We loved Edge of Tomorrow here at GFR, and we’re hugely bummed that it failed to bring in American audiences over the weekend, landing at third place behind The Fault in Our Stars and Maleficent (the latter of which was in its second week of release — ouch). I personally think the fault was in a marketing campaign that just didn’t sell how much fun — nor how funny — Edge of Tomorrow actually is. The good news is that, while it only did $29.1 million here in the States, the foreign box office brings its current total to $140,000, against a $178 million production budget. It’s still got a ways to go to be considered anything close to a hit, but we’re hoping the positive reviews and buzz — don’t just take our word for it — will help Edge of Tomorrow find an audience.
But in the meantime, Edge left us with a lot to talk about. So Brent, Nick, and myself convened over the weekend to talk about why we loved Edge of Tomorrow, and why it deserves a lot better reception than it’s getting. Check out what we had to say, then join in the discussion in the comments.
David: So, Edge of Tomorrow only came in third place for the weekend, damn it. My theater Friday night was about half full, at best. The trailers weren’t great at selling the flick. I think they totally missed on playing up how funny the movie is, especially in its first half.
Brent: The movie they marketed and the movie they made are two totally different things. There are so many things they could have played up instead of the “live. die. repeat.” angle.
Nick: Yeah, they should have played up the winking and nodding.
Brent: Definitely, you had no idea that it would be funny, or even fun, it looked heavy and like a bummer.
Nick: I have no idea how it would have worked without humor.
David: And I think that could have helped counter some of the anti-Cruise hate, because he’s definitely playing against type in the beginning.
Nick: Even when he does heroic things, it’s with unCruise snark. I loved it.
Brent: He really is going against his usual heroic approach. He’s not a hero at all, just a self-centered ass trying not to die.
Nick: I can’t remember the last time he was my favorite thing about a movie.
David: And they actually make his evolution into the sort of character he’d normally be playing believable. He earns it by the time he gets to badass mode.
Brent: Absolutely. The script is way more clever than I expected. From his character to the way they reveal information as he’s training.
David: The editing of how they handle the repeated deaths/training thing was great as well. I don’t think director Doug Liman shot the repeated material the same way twice.
Brent: For a movie about repetition, it never ever felt repetitive.
Nick: I think I had read that , that he got an astounding amount of second unit footage. And it was nice how the third act did mostly away with everything we’d seen before.
Brent: That doesn’t surprise me, there’s so much going on you could easily glean multiple angles of just about every scene.
David: I also love the fact that we had Bill Paxton’s “glorious combat” speech serving as the “I Got You Babe,” to continue the Groundhog Day comparisons.
Brent: And we can’t forget that glorious mustache.
David: And the fact that Paxton is playing a military dude who can’t stand cowardice, and if that isn’t a sly nod to his Aliens role, I’ll eat his hat. I remember reading that an early draft of Groundhog Day implied or outright said Murray’s character had been reliving the day for some insane length of time, like hundreds of years. And I loved in Edge of Tomorrow that they suggested that Cruise has been doing this WAY longer than we actually see. Especially toward the end of the second act when Cruise’s Bill Cage is sort of on the edge of giving up since he can’t save Rita (Emily Blunt).
Nick: Yes! That farmhouse scene worked so well because of us not knowing how often he’d done it.
Brent: Yeah, there is so much more going on that we don’t see, he’s done this so many times, died so many times.
David: That’s the one thing the trailers didn’t make clear, and which makes so much more sense: the idea that he’s not just reliving the day, but that he HAS to die each day. I thought that was a great touch.
Brent: There’s so much weight on the character, dying every day, seeing everyone die, trying to save the world. No wonder he takes a day off and just goes and has a beer at one point.
Nick: Absolutely. It made for an awkward “I can’t do this anymore” scene, but it added depth to the repetition.
Brent: And it’s almost heartbreaking to watch him try to convince Rita just to sit down and take a moment, because he knows this is where she gets off.
Nick: I hope there’s a deleted scene of them banging like rabbits.
David: And the sequence where he just says fuck it, leaves her alone, and goes looking for the Omega, I thought he did a lot with almost no dialogue there. There’s a reason why this guy is a capital-letters Movie Star, regardless of if he’s opening films like he used to.
Nick: That scene was so good.
Brent: You forget that Tom Cruise can actually act. but he showed it there and throughout.
Nick: He never has to say, “I love this woman!” And it’s all the better for it.
Brent: It is surprisingly subtle.
Nick: That said, I was meh on Blunt. She was good, sure. But I don’t know.
David: I thought she did fine, but didn’t blow me away or anything. She did have a particular challenge since she was having to play a character whose knowledge of the situation is at different points depending on where in the movie she is.
Brent: Yeah, she was fine and did was asked of her, like many of the not Tom Cruises, she wasn’t asked to do a ton. Though she was pretty badass.
Nick: Yeah she could have led this movie if it was her story.
David: Yeah, she definitely proved she can do the action-hero thing. I’d love to see her given the chance to topline something. Hell, I’d love to see a sequel just about her Verdun experience. Although that would technically be a prequel I guess.
Going back to the repetition thing, was I the only one who thought the bit where they’re sneaking into the general’s headquarters reminded a lot of the Minority Report sequence where Agatha is using her powers to guide Cruise through the mall while everybody’s looking for them? It was a great use of the core concept I thought.
Brent: There’s a definite caper feel to that scene. Like one of the Ocean’s 11 movies.
Nick: Christopher McQuarrie was such a good choice for writer. It’s worth noting that, for this not being a full-on action movie, there are some seriously cool action sequences.
David: I love the sheer “we’re fucked”-ness of the initial beach invasion. They did a good job of selling the chaos.
Brent: They definitely recreated the Normandy invasion feel.
Nick: And they sold it each time. I loved not knowing how it would go each time and if he would save Game of Thrones guy.
David: Yeah, and again, just how well Cruise played against type. I also think it helped that the exo-suits were heavy enough that the default appearance in them was “awkward.”
Brent: Loaded up they apparently weighted like 120 pounds.
Nick: He was a hoot in his first suit experience. It initially put me off that everyone just straight up wanted him to die.
David: What did you guys think of the aliens? They were a little underwhelming to me, although I did like the crazy way they moved, and I liked that they were smart enough to use their own power against Cruise once he had it.
Nick: Yeah they didn’t sell the aliens hard enough. But that allllmost worked to keep this Cruise’s movie.
Brent: That was the biggest thing I liked about them, was that crazy, spastic movement. It made them scarier in a way, almost like they were skipping through time. I could have used more of them though.
Nick: The CGI was weird but yeah the super-fast movements made them unpredictable and cool. The underground nature helped, too.
Brent: They remind me of the machines from The Matrix.
David: So since I’m about to get in an argument with a friend about this on Facebook, what did you guys think of the ending?
Nick: Loved it. I was waiting or a twist of some kind, and that was the shit.
Brent: I’m not one of the people that was horribly offended by it, and there’s not really any other way I can think that it could have been resolved, but it does feel way too happy, sunny, everything works out great. It really is the only way it could have worked out without killing Rita and Cage and everything being fucked up.
David: Yeah, on the one hand, it’s very much a “mega-happy” ending, but it’s the sort of thing that’s hardly unprecedented. And I don’t think anybody would have loved to come out of the theater with everybody dead. It’s a cheap move, sure, but I also thought Cruise’s performance and the sudden cut helped make it work.
Nick: Yeah. And it didn’t even feel happy to me. It just felt sly and tongue in cheek.
Brent: With a story like this there’s not a lot of middle ground, it either has to be happy or miserable. I like that he had that wise-ass, “I know something you don’t know” grin on his face.
David: Right. Honestly, I can even sort of see it being a comment on the very nature of how this sort of movie always ends.
Brent: Definitely. Especially given how grim that final battle is, and the knowledge that Cage can’t come back any more. Time travel movies are never going to end in a way that satisfies everyone. And the emphasis is so much more on the journey than the destination.
Edge of Tomorrow is now in theaters. Go see it, damn it!