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Feature


The epic action of Edge of Tomorrow unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world.  Major William Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop—forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again… and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. (Taken from the official synopsis.)

Video


Warner Brothers’ presentation of Edge of Tomorrow is almost everything you’d expect from a recent big-budget, Tom Cruise action vehicle. I didn’t see the film in 3D theatrically, purely because of the timing of the screening I attended, but I remember being impressed by the polish of the 2D visuals. The same is true here, with the Blu-ray almost perfectly replicating the pristine look of the digital theatrical screening. There’s plenty of fine detail on show, the stylised, desaturated colour palette remains strong, and the excellent contrast lends great depth. If there were any digital artefacts I didn’t notice them, and all things considered the 2D image is about as good as can reasonably be expected.

This leads me onto the 3D, which is where the problems begin. I’ve read some quite positive reviews of the film’s post-converted 3D presentation but, while I’m not taking an entirely contrary position, I’m not as convinced. In all honesty I didn’t really feel that the 3D added anything to the film in the way that it does with something like, say, Avatar, where the extra dimension is an integral part of the storytelling. Here the 3D seems to be more of a case of the filmmakers doing it because it’s en vogue, rather than a natural evolution. I could live with that if the 3D itself was flawless, but unfortunately it isn’t. My display is generally impeccable when it comes to 3D, rendering rich, crosstalk-free images that look simply marvellous. No such luck with Edge of Tomorrow, which has more crosstalk than every other 3D feature in my collection combined. Now I realise that it’s supposed to be display dependant, but I gather that quite a lot of people have had the same experience, so it seems to trip up a lot of displays. I also felt that the image lost some of its punch in the move to 3D, with the 2D presentation offering richer colours and deeper blacks.

Of course this isn’t to say that you should discount the 3D version entirely, as the added dimensionality is sporadically impressive, but I honestly found the 2D image to be the more satisfying of the two. The score on this page takes both versions into account.

Audio


Whatever my misgivings about the 3D presentation, I have no such reservations about the film’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. It’s a ballsy, full-bodied track that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and doesn’t let go. With the inclusion of 7.1 audio on this and the forthcoming Godzilla it would seem that Warner has learned its lessons from Pacific Rim, although in the interests of full disclosure I’m still running a 5.1 configuration…

All available channels are used to deliver a mix that places you right in the centre of the alien-busting action, with efficacious movement of the effects and dialogue relative to the listening position. The front and rear left/right channels combine to produce a smooth, immersive experience filled with the sounds of raging battles and subtle atmospherics, with the most impressive sequences occurring during the Normandy beech landings. The shrieking mimics rending through soldiers as they dart across the sand; the fiery bursts from the integral weapons of the mechanised exoframes; the flaming debris raining down from the exploding drop-ships… All of these elements combine to produce a perfect storm of sound that can’t fail to impress.

This action is accompanied by some potent LFE, and although it’s not quite as earth-shattering as some recent tracks it lends more than enough weight to the numerous explosions. The characters’ dialogue is always perfectly clear, even during the most ferocious of action scenes, save for those moments when it is intentionally allowed to become indistinct for dramatic effect. There’s not really much more to say. This is a demo-worthy track that should please even the most demanding of audiophiles.

Extras


Warner has included a modest collection of bonus material with this release, of the sort that often accompanies recent blockbuster features. If you haven’t already guessed, that’s code for ‘lightweight and fluffy’.

  • Operation Downfall
    • Adrenaline Cut: This featurette stitches footage from Cage’s various attempts to storm the beech together into one long sequence.
    • Storming the Beach: This featurette includes cast and crew interviews and touches on things like the film’s WWII aesthetic and the creation of the artificial beech.
  • Weapons of the Future: A short look at the exo-suits worn by Cage and the others during the invasion of Normandy, with a focus on how the tech was made to feel as believable as possible.
  • Creatures Not of This World: This is another short featurette that examines the design of the alien mimics.
  • On The Edge with Doug Liman: This, the longest of the featurettes by quite some margin, is a more complete look behind-the-scenes. It covers a fair bit of ground, such as shooting without a completed script, the realistic approach to the tech, and more. It occasionally strays into ‘Tom Cruise love-in’ territory, but it’s still the most worthy of the disc’s supplements.
  • Deleted Scenes: A number of short deleted scenes are also included, none of which would have improved the feature to any significant degree.

Overall


I liked Edge of Tomorrow, but I’m not as enamoured of it as many other reviewers seem to be. Cruise does action better than most, but the film itself is both narratively and visually derivative of numerous others, evoking thoughts of Saving Private Ryan, The Matrix, Groundhog Day, and Elysium to name but a few (not to mention novels, comics, and games). It’s an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, but after this, my second viewing, I can’t see myself returning to it very often.

Thankfully those of you more taken with the film have an excellent Blu-ray package to appease your hunger. Although I found the 3D largely superfluous there are one or two ‘cool’ moments and the experience is generally enjoyable. However, it’s the standard two-dimensional outing that really delivers the goods, offering up a nigh-on perfect audio-visual presentation of this summertime blockbuster.  The bonus material isn’t anything special, but it’s about par for the course on new studio features these days, so I can’t be too hard on it for that. Edge of Tomorrow comes recommended.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray and have been resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking the individual images, but due to .jpg compression, they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

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