still manages to make a compelling sci-fi action film. The effects are integral to the story, and they make the movie look fantastic and believable.
Even Tom Cruise in the lead role, who can sometimes come off as too smug in his middle aged years to turn some folks off, works well in the part. Sure, the movie is still all about him, but that’s typical movie star royalty behavior you should come to expect from him.
Cruise is balanced by Emily Blunt, another soldier who once had the ability to reset the day that Cage has. She provides a good foil to his cocky demeanor and helps ground the film in humanity without standing out like the movie star.
Though the film borrows from other science fiction movies, including “Starship Troopers” and Cruise’s own turn in “War of the Worlds,” it’s unique enough and fun enough to be one of my favorite films of the summer.
The Blu-ray comes with some decent behind-the-scenes features, but it does show a trend that has been disappointing me lately with some of the top releases in the Warner Bros. catalogue. There’s no director’s commentary to many of these movies lately (including “Godzilla,” “300: Rise of an Empire,” “Transcendence” and even last year’s “Man of Steel”). This is a feature that does seem to be lacking in many recent releases.
Fortunately, there are some decent featurettes and a director’s profile to balance that out. Two featurettes are included about “Operation Downfall,” which includes the “Adrenaline Cut” that mashes together the most intense moments of all the versions of that battle as well as “Storming the Beach” which looks at this sequence of the film in relation to its World War II inspirations.
World-building featurettes include “Weapons of the Future” and “Creatures Not of This World.” There is also several minutes of deleted scenes, though many of these are just extensions of scenes already in the finished product.
The final feature on the bonus menu is “On the Edge with Doug Liman” which is a 42-minute profile of the director. It includes interview footage from the cast and crew you see elsewhere, and it is a bit of a puff piece on Liman himself. Still, Cruise’s ego sneaks in there as well and allows him to be doted on in all of the features (which is standard operating procedure for the bonus menus on many Tom Cruise movies).
In the end, the Blu-ray of “Edge of Tomorrow” is definitely worth it, mostly for the movie and the image quality in high definition. The look and sound of the film is great, and Warner Bros. almost always delivers a beautiful-looking product. The bonus features are acceptable but not the reason to grab this disc. It’s the movie – and the fact that it failed to find a wide audience in its theatrical release – that makes the film worth watching again, or just for the first time.