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THIS WEEK: The new Tom Fooze sci-fi epic featuring Cruise as a future soldier doing an “over and over” repeat-till-he-gets-it-right time-travel loop with master warrior Emily Blunt against super-fast, tentacled aliens.
A Mix of GROUND HOG DAY, GEARS OF WAR and the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION episode, “Cause And Effect.” Tagline: Fight. Die. Repeat.
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (based on a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka); Directed by Doug Liman (known most for the Bourne franchise).
- Interesting concept behind the time travel aspect. Unlike a-holes such as ENTERTAINMENT WEAKLY [sic], however, I won’t tell you what that is since it doesn’t become known till about 45 minutes into the film. It’s obvious the filmmakers didn’t want you to know right away, so why be a dick and spoil it?
- Everyone likes to rip on Cruise, but there’s not the usual “Tom Foozery” on display here. He was not only tolerable, he did a good job of keeping you interested and making you want him to succeed, where it could have easily turned into a boring “saw it already/don’t care” snoozefest. It’s very difficult to figure out just how much to show again and how much to change, so I give some props for a decent balance.
- Emily Blunt handles the 80-pound battle suit (it’s real weight for the actress) believably and convincingly. You can tell when the actors had some help from wires, but overall it’s pulled off well.
- The aliens (called “Mimics” for no explicable reason since they don’t mimic anything) are totally believable badasses! Nothing conventional, not humanoid, but wicked-scary fast and ugly as hell, especially the faceless ones. Takes a bit to figure out what exactly they look like but when you do, you ain’t disappointed.
- The training sequences are way better than those in DIVERGENT. Especially the consequences.
- The initial series of events of Tom becoming a soldier are really well done as far as making you feel his cluelessness, confusion, fear, dread and horror from recruitment to the battlefield. It’s one giant “WTF?” moment.
- They managed to sprinkle in a decent amount of humor between the end-of-the-world seriousness, death and bloodshed. (Always a good thing.) Particularly how Tom has to keep coming back for screwing up.
- Time travel is always a tightrope, and often a wibbly-wobbly one. There are some puzzling questions raised but I can’t talk much about them. One of the main issues, tho, is the choice of moment where Tom keeps “waking up”. Once you see the “why”, you’ll question the “when.” (No one does it better than DOCTOR WHO.)
- You get the feeling there’s a lot more in the novel that had to be cut out for time (pardon the pun). Though I didn’t read it (real men don’t read fiction), there had to be more about prior relationships, characterization, the original alien invasion, and even the ending. It seemed longer than the two hours it was, but at the end, I kinda wished there was more.
- Because of the repeated parts, a lot of characterization is sacrificed so I didn’t have much investment in most of the characters.
- Emily Blunt has a degree of cold-chick hotness but it’s all lost under the battle armor and military outfit which hides her bod and does nothing for her buns.
- If you only knew one of the members of your military squad for less than a day, would you really find out about his most embarrassing childhood moment in the second grade? I know Tom had to know personal details about the people he encountered to prove he’d met them earlier, but some of those are a stretch.
- Try not to think too much about the end results in context with the time travel thing or your head will hurt like mine did. (Not unlike the ending of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.)
This is borderline. It’s not really something you need to see immediately because people will be talking about it everywhere and there’s some major twist you need to know now. But the battle scenes and effects are best experienced on a giant screen. So you might as well go see it at the theater if you can part with the bucks.
P.S.: Art boy Mike Pascale likes making science fiction commissions for folks like you. He’s been in two volumes of STEAMPUNK ORIGINALS, so he can do that stuff too, along with the superheroes. He can also draw you as Tom Fooze’s battle partner if ya like. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Tom Cruise or other time travellers. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Tom Cruise or other time travellers. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Tom Cruise or other time travellers. Hey, haven’t I done this before?