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Edge of Tomorow (2014)

I wanted to go see the X-Men movie, but Megan had already seen it, so we watched this instead.  The only thing i knew about the movie was that Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt were the headliners, the former of which i generally dislike and the latter of which i like quite a bit.  In that, my expectations were met.  Tom Cruise was very Tom Cruise and i internally rolled my eyes a lot at how Tom Cruise he was.  Emily Blunt was very Emily Blunt, which translated in my mind as being generally pretty bad-ass.

The cinematic style of the movie made me have to close my eyes some of the time because the beach action scenes and a few other action scenes were shaky camera which makes me feel nauseous.  For the beach scenes this didn't bother me because i found those action scenes in general to be pretty annoying even with the cleverness of some of the variants involved.  i know that that's a personal preference of mine; those scenes were all about flash and fast-paced and chaos of battle, and i've always been much more about focus, subtlety, and "less is more", which clearly reflects in my own creative work.

As far as the movie itself, i'm pretty sure i liked it.  It had a decent mix of serious vs light-hearted moments, the pacing was very solid, and despite the fact that it had some nagging issues both small and big, that didn't detract from me being captivated by the movie.  In general, i measure how much i like or dislike a film or television show/episode based on how much the issues i recognize are a) things i recognize right away versus things i recognize more after the fact and/or b) whether or not those things end up distracting me from the movie itself as i'm watching it.  There were only a few moments in this movie where i felt like a poorly scripted line or a poorly executed idea truly distracted me, so i think i walk away from it thinking it was a success.

As far as some of the nagging issues that surfaced after watching it and thinking about it:

the movie was pretty much about the use of time loop to gain more useful information about repeating events.  this made sense in a lot of cases because the information gained was a result of direct cause and effect - in attempt number 1, the aliens lay down a trap, in attempt number 2, Tom Cruise knows about that and thwarts it.  This also made sense as it related to Emily Blunt's character because she had inside knowledge of the time loop, so gaining personal information about her made sense because they already had a trust connection through their shared experience of the time loop.

In other ways, i found it difficult to believe that the knowledge that Tom used could have actually been gained because to everyone else Tom was always a stranger.  So what would make members of the J-Squad trust him with intimate details about their life in that time span, particularly that one guy who was using a false name for selfish purposes?  That knowledge implies that the J-Squad would have reason to trust him with information that they wouldn't after knowing him for only one day.  That first time when he had duct tape put over his mouth shouldn't have changed over time because no matter how diplomatic he could have been about it, he still wouldn't have gained that sort of knowledge.

The ending of the movie was fairly predictable and annoying.  When everyone including all of the main characters start dying in a time loop movie, you know that there's probably going to be some sort of reset involved where everyone is alive and none the wiser.  In this case, it was particularly annoying because the point where Tom was reset to in his own timeline was in a clearly different spot than the place where he always ended up during the actual war, and that felt like an arbitrary choice.  Never mind the fact that it doesn't much make sense to me that if the blood of the Omega could restore Tom's ability to time loop, then the omega should be able to reset *its* own death before passing that ability to someone else.

Probably one of the bigger issues that i had which i find true of any story that tries to use this sort of time loop exploit is that many stories treat time manipulation as one of very isolated effect.  Tom wiggles one change, such as stopping an ambush before it happens or predicting what the secretary would say when she entered the room, and that wiggle creates a singular effect that centers and focuses on his perspective and otherwise doesn't change anything else.  With certain minor things (secretary) i buy that, but with other things (stopping alien ambush) i don't because the aliens are clearly intelligent if they can cast an illusion to Tom that's a falsehood and a trap, and they know that the time loop ability has been passed on to the enemy, so their tactics should change to focus on that.  As soon as Tom shows any sign of having predetermined knowledge, their entire campaign would focus on taking him alive and getting his blood.  And clearly the humans somehow have that knowledge because otherwise they wouldn't know to not kill Alphas, so it stands to reason that it can be deduced outside of the context of the trap that they laid, but the story doesn't go that direction and it should have.

All that said, i still think the movie was pretty entertaining and all of those quibbles are minor.  I probably would have liked it better if the main protag would have been, say, Nathan Fillion or something, but you take what you can get.

Pretty sure it fails the bechdel test, but i'm still getting used to looking for that specifically when i watch movies (which isn't often).  There's one other female character that i can recall had a speaking part other than Emily Blunt, but the two of them never interacted.

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March 2017