Monday, June 09, 2014

Movie Review: EDGE OF TOMORROW - 9.1 Stars! No Spoilers

EDGE OF TOMORROW is an excellent movie and well worth seeing in 3D and especially IMAX 3D.  While it is my second highest rated review this year (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER scored 9.2 stars), had director Doug Liman tackled a few things in a different way, EoT would have had my endorsement as the year best movie thus far.  But it certainly is in the same league as Cap.

Probably my largest complaint with the movie is the third act.  The first two acts had exceptional pacing and was just about perfectly edited - I'll talk about the finale later on in the review. Liman whisked us along with numerous "time loop gags" that worked very well for me - these are inventive and while the premise is reminiscent of GROUNDHOG DAY and BACK TO THE FUTURE, it is still it's own beast.  At no time was my suspension of disbelief blown by something reminding me of another movie.  So rest assured, the most important aspect of this movie - time loop - was done well.

I made the mistake of watching Tom Cruise on the late night talk show circuit and I came away with a very scripted and safe take of the actor.  It's getting worse.  A canned public persona.  Hated it.  I feel he's not capable of being himself in public.  I understand the microscope he is under and that many don't trust his instincts (probably including himself), but wow, I hated watching it.  I won't again.

Emily Blunt's publicity tour however was very upbeat, funny and great to watch. Well, at least up to the point where she starts to talk about Cruise and his quirks. Then it becomes quite awkward. Even the international premieres that opened in 3 cities all within 24 hours was Cruise's idea and while interesting, I don't believe it was worth keeping a mother from her child for that long. Blunt has just given birth. I'm sure that didn't go over very well with her and her family.

HOWEVER, Cruise's performance in EDGE OF TOMORROW is inspired!  He has come a long way as far as taking chances on screen.  In fact his best scenes in EoT are when his character is vulnerable.  Taking into account his performance in TROPIC THUNDER, Cruise is morphing into someone audiences can start to relate to, and not an actor who only plays characters that are safe and invincible.

Domestically EDGE OF TOMORROW is not performing as well as it should be. Cruise may have over extended his stay as a top tier actor in the minds of most - especially the younger crowd. In fact EoT ($29m) opened third behind a strong opening from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS ($48m) and Disney's strong hold over MALEFICENT ($34m). Internationally though, Cruise is still a behemoth of the box office taking in an astounding $82m this weekend bringing us to a total of $140m.

Half the movie's take has been in 3D thus far (47%) and while I thought the 3D was done well - there wasn't anything about the conversion that stood out for me. It was just there. It certainly helped with the immersion and suspension of disbelief - especially with the "Matrix sentinel" influenced aliens, but with the sci-fi genre (and horror for that matter), I like to have a few scenes dialed way up to amplify the anxiety. Other than my preference, there's nothing overly wrong with the 3D.

What shone for me was the story, suspension of disbelief and the visual effects / stunts. This, of course, is an awesome combination of superlatives to have for a sci-fi movie and thus a very nice score of 91 stars.

The weakest links in the movie I felt was the third act, directing and character development. Yes, Cruise character Major Cage goes through significant change but I felt as though there wasn't enough development for me to be invested in his character all that much. The final act lost the movie's outstanding pace and editing, plus I can think of many things that WOULD have worked much better than what finally made it to the screen. I haven't read the original source material (ALL YOU NEED IS KILL), but I bet you it's different in the finale somehow. If you know, please let me know.

So - well worth going to see! I recommend it and endorse the IMAX 3D version. It's a VERY close second to CAPTAIN AMERICA for this year's best movie, so go see it.

EDGE OF TOMORROW is now playing in 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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