Monday, 22 April 2019

Live, Die, Repeat - The Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

2014
Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise
Directed by: Doug Liman
IMDB: 7.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

This film actually has two names, and I'm not sure why they changed its name to Live, Die, Repeat so late in the piece (namely when the Blue-Ray was released) especially since I didn't actually have a problem with the original name (though there are probably reasons that I am not aware of that prompted the change). Okay, it is a Tom Cruise movie, and while I would generally say that I basically tolerate him, he still seems to find himself in some really cool movies, such as this one.

Anyway, the movie is based on a Manga comic, which in turn is based on a Japanese short novel called All You Need is Kill. The story line is basically the same, but there are a number of differences, such as the novel being set in Japan (and Florida), and the aliens looking, well, rather dull in the novel. If there is one thing that is really cool about aliens in Hollywood, and that is that they can make them look really cool, and they definitely do this here. In fact as time moves on the aliens seems to become much more, well, alien, which I think is a good thing, but then again we can probably thank CGI for that.


Synopsis

So, I would basically call this film 'Ground-hog Day with Guns' though that is probably putting it lightly. I'm sure (or I hope we are) familiar with that awesome 80s film where Bill Murry lives the same day over and over again, until he realises that he is, well, basically a jerk, and changes. This isn't so much the case with this film though. Well, sort of. The film opens with Tom Cruise, or Major Cage, landing in London. He is a PR rep for the American Army and he has been loaned to the British Army for their operations (though the army is known here as the United Defense Force).

What has happened is that a meteor has struck the Earth near Hamburg and released a horde of Aliens across Europe. They have basically decimated the continent and are now preparing to cross the Channel and invade London. However, a young cadet has recently proved her worth in the battle of Verdun, and the humans are lead to believe that they may have a chance at beating these aliens. So, they form a huge invasion force, and decide to strike at the coast of France. The problem is that this invasion is a complete failure, the force is completely destroyed, and the next day the aliens invade London.



Well, this is where the interesting part of the film comes in, sort of. Cruise is ordered to go and do his PR on the beachhead, which he objects to, says a few things to the General who is a little upset, busts him down to private, and throws him into the fray. Well, while he may be a major, the one thing that he doesn't have is combat skills, so he lands up on the beach with no idea on how to operate his weapon, and is eventually killed by one of the aliens. However, before he is killed, he managed to wound the alien (he works out how to use the weapon), and is splattered with the alien's blood. He then wakes up, in the morning, and discovers that he is repeating the entire day.

Anyway, before I continue, here is the trailer, for those who are interested.


Normandy All Over Again

I guess the thing that stood out in this film at first was that even from the trailers it was very clear that the beach landing was representative of the Normandy landings during World War II. Actually, when we have a look at the map of the region that the aliens have conquered, it also appears to be reflective of what was conquered during World War II. This is interesting because many of the great wars of Europe have all had the goal of turning Europe into a Fortress, or at least this was what happened during the Napoleonic Wars, and also World War II. There has been a lot said about how England was protected by her moat, and in many cases she was. Theoretically she has not been successfully invaded since the conquests of William. Okay, there was the Glorious Revolution of 1689, but one can argue that the reason this invasion was a success had more to do with the Dutch being invited by the English, or at least the English who didn't particularly like the Stewarts, to come and take the crown.

Yet the opposite is also true. Both Napoleon and Hitler worked the fact that once they had control of Europe, they could pretty much prevent the English from establishing a foothold. Sure, Napoleon was also attempting to starve English commercialism by denying them any European markets, and technically this was also the case with Napoleon. Notice how that the English landings in both wars occurred after the respective dictators failed campaign against the Russians. In fact, it was only after Napoleon was routed in Russia that the tables finally turned against them. As for the Nazi's, while the invasion was a success (and technically it was a two pronged invasion as the Allies were also invading from the Mediterranean since Italy was the weakest link, but even then this involved a rather difficult invasion of Morocco) it certainly didn't come without a huge cost.

The best map I could find, but not really representative.
I guess this is reflective of the difficulties that the UDF is facing in the film in that the Aliens have pretty much conquered Europe, and this invasion is a last ditch effort to attempt to turn the tide. Well, they have also been heartened by an apparent victory in Verdun, which has created its own problems, but it has been suggested in the film that this was actually a set up by the aliens to attempt to lure all of the UDF troops into France for one final victory.

Another thing, London has always been pictured as the last outpost of civilisation in such times. In fact, it is interesting that Orwell, in 1984, has Airstrip One, or the British Isles, as a separate from Eurasia. It is almost as if Britain, once the centre of an empire, has now become an outpost of the Anglo-American empire. In a way this seems to be the way it stands now. There actually seems to be much more in common between the British and the Americans (and in turn the Australians) than is the case in Europe. The fact that both countries seem to be attempting to dismantle their public healthcare systems in favour of an American style private healthcare system seems to reflect that (though apparently there still isn't such a thing as a private hospital in England).

The Fifth Dimension

Okay, my Dad, who happens to have studied physics at university (and has a doctrate in the subject) really doesn't think all that much on this idea that there are more dimensions beyond the main three. While I'm not so much a physicist, I can sort of understand where he is coming from, particularly since much of these ideas are speculative, and really only exist to attempt to solve problems that many of the modern theories have created. In a way I can appreciate this, since we are basically speculating when it comes to the idea of string theory and all that. Anyway, apparently there are something like ten dimensions, and this video, if you can get your head around the concepts, and attempts to explain them.

Anyway, for our purposes we will only be looking at two of these dimensions, namely the forth and the fifth, namely because they tend to be linked (well, sort of). If time happens to be the forth dimension, the probability turns out to be the fifth. Basically this means that if one were to travel back in time (if it is possible in the first place), and changes something (and the fact that one has traveled back in time pretty much suggests that everything has been changed anyway), then a completely different time line peels off. Basically the fifth dimension is inhabited by the infinite numbers of different universes that have been created by the infinite numbers of different choices that people have made.
A cube with 5 dimensions
So, what has happened in the film is that the aliens have this ability to be able to travel in the fifth dimension, meaning that they are able to see all of the different outcomes of all of the different choices, and pretty much travel along the path that leads to the best outcome for them. However, there is a bit of a catch, because if this was the case, then why haven't the aliens pretty much annihilated the Earth in the time between the initial landing, and this invasion. Surely they know the best path to take, so why haven't they taken it?

The idea is that the aliens are able to reset each of the days, and make different choices, and this has pretty much made them unbeatable. Once again, there is this idea of not knowing which timeline we are traveling down, and it seems that the aliens have already reset the days enough so that we are pretty much trapped in one strand of the dimension. However, the aliens didn't realise that a human could become infected with their blood, and suddenly also be able to reset the day.

Breaking the Fifth Dimension

Okay, there is a video that goes into a lot more details on the problems with the film than I do, but then again this guy does use an awful lot of sarcasm in his Youtube videos.


However, I guess if we took this too seriously, and followed some of these ideas, then we probably wouldn't actually have a film. However, if the aliens are able to see the various courses of history, then surely they would have seen the chance that one of the humans would become infected and also start repeating days, and acted to prevent this. Of course, they might have known this, but then had issues with actually finding a timeline where this doesn't actually happen so as to avoid it. Maybe this is why only two people actually became infected as opposed to a lot more. In fact, maybe this is the soft underbelly of the aliens that needs to be exploited.

Not surprisingly, nobody actually believes Cage, or his friend, that what is happening is actually happening. Then again, she is also under-estimating Cage's PR skills, as is the case in the various other scenes where he is able to get his way into the general's office, and then get the device off of him. Yet there is also another slight problem, because if this day is now pretty much set, meaning that every time Cage dies, he goes back to the beginning of this one day, then quite possibly everything happens in way it is supposed to happen, with the exception of the various choices that Cage and his partner are able to make.

In a way time has now been set, yet once one understands what is happening, one is suddenly free to make alternate suggestions that will basically change the course of history. Foreknowledge is a very, very powerful thing. Except there is one little catch - that alien that Cage killed is still on that beach, and Cage knows exactly where that alien is, so why hasn't he used that knowledge to then infect his partner in crime, and then in turn the other guys in his platoon (particularly the guy that insists on going into battle naked, with the exception of his power armour).



Well, maybe the problem is that it won't actually work. You see, if the day resets for Cage, then all of a sudden he is back to square one, which means his partner, or anybody else in the squad, are also back to square one. Sure, in their timeline, both them, and Cage, are affected, but that is a timeline that has now broken off from the current Cage's timeline, and he simply can't traverse the fifth dimension - he is only stuck in a continual time loop. In fact he can't even traverse the forth dimension, with the exception of being able to loop back to the beginning of that single day.

Yet, this could be easily changed by infecting everybody in the group at the same time, including reinfecting Cage himself. However, the problem then arises that, well, they happen to be in the middle of a war zone, and these aliens, the Mimics, really don't seem to be the types of creatures that can easily be captured. Yet, one would think that maybe, just maybe, Cage could see the alternates to where he is able to actually capture the alpha, and then do his magic trick. Then again, there simply may not be enough time to do so. I guess that even with the infinite about of probabilities that the fifth dimension opens up, there are still some restrictions that are in place and there are certain impossible things that cannot occur.

Still, there would be some cool thing about being able to live in a repeated day, over and over again, yet I guess, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, that it gets to a point where you are literally driven insane so you steal the groundhog and drive off the cliff in a ute.

Edge of Tomorrow Poster: Wikipedia.
Mimic: Aliens.fandom 

 
Creative Commons License

Live, Die, Repeat - The Edge of Tomorrow by David Alfred Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This license only applies to the text and any image that is within the public domain. Any images or videos that are the subject of copyright are not covered by this license. Use of these images are for illustrative purposes only are are not intended to assert ownership. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me

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