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Monday, June 9, 2014

GROUNDHOG D-DAY...


...could just as well have been the title of Edge of Tomorrow (EoT), the latest Tom Cruise flick, with Emily Brunt as the "The Angel of Verdun" or "Full Metal Bitch," depending on your point of view.  Rotten Tomatoes gave the film excellent 90% and 92% ratings, and deservedly so, as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience in Titan XC and 3D. However, there might have been only 20 or so, at most, in the audience.  The $178 million effort came in third, earning only $29 million, to The Fault in Our Stars and Maleficent, with the latest X-Men fourth.  However, EoT has, thus far earned, worldwide, $140 million, so it's not a loser.  The bottom line is that Cruise is much more popular internationally than domestically.

Clearly, my interest in certain films does not reflect the general population.  I also stepped into X-Men:  Days of Future Past, which garnered 92%/94% ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.  In its third week and with a total gross already exceeding what it cost to make EoT, in a theater where just about every seat was taken, after 15 minutes, I asked myself:  Do I want to waste two hours more of my life here?  I walked out.  I just don't like Marvel (turned off by supernatural abilities), vampire, zombie and animated films.  They defy any kind of reality.  Yes, I saw World War Z with Brad Pitt (who was first asked to do EoT when it was still titled All You Need is Kill, by manga author Hiroshi Sakurazuka), but I usually don't do much research before seeing a film.
 
So, then, why did I like EoT?  Not sure.  This, too, was beyond the pale with respect to normality.  Time loops like Groundhog Day mean the whole film represented just one day, but a hundred times.  The opening must have been orchestrated to fall around June 6, linking with D-Day in 1944, for the battle was just a next generation version of the landing at Normandy.

In short, aliens, called Mimics (left), are controlled by Omega, a central brain hidden in the base of the Louvre (this is a mild giveaway, but only secondarily so).  Cruise, as Major William Cage, a self-confessed wimp of a soldier, and the Angel/Bitch, after improving their strategic status after every terminal event (upon death, Cage returns to the same point on the surface of an aircraft carrier, but has an opportunity to adjust, knowing what happened the previous cycles, towards victory, which is to destroy Omega).  Hey, this is Tom Cruise, so of course he prevails, but how he got this power, what is exsanguination and where these aliens came from...you figure those out yourself.  Want to see what Omega looks like?  You'll need to get pass this protector, something Cage is attempting:
 

I quote Justin Chang of Variety regarding the movie production:
 
 "tell their story in a breezy narrative shorthand (and at times, sleight-of-hand), transforming what must surely be an unbelievably tedious gauntlet for our hero into a deft, playful and continually involving viewing experience".

Sequel?  Well, Hiroshi Sakurazaka is writing a sequel.
 
Ho hum, another historic maximal day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 18 to 16,943.  Got up to 16,970, but never broke the 17.000 ceiling.  The S&P500 also closed at an all-time high of 1951.
 
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