Movie Review: The Edge of Tommorow

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Living a life as a media focused Officer has it’s perks for Mr. Cage. He can talk about all the glory of war, without ever having to set foot on a battlefield. Happy in this safe and affluent place, he balks when the Commanding General tells him that he will be leading the troops on the final invasion. Cage refuses, again and again, and so he is declared a deserter, by the general of course.

Stripped of rank, title, and dignity, former Officer Cage wakes up to an Officer’s screams “Get up Maggot!” And is promptly escorted to the barracks where he will prepare with other well trained soliders to make a last stand. A stand against an alien invasion force that has all but wiped out Europe. One problem- Cage has never seen combat in his life, much less active in the mech suits everyone has to wear to even stand a chance against these alien creatures.

The invasion starts, and all before it begins, it fails. Miserably. Cage’s Transport is shot down and somehow, his crew makes it to land. Shortly thereafter, they are all killed. Without mercy or even much of a fight. Cage manages to blow one up, before he too falls to the monster’s tentacles…

Cage wakes up to an Officer’s screams “Get up Maggot!”

Live. Die. Repeat.

“Get up Maggot!”

Live. Die. Repeat.

“Get up Maggot!”

Live. Die. Repeat.

Over and over… until one day in battle he has learned to survive long enough to meet Rita, the only officer to successfully defeat an army of these beings. She looks in awed recognition of Cage eliminating almost every enemy without even looking. “Come find me when you wake up.” She says…

“Get up Maggot!”

And the cycle begins anew, this time, with a woman to find, who just might have the answers to his apparent immortality.

Live. Die. Repeat.

Things I Liked

This movie is ultimately about the personal development of Private Cage. In the beginning, he lives a life which is a selfish lie. Once demoted and sent to the barracks, he quickly learns what it means to live the life which he had been advertising for years and years. His initial reaction, he tries to get out of it. But once he gains the ability to die, then live, he finds a cause bigger than himself. He grows in a way where his actions grow less and less selfish, and more and more brave. So by the end of the film, the man who was, is no more. He is changed into a true solider- one of honor, courage, and selflessness.

Perhaps the greatest trait dwelt upon in this film is perseverance of the unimaginable kind. I cannot even fathom what it would be like to experience the feeling of death over, and over and over… That moment of pure and abject fear of the dark, then waking up- knowing you’re going to have to do it again. And again. And again… Watch the people you’ve come to care for die again. And again. And again… We watch Cage suffer from this, yet continue to pursue the answer which will win the war for the world.

Soldiers of all kinds willingly put themselves in harms way for others. Cage also, out of concern for Rita, does not tell her how certain things end.

Things I Didn’t Like

There are two passing remarks in regards to sexual innuendo, which is immediately shut down and not allowed to go anywhere. We also hear about one solider going in his birthday suit to battle, with the mech suit covering up the more private areas. We do see a good glimpse of his backside though.

Cursing is found a plenty on the battle field- about a dozen profanities in all, and Rita is called a full metal B——, God’s name and Christs name is used in vain six times.

Violence in the film was something perplexing in some ways, as you watch soldiers die over and over, then watch them again live again and again, the loss or value was quite a bit diminished. Even in the end, one wonders if in the last battle if the soldiers did really die. Or if everything was reset once again. Regardless, we do see those “deaths” happen over and over. While this film does lack (thankfully) in gore or blood, it makes up for in intensity. The shots and deaths are blurred, close up, and fast. Men are “killed” every kind of way in the battlefield- blown up, impaled, crushed… the list goes on. We don’t see many of these, due to the fact the camera is so jumpy and barely stays in one place.

Cage is killed by aliens numerous times, blown up several times, and even shot by Rita to restart the day and begin anew after he is injured. He also kisses Rita.

Closing Thoughts

Battle is the Great Redeemer. It is the fiery crucible in which true heroes are forged. The one place where all men truly share the same rank, regardless of what kind of parasitic scum they were going in.
~Sergent Farell~

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt take the stage in this futuristic, sic-fi, action thriller. What was advertised as a time traveling and war filled flick actually has a remarkably fresh story with some solid character development to boot. While this is certainly no deep film, there are a few rounds here and there worth firing off and watching them hit their mark.

Gotta say though, the backside of a solider and smatterings of coarse and crude languages was quite distracting and degraded the film quite a bit. It distracted from the story of a fearful campaigner turning into a servant hearted solider, and was not appreciated. Honestly “The Edge Of Tomorrow” sits on the edge of greatness. The characters  and story are compelling, the messages sound, but there isn’t enough there to take it from that edge.

So while Cage did indeed Live. Die. Repeat…

While I Live, I don’t see myself Repeating this one before I Die. Not even Tomorrow.

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Flashback: “I’m stuck with him?!?”

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It was just another Sunday back in 2008. Our family all got up, went to church, and I went up to the youth group like I was supposed to. Even though I disliked it immensely (another post for another day) . As a freshman, I gathered in the appropriate room and prepared myself to face another youth group gathering. There were a few new guys and gals in the room, per usual, they went about introducing them. One of them was named Josiah- clearly a homeschooler. (We can just tell these things) So, when he introduced himself, I of course, was given the task of making him feel welcome, since that homeschool thing labeled him as such.

My gut reaction inside was “What?! I’m stuck with him?!” I wasn’t the friendly sort in that crowd. I had been burned to many times, I wan’t chasing girls, I didn’t play video games, I didn’t care about music that much. Hearing I was to make one of “these people” welcome… Well, let me tell you, it didn’t still well with me. I gave it my best go though, and when in sunday school and afterwards, made it a point to at least make small talk- where he came from, what he enjoyed, etc.

Two things stood out to me in those first conversations. One, that he was an incredible sharp minded dude. He didn’t talk much, less than me actually, but when he did, it was solid and had depth. Two, that he wasn’t a “Typical youth” rather, he was a young man who had purpose and who had a foundation rooted in Christ. The conversations we had were actually serious, and we had several shared interests. I was impressed, to say the least, and we clicked pretty much instantly.

His family eventually joined the homeschooling group, and they joined a different church. We wound up doing almost everything together in high school. He introduced me to TeenPact, which changed my life. We went to Worldview academy, played against each other on different baseball teams. We did all kinds of academic activities, talked about the tough stuff we were trying to figure out, and gave each other a hard time about his CAP neediness, and my Sci-fi Geekery. He became my best friend, and God brought him round when I needed one most.

What’s the point of all that sentimentality?

Well, reflecting on this a few days ago, I just realized (and am still realizing) that even in the most unpleasant settings, at the most random times, God will bring a person or event into your life that will, quite literally, change your life. I just think about what my life would be like had I not engaged “the new guy” in a conversation, if I had just ignored him like most new people were ignored. How much I would have missed and grown in high school, and continue to grow in today.

While I do believe there is no such thing as a “missed” opportunity, there is such thing as an ignored opportunity. Even in the strangest or most difficult settings, when those opportunities arise, don’t ignore them and Don’t pass them by, unless you have really prayed and thought about it. Because honestly, We have no idea what experiences, relationships, or growth will come out of them. I for one, would prefer not to find out.

What things have you learned out of seemingly nowhere? Any rejoicings or regrets? Share them below!

Movie Review: The Giver

the-giver-wallpaperIn the community, rules dictate life. Everything you do, say, and eat is monitored by the elders for the purpose of peace…. And it works. Devoid of emotion, color, or change life continues in the same way day after day after day… Until at the ceremony of graduation, a boy named Jonas is chosen. Chosen to be the next “Receiver of Knowledge” because of his ability to “See Beyond”. To be the only one in the community to experience such things as colors, emotion, and faith. A burden to bear for the good of all.

Jonas soon finds however, that these new feelings are not only beautiful, but to live without them is meaningless. With that knowledge, he decides it is time for a change. A change which will destroy the community, but enlighten those living within it. But first, he must complete his teachings from the former Receiver of Knowledge. Known only as “The Giver”.

Things I Liked

When Jonas begins to experience life as it originally was created to be, with emotions and a release from his vulcan mindset, he begins to experience the three greatest qualities found in mankind. That is- faith, hope, and love. Through the film these three qualities, or, essences of human nature are delved into through past memories and present circumstances. We are shown that love is the most powerful of all. Love is what drives The Giver to help Jonas. Love is what drives Jonas to risk his life so that the community may experience life as it was meant to be. Faith gives him the hope that things could be better, and then, we see him rewarded for those efforts.

Jonas also, because he has been given memories of faith hope and love, commits himself to serving his community in making a way so they may experience what he has experienced. He, in essence, sacrifices his social life, and risks his physical life for the ultimate freedom of the community. He is a character with courage, integrity, and to be applauded for the risks he takes. Jonas’ friends also, even though under the drugs of emotion suppressant, aid Jonas in his task. Loyal to the end, we see some things drugs just cannot remove.

When we are introduced to the community, it is dull, unexciting, and bland. We are shown that emotions are, in fact, things which make humans have humanity. Even in the fallen state in which we live, the gift of emotions help us to live in a manner which is  more natural and beneficial. To remove this, while it would create an temporary artificial state of cooperation. It is by no means something to be pursued.

It was said by one of the Elders “We can’t let people choose, for when humans choose- they always choose wrong.” I think this is one of the best quotes found in the movie. The elders recognize man’s fallen and erroneous state completely. No one in the film is claiming they are good, or perfect. Rather, we see leaders making decisions, albeit flawed, to suppress mankind’s nature through chemicals so that they might make choices which are better for the community, and not selfish.

Things I Didn’t Like

Jonas and a girl named Fiona kiss secretly, because to do so is against the community rules.

Some of the memories The Giver provides Jonas are painful an violent. We are shown poachers slaughtering elephants, and later we are snapped into a violent war where we see men shooting each other up, and then we, with Jonas, watch a man die as the light leaves his eyes.

Jonas punches one of his friends.

At one point, we see people “released” which is another word for euthanasia, or allowed murder. It is a terrible and gut wrenching thing to watch, made even worse by the fact it is mindlessly celebrated by the community.

Closing Thoughts

“The ability to see beyond is Faith.”
~The Giver~

This movie is based on a book written by “Louis Lowry”. Enjoying the book immensely, I’d been looking forward to the release of this film as the story was so good. The trailers concerned me however, because it set the feel as an intense action thriller, rather then a reflective pondering on humanity. I can say with relief though, that the movie captures the essence and feel of the book about as perfectly as an adaptation can. Everything of importance is included, and some extra character development of Jonas’ friends are thrown in too. Take confidence, if you loved the book, you’ll enjoy the sameness found in the movie.

Rarely does a film these days show up with such messages and themes that make you sit through the whole credits thinking… Wow. The Giver is a movie such as this. Capturing essential  and hard questions about humanity, and then giving solid answers which will make you think and dwell upon. Things like the power and necessity of Faith, Hope, and Love- then showing the greatest of these is indeed Love. Exposing the true nature of humanity, yet also capturing the beauty of our condition.

We see simply, when man tries to suppress God given gifts in order to live in perfection, the result is a dull and lifeless survival. Void of anything worth living for. The Giver takes this “ideal society” and through a young man named Jonas, shows the flaws in a clean, original, and memorable way. Full of humor, suspense, and ponderings,  This movie is by far the best of 2014 in my opinion. One worthy of commendation and praise, as it gives far more than memories.

How about you? Have you seen this film? What did you think? Let me know!