This accomplished sci-fi flick will surely find an appreciative audience on Blu-ray
For some reason, Edge of Tomorrow didn't exactly set box office tills ringing. Perhaps audiences were underwhelmed by the prospect of yet another Tom Cruise sci-fi vehicle, after Minority Report, War of the Worlds and Oblivion. Perhaps the name was to blame – a notion offered credence by the fact that the movie's tag-line, 'Live, Die, Repeat' is now given main prominence on the BD sleeve.
Whatever the reason, Edge of Tomorrow's lacklustre theatrical run is a shame, as the producers of this consistently smart, absorbing and well-executed flick deserve greater reward. Maybe home media can be its saviour.
Adapted from a 2004 Japanese novella, the premise here is mind-meltingly brilliant. Smug military PR man William Cage (Cruise) refuses to go to the front line (the beaches of France) in Earth's battle with its 'Mimic' alien invaders, so is arrested as a deserter and knocked unconscious. He wakes up surrounded by grunts, preparing to cross the English Channel and air-drop into battle. Unsurprisingly, in the ensuing fire-fight the hapless, ill-prepared Cage dies – only to wake up, again surrounded by grunts preparing to cross the English Channel and air-drop into battle...
Trapped in a time loop and facing perpetual grisly deaths, Cage's only solution is to befriend Emily Blunt's super-solider Rita – and she realises his temporal turmoil could hold the key to defeating the extra-terrestrial squatters once and for all.
Under the expert guidance of director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith), Edge of Tomorrow plays out like a cross between Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers, with a dose of Saving Private Ryan-style World War II movie chutzpah. While not a comedy, it's peppered with laugh-out loud moments; while not a romance, Cruise and Blunt's developing relationship has a tender core; and while not an out-an-out action fest, the pivotal set-pieces are as invigorating as the competition.
Oh, and the visuals effects are, put simply, out of this world.
Picture: Warner's release offers 2D and 3D presentations on separate discs, and both serve up home cinema eye-candy, working as a reminder of what the Full HD Blu-ray format can achieve.
It's not searing comic book primaries that grab the attention here, though, but astonishing delineation and fine details. At times there's so much to gawp at (particularly during the recurrent beach battle scenes where sand and water and Mimics are flying everywhere) that you'll want to pause the disc and bathe in the intricacy. Neither edge enhancement or overt film grain (director Doug Liman opted to shoot on 35mm) are an issue.
Black levels are gorgeous, providing a deep contrast to the military greens, grey battle suits and earthy browns on show. And even in the night-time sequences of the final act, it's never impossible to separate man from monster in the darkness.
Stereoscopic fans might be sniffy at the prospect of Edge of Tomorrow's 3D iteration, as it was constructed in post-production. Yet it's worth a watch, as it largely ignores battering your eyeballs with overblown impact in favour of adding noticeable depth to some of the largescale locations (such as the military training arena) and heightening the sense of danger as CG beasties zip around the widescreen image.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: Edge of Tomorrow's original score is largely forgetful, but thankfully the rest of this flick's aural experience sticks in the memory. Released theatrically with a Dolby Atmos mix, home cinema fans have to make do with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 variant, which sparkles in its use of your full speaker array. The LFE channel is liberally employed, be it for slamming artillery or crashing aircraft, and the sound designers run riot with rapid and precise panning effects. The scuttling Mimics are given particular attention, ensuring you'll feel right in the heart of the action. Sterling work.
Audio rating: 4.5/5
Extras: The key extra here is On The Edge With Doug Liman. A 42-minute behind-the-scenes doc, it makes a great accompanying piece, focusing on Liman's by-the-seat-of-his-pants shooting ethos and covering everything from set design and casting to stunt co-ordination and script development.
In addition, there are two short featurettes highlighting the weaponry and creature design, a bunch of deleted/alternate scenes (some in pre-viz form) and a linear run-through of the beach attack.
Extras rating: 3.5/5
We say: A cracking sci-fi adventure, that you'll want to watch more than once, given a superior BD package
Edge of Tomorrow 3D, Warner Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £28 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 4.5/5
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