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Although it is based on the widely-praised 2004 Japanese sci-fi light novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow is a film that reminds you of Groundhog Day (1993), Source Code (2011), Starship Troopers (1997) and Elysium (2013) due to the similarities of the plot elements. Therefore, comparisons are inevitable for some viewers for an alien invasion war film that features time loops and powered exoskeleton suits. But safely to say, the film managed to stay fresh and entertain the audience with enough humour, action and suspense from start to finish.
The story is about an untrained US military officer, Major William Cage, who's just a spokesperson for the army in the United Defence Force with no battlefield experience whatsoever. He was demoted to private following an act of cowardice and being forcefully sent to the battlefield by the general to fight a losing war against the "Mimics" - invading aliens with the ability to efficiently respond to Earth's military combat strategies.
When Cage is sent to the front lines, he managed to kill a large and extremely rare Alpha Mimic by sheer luck but winds up dead. However, due to his exposure to the Alpha mimic's blood, Cage gains the time-loop ability to relive the same day over and over again each time he dies. Remembering what's going to happen when and where, Cage eventually managed to save Rita, a.k.a. 'Full Metal Bitch' who once had the same ability as him. With Rita's help, Cage's skill as a soldier grows in each subsequent time loop and they work together as a team to find a way to end the war. That's roughly how the story goes.
Despite its time-loop plot device, the film never feels tedious or repetitive due to the occasional humour that comes with Cage's time-looping experience. The repeated scenes were shot at different angles and Cage's response to the situation is different each time that it feels fresh even when he relives his day again. The relationship between Cage and Rita is nicely developed and the constant reintroduction between them is swiftly handled. It's surprisingly funny to see Rita shoots Cage for his countless failures during training and he needs to wake up, find her and get shot again and again. There's also another ridiculously funny scene where members of his squad find him for a fight due to his absence during the training, but Cage remembered the moves well that he's managed to avoid them even with his eyes closed. As the film progresses, the audience gets to see Cage's transition from a coward officer to a well-trained battlefield soldier.
The visual effects in the film are top notch and the battle scenes with the Mimics were shot in a fast-paced manner that keeps you engaged at all times. The exoskeleton battle suits are fully utilised in battle, equipped with many weapons to fight against the Mimics. As an actor, Tom Cruise has always been committed to his role in films. Once again, he's giving his best performance as the lead and doing all the stunts by himself, which is quite impressive (take note, he's 51). On the other hand, Emily Blunt is a complete badass in her role as Rita, especially when she swings her big sword to kill several Mimics at a time. The origin, function and intention of the Mimics are well explained to the audience without much confusion at all. However, there's a slight complaint though: the rest of the cast (especially J squad) does not have any real character development at all and they need to rely on exposition to know who they are.
Overall, Edge of Tomorrow is a well-made sci-fi action comedy thriller. It's funny, thrilling and action-packed, the story makes sense and everything falls into place nicely in the end. It's one of the good films released this year.
SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING THE FILM AND THEY'RE PROVIDED WITH ANSWERS. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING AFTER YOU'VE WATCHED THE FILM:
Note: After a 2nd viewing of the film, it is confirmed that the previous theory for the ending is wrong. I have edited the explanation below.
What are the Mimics actually?
Mimics are 'highly evolved world-conquering' aliens equipped with time-loop ability, which gives them the edge to efficiently respond to any military combat strategies when invading other planets. It is said that there's possibly more Mimics out there in the universe. But, one of them found Earth and decides to invade it. It is explained in the film that the Mimics are actually ONE single entity, despite the fact that there's millions of them: the normal Mimics are like 'claws', the Alphas are like the 'central nervous system' and the Omega is the 'brain'. Alphas link the Omega and normal Mimics together, it is shown that they are required to be in the battlefield for the Omega to coordinate the attacks. Alphas are extremely rare, with a ratio of approx. 1 : 6.18 millions of normal Mimics. When the Omega ('brain') dies, the other Mimics would stop functioning immediately. It is actually Omega that controls the time-loop ability. Whenever an Alpha dies, it triggers an automatic response for Omega to reset time. It was not shown or stated that after Omega resets the time, the previously died Alpha comes back or not. Although Cage never meets back the Alpha that he previously killed, but since the scenario of the beach battle is different each time when Cage resets time (he took a different path), it's hard to say that the Alpha remains dead or alive. If it remains dead, it explains its 'rarity' as well since it's explained that Omega resets time quite often to gain the upper hand. The time-loop ability is transferable.
If the Omega loses its time-loop ability to Cage, then why it's able to trick Cage about its location?
Although Cage gains the time-loop ability, he's still linked to Omega (much like an Alpha). When Cage died countless times, Omega can still sense that there's something wrong due to the numerous automatic trigger response in his nervous system to reset time. Therefore, he moved to a new location and tries to track down Cage to gain back its ability.
After they discovered that the Omega resets the day and moved to Paris, Cage used a device invented by Rita's friend to locate the Omega. How the device actually work?
The device is a transponder, a device that emits an identifying signal in response to a received signal. It is explained that the Alphas are 'central nervous system' to the Omega, they are linked together by transmitting a certain frequency signal to each other. Cage was infected with the blood of an Alpha, therefore he is linked to Omega. Therefore, he can use the device to track Omega.
Why there's only one Alpha guarding the Omega when Cage and the rest reach the Omega's location? Omega should increase its defence when he's aware that they're coming for it?
Cage has lost the ability due to blood transfusion and Omega has gain back its ability. Alphas are extremely rare, they're required to be in the battlefield to coordinate the attacks, since they function as the 'nervous system' of Omega. If the humans kill an Alpha without touching its blood, Omega can reset the day and come up a better plan and relocate itself. There are hundreds or thousands of normal Mimics surrounding the area, an Alpha should be enough to guard Omega against the humans until it relocates itself again.
What actually happened at the end? Why Cage is still alive (so do the rest of the cast), wakes up on a helicopter instead of the training camp at Heathrow airport?
No one truly knows what really happened at the end as it wasn't shown clearly in the film. But we can roughly know the ending based on the 'logics and rules' established in the film.
Before explaining what actually happened at the end, there's a
- "Killing the Omega does not destroy the Mimics and end the war, but it does remove their "time reset" ability, thus severely weakening them and therefore finally allow the humans to gain the upper hand." The general announced on the news that 'the Mimics was weak' and the army is still preparing for the battle at the beach.
There's one way to explain this: At that particular point in time, humans, the global population, including the general doesn't know how the biology of the Mimics at all, only Cage knows (they don't know that Mimics are one single entity or Omega's existence). The sudden 'shutdown' of the Mimics prompted the announcement of the Mimics' defeat on the news.
This is affirmed when Cage looked "surprised and happy" when he saw the news on TV and visited the camp -as a Major, high ranking officer- to see his ex-mates and Rita,
- Omega remains dead after Cage obtained Omega's blood and went into a time-loop.
So now, let me explain in further detail for the ending:
- Day One - Cage arrives in London, got demoted by the general. He wakes up in milítary camp, got introduced to J squad, later escapes, seeks Rita Vrataski, etc.
- Before Day Two battle - Fly to Paris at night to kill the Omega.
- Day Two - the day of the battle.
After the explosion, Omega is dead and all the Mimics stop functioning. The blood that seeps into Cage's body at the end was not from the Alpha, but from Omega.
After Cage successfully kills the Omega, he went into a time-loop, which is Day One (or earlier, because the day Cage and Rita recruit J squad to fly to Paris is actually Day One), he look surprised when he saw the news mentioning Louvre's explosion and the Mimics stop functioning. Omega died in the explosion. Before Omega completely dies and cease to function, it triggers the time-loop ability for the last time once the its blood seeps into Cage's body. Omega exists outside of the existing 'time-loop dimension' and has its own dimension. When Omega dies in its own dimension, it becomes reality during the night at Louvre. The reality of the explosion and Omega is killed takes place in the reset past and Omega stays dead in the new 'reset past reality'. All humans are affected by the time-loop ability, except Omega. So, Rita, J squad and the rest are alive and well. a
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