FROM THE DEN AT WOLF THEATRES — Until “Edge of Tomorrow,” comparing a movie to a videogame was largely an indictment. Such an accusation usually refers to visual/special-effects overkill wherein viewers are left feeling exhausted from a non-stop barrage of explosions, “epic,” larger-than-life battles of good versus evil, and CGI imagery.
Couple all that sensory heavy-handedness with a lack of cohesive, resonant storytelling, and viewers are left feeling disconnected – almost as if they’re watching someone play a gigantic videogame instead of a feature film.
Ironically, “Tomorrow” isn’t based on a videogame, but it nonetheless wholly embraces the notion of film as videogame. In fact, I can’t imagine any film coming closer to BEING an actual videogame rendered as a Hollywood blockbuster.
Oh great, you might be thinking, another summer, another storyless Hollywood stinker dressed up in razzle-dazzle to lull viewers into a computer-generated, mind-numbing stupor of banality – but not so fast. “Tomorrow” is the first film I can recall for which videogame comparisons AREN’T a snub.
Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, a public relations guru for an international military coalition waging war against a force of grotesque outerspace invaders.
Early on, Cage balks at a command to join the troops on the beaches of France for a major, potentially tide-turning battle against the aliens, and attempts to blackmail his commanding general (Brendan Gleeson) into retracting the assignment. That leads to his being stripped of rank, bumped down to Private and shipped to the front lines in handcuffs, where he’s placed under the not-so-tender command of Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton).
On the night before the battle, Farell, who’s been informed that Cage is a coward and a deserter, places him with a ragtag group of misfits who give new meaning to the term “bullet stoppers.” Cage’s group will hit the beaches as part of the first line of attack, with Cage being given less than 12 hours to become a soldier and prepare for combat.