On its surface, Edge of Tomorrow looks like a fun little action flick. Certainly looks a hell of a lot better than Tom Cruise’s last foray in the fiction of science, Oblivion. I also quite like Emily Blunt. Using the Groundhog Day mechanic to learn how to become a badass weapon is probably one of the best things you could do when the fate of our world is at stake.
So why has this film appeared on my list of things to nerd rage over?
Well it turns out that this is based on a Japanese light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka entitled All You Need Is Kill. From the synopsis:
When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally–the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?
Sooooo as much as I dislike the trend of Hollywood White Washing Japanese things, I will give this movie some credit. Unlike the Americanized live action Akira film which I pray never makes it to screen in my lifetime, they’ve come up with a new title and have renamed the characters. If AZM Ally Derek Jeffers had never pointed out the basis for the film, I would have never known. I would have been slightly dismayed that there seemed to be no minorities in the trailer, but I would have had no idea.
I’ve got mixed feelings on this. I really hope Sakurazaka gets a nice big royalty from the movie rights. I’m dismayed that Hollywood is mining Asian fiction for ideas rather than tapping some home grown talent. There are plenty of amazing ideas right here at home that aren’t getting a chance. But then again, without this trend, we wouldn’t have this amazing Godzilla film to look forward to.
Thanks to AZM Ally Derek Jeffers for the heads up.
Looper is out on DVD and Blu-ray which gives me a perfect opportunity to talk about it. But first, here’s a mashed up trailer that’s been put through the wub wub machine.
I can’t believe I didn’t review the thing when it came out in theaters. I actually ended up seeing it twice and loved picking out the bits that I missed in the first go around. This review will probably have some spoilers because it’s difficult to talk about it without revealing too much. So if you haven’t seen it yet, know that I really enjoyed it. On with the review.
The Future is Pretty White
To longtime AZM Allies, I must sound like a broken record. But I’m gonna say it anyway. I was really disappointed in the lack of diversity of the supporting cast. Certainly, this movie is basically a character study centering on Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, and young Pierce Gagnon, all very white. So I wasn’t really expecting to see many leading minority roles. But the film is set in the near future. All evidence points to a major demographic shift in the coming years, yet there were only a handful of minorities in supporting roles and none had any significant dialog.
It didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film, but honestly, I’m getting a little tired of Sci Fi forgetting that the future will probably be a lot more colorful than today. And today is pretty colorful as it is.
Napkins and Straws
Time travel movies are always kind of fun. There are some inherent problems with traveling to the past. Some movies don’t bother to deal with the science aspect of it at all. Some imply that even with time travel, certain events are fixed points in time. Some treat time as something more fluid and sort of wibbly wobbly. The important thing is for the film to remain true to whatever time travel rules it supplies.
Looper doesn’t quite answer the paradox problem. At least, not in the version in the theater. Word has it that there’s a deleted scene on the DVD and Blu-ray where Bruce Willis takes the time to explain the Looper rules of time travel with napkins and straws. Without that scene, there are some things about the Looper rules that we have to surmise on our own.
For the movie to work, every time you travel in the past, you create a divergent timeline. That’s why we have a dead version of Old Joe and a version of Old Joe that escapes young Joe. At some point, Old Joe escaped the loop created by his younger self killing his older self, thus creating a new timeline.
There’s a bit of a flaw in Old Joe’s logic. Certainly, the Rainmaker closes loops faster than any previous mob boss. But even without the Rainmaker, eventually Joe’s loop would have be to closed. When the men in black come for him, his wife might get killed anyway. I don’t think that the future mob really gives a shit about his spouse. Still, Old Joe must do something.
“Listen up, FUCKER!”
I love that Emily Blunt’s first words on screen include “fucker.” She is absolutely wonderful as Sara. Her chemistry with Piece Gagnon is totally believable. I actually found her bit of the story much more compelling than Joe’s quest for himself.
What’s on your nose?!
Speaking of Joe, I found Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s nose action really distracting. We actually know what a young Bruce Willis looks like since he’s been acting for such a long time and he doesn’t look anything like J Gordy Nose Thing. J Gordon has Bruce Willis’s mannerisms down so well that I think he would have been totally believable as a young Bruce without the nose job.
Joe starts out as a useless twat. He lives for the now giving little thought to his future. Even when he’s running after his older self, his only concern is making things right with his boss. It’s only when he encounters Sara and Cid that he considers life beyond himself. More than the time traveling crime noir stuff that’s going on, it’s Joe’s character arc that is the most compelling thing about this film. That aspect elevates the film above the usual action fare.
Audrey and I were still talking about Looper and its various paradoxes or non paradoxes for days. It’s one of those movies that wraps itself around your brain meats and kind of hangs in there like a twisty puzzle with all sorts of weird angles. That’s why I’m really curious about “The Science of Time Travle” featurette on the Blu-ray disc. Also included on the Blu-ray are 22 deleted scenes including the five that are on the DVD version.
It was definitely worth the ticket price in the theater and looks to be quite awesome on disc.