Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the ending?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Holdfast, May 30, 2014.

  1. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So, just watched Edge of Tomorrow.

    Pretty fun, sort of like Groundhog D-Day or playing through a sci-fi version of Medal of Honour. Cruise's best movie in years, for sure. Lots of funny little touches throughout and all the cast play their respective roles with the perfect amount of tongue-in-cheek awareness. The way the story develops plays up the video game "reset" angle beautifully; the scene where they sneak into Whitehall could have been lifted straight out of a stealth game. It was also entertainingly refreshing to have the UK setting, even if the choice was probably made only to really drive home the WWII parallels.

    But the ending? Well, not what I would have chosen but actually I don't mind it in terms of the outcome. But what I don't get HOW it works, in-universe.

    Spoilers, obviously....

    So, Cage blows up the Omega and gets the blood on him, restoring his reset power. And this time, whether deliberately or not, he wakes up the back on the helicopter travelling to Trafalgar Square instead of at the base at Heathrow. So far, OK.

    But then, for some reason, when he lands, Omega is already destroyed. How?

    Cage seems pleasantly stunned by this development, so it's not like he already time-travelled even further back to do it the day before. The only explanation I can think of is that Omega somehow exists across time & space, so destroying it at any point erases it throughout... but then surely the whole invasion wouldn't have happened?
    I know I'm overthinking a popcorn movie, but it actually held together very well until the very last minute and is pretty entertaining, so if there's an answer that explains it, I'd love to know!
     
  2. Tom

    Tom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end


    I thought that comes out next week?
     
  3. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored That's not... ahhhh... logical, man Moderator

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    The movie doesn't come out here in the States until June 6th, which is rather appropriate when you think about it with the futuristic D-Day-style crossing the Channel invasion in the film. I'm not reading the spoilers yet, but I'm really looking forward to this, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, even with an ambiguous ending.
     
  4. Bisz

    Bisz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    One of the few movies this summer I am looking forward to. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.
     
  5. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Oh, I didn't realise it wasn't out in the States yet. Well, maybe some of you will come back to the thread once it is, and enlighten me then!! :)

    I read a positive review of the movie in the paper over lunch, so decided to take the afternoon off and go watch. First time I've gone to the cinema in years, actually. The theatre wasn't packed, but there were a decent number for a matinee showing and the overall crowd response was pretty positive I'd say. There are definitely several points where there was prolonged genuine laughter at some of the dark humour.

    Don't worry about my sightly ambivalent feelings about the very last minute of the film. It's not a story-breaker by any means, more of an addendum that led to a fridge logic moment on my part on leaving the theatre.

    There are some parts of the movie that didn't work quite as well as others, but I won't go into them because I don't want to spoil it. Overall, I think most people will enjoy it, in very solid grade B way. It's not home run brilliance, but it's way better than most summer blockbusters* in terms of having a story worth telling as well as the usual SFX and the fact that the story is engaging is largely down to Cruise's willingness to start off the movie being a very non-Cruise sort of character and play that honestly. The dude always gets a lot of stick, but when he wants to, he knows how to use his screen presence very well indeed.

    ( *certainly way better than the dreadful-looking Transformers trailer before the film. I weep for the awesome Transformers franchise that could have been... )
     
  6. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    I saw the movie this evening and was pleasantly surprised how good it was for a Tom Cruise action flick (I don't like the Mission: Impossible films, Minority Report, or War of the Worlds). It made good use of the Groundhog Day concept and even took it to a whole new level. I agree that this is one of Tom Cruise's best films in recent years, bolstered by a strong performance from Emily Blunt (but I expected that since I've loved every thing I've seen her in thus far) and very good directing from Doug Liman. He develops the psychological aspect of the situation nicely, although I do wish he went a little further with it and gave us a clearer idea just how long Cage went through the loop (same for Rita). As someone who works in public affairs in the military, I was amused by Cage's demeanor in the opening scenes, especially when he was ordered into combat and tried to turn it down.

    However, there's one thing I really didn't like.

    I'll get to your question in a moment, Holdfast, but first my complaint.

    I was very disappointed that Liman went with the safe ending. I really hoped that the film would end with both Cage and Rita sacrificing their lives to save the world and the world would never know of their sacrifice, both the act itself and the brevity of the act. Instead, we get the latter, but both magically survive by one final reset (oh, the dreaded reset!). The final round of action was heighten for me because Cage and Rita, as well as the viewer, knew the stakes were even higher now. This was their last real chance, no more resets, and yet, that whole sequence becomes moot because of the final reset.

    I was so crestfallen by the final two minutes that I didn't even notice the glaring error you pointed out, Holdfast. Your explanation about Omega being omnipresent is the best I can come up with, but it's not really satisfying.

    I think I'll just pretend the film ends with both Cage and Rita dying, cutting to the news feed of General Brigham proclaiming their mysterious victory. The end. *shrug* :p
     
  7. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    I don't know about that. The ambiguity actually helped make certain scenes work. You know, the long drive, the farmhouse, Whitehall, others. If the viewer knew exactly what the characters had been up to previously, they wouldn't have worked as well either as character pieces or action set-pieces.

    But while we're on a wishlist, I'd have loved to see some (more? can't remember if there was a tiny snippet; I remember Cage talking about her) news footage of the Full Metal Bitch in action in Verdun in the montage at the start!

    That was great; Cruise really sold it too. He bounces off the helicopter brimful of confidence and swagger; Jerry Maguire in uniform. Then suddenly, bang, his world falls apart... and you see it right there on Cruise's face, before he even says a word.

    I know it'll get criticised by some for the tacked-on ending. I can also see why some are suggesting that it's probably a studio/test-audience change and there's a different original ending on the cutting room floor. But you know, I don't mind the final reset. This isn't a movie I'd ever plan to actively rewatch (I'd probably watch it on TV if I happened upon it but I wouldn't seek it out) so within the story you still had all the tension in that final 20 minutes or so. The characters AND the audience both buy into the lack of another reset at the time, so when it eventually happens in the coda, it doesn't take away from the preceding scenes. At least it didn't for me.

    It's only the very last minute, from when Cruise sees the news bulletin in Whitehall that messes it up for me for the reasons in my OP.

    When he woke up in the helicopter, I was actually half-expecting another 10-15 minutes of movie. I thought he'd somehow acquired conscious control of the reset this time, due to it being Omega rather than Alpha blood, and that he'd now find a way of striking the Louvre site in force (perhaps by convincing the general or just making him order a nuke strike on Paris?) the day before the Normandy landings, thus pre-empting the whole original timeline in a much neater way. But no, we just got the news that somehow Omega was still dead, despite it being the day before he killed it. Hmm....
     
  8. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    This movie looks good, can't wait to see it. Between "Jack Reacher" and "Oblivion" I think I'm starting to like Tom Cruise as a movie-star again, this looks like it'll continue along that trend.
     
  9. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    I liked him in Minority Report, War of the Worlds and Oblivion and this one looks real good. I hope he continues to do more Science Fiction!
     
  10. ThunderAeroI

    ThunderAeroI Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Here is hoping for Battlefield: Earth part II
     
  11. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Saw it this morning, overall it's a decent movie and worth a trip to the cinema.
     
  12. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    The ambiguity I loved, especially how when we see them pass the beachfront for the first time and Cage talks about the next phase and its clear they've been through it many times. But what I meant is I wish Cage gave some indication to Rita how long he's been doing it when she asked (or some kind of follow up on the question later on).

    We didn't see any footage because the film was holding back in showing her (aside from the poster and from behind at base) until he meets her on the beachfront.

    It was during that scene that I was thrilled to see Cruise properly acting again. I hadn't seen him act like this since Eyes Wide Shut and I knew this film was going to better than expected. That's how well he sold that scene for me.

    Granted this isn't a Nolan film or even a Dick-esque script, but I really wanted the film to be something more than your average Tom Cruise/Will Smith science-fiction action flick, and it was there. It was completely there right until the very end. Even if we didn't get my dark ending, the reasons you state also drag it down. The inexplicable situation of him jumping back a day earlier and all has been resolved seems to have come out of nowhere, albeit not as badly as Burton's Planet of the Apes.

    I tried looking it up on Wikipedia (although I haven't looked further) but I'm curious how the original novel ended.
     
  13. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Since someone had asked and it doesn't spoil the film because it's different -
    from what I remember, they are both looping and remembering, Rita realises that she has break the loop - she actually has to die - so she dies and they win in Europe by killing the Omega but do not win the war and the Cage character moves forward to the next battle.

    As for a tackled on ending - I don't buy it - it is a summer blockbuster and it was never going to end
    with them both dying in the dirt. The whole point about the set-up is clearly how do they win and both survive
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  14. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    I got thinking about that ending a bit more and have figured out a way to make it work, in-story:

    From what we've seen of the reset, it seems to put things back to the point of last unconsciousness of the person controlling it (in Cage's initial case, when he was tasered).

    Remember that the problem with my original unsatisfying potential solution of Omega existing across time & space was that then the whole invasion would never have happened once it was killed. Well, let's suggest that perhaps it is only omnipresent within its reset "window" i.e. only until the last time it was sleeping (or maybe the mimics work opposite to humans, so it's between periods of it being awake, in that "opened-up" state).

    So when Cage kills it, it wipes out its existence far back enough to reach its own last reset point. If it operates on roughly a 24 hour day, that would put the temporal wipeout of Omega just far back enough to reach the morning of the initial helicopter flight (which, if you think about it, was about a day earlier).

    As for why Cage himself reset to further back beyond his usual spawnpoint, if Omega is deleted from spacetime across that 24hr-ish window, then Cage has no reason to refuse filming the landings (assuming Brigham even needs that now), so Cage is never tasered by the MP in the new timeline. So the earliest period of unconsciousness for Cage within the new timeline would indeed be the helicopter ride to Whitehall!

    Bingo Bongo, job done on both niggles. :)

    Anyway, of course all that is a very arbitrary fudge but it kind of works. Well enough to settle it in my mind pending a more definitive answer.

    This doesn't address any concerns about it from a dramatic impact perspective, but does solve my nitpick!
     
  15. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Yeah, that does work, but I still don't like it. :p

    The novel's ending sounds interesting, but I'm not surprised they didn't go with it for the film.
     
  16. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    The novel ending sounds pretty contrived too from what I've read about it. Perhaps even more so - albeit in a different way - than the movie.

    Dramatically, missing out the final coda in the movie would probably have been the ideal, as you suggest, but as I said upthread, I can take the existing end too.

    More generally, the movie seems to be getting a lot of very positive reviews. More than any other Cruise film I can remember for years, maybe since Collateral or Minority Report. It hasn't had much real buzz until this past week, but maybe word of mouth will keep it going longer than expected.
     
  17. The Nth Doctor

    The Nth Doctor Infinite Possibilities... Premium Member

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Oof! Collateral! I loved him in that and I must correct myself from earlier when I said I haven't seen him act like this since Eyes Wide Shut.
     
  18. BLE019

    BLE019 Cadet Newbie

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    I see the ending as Cage returns to 24hrs before each time he dies, but the last time he is infected with the aliens blood is actually the day before he is infected the first time (The first time being on the beach during the invasion, the second time being the evening before the invasion day) Therefore when he goes back 24hrs he goes back further to when he is asleep on the helicopter and not later on in the day after he wakes from being tassered.

    This makes more sense to me;)
     
  19. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    I've spoiler-coded that for you, so those coming to the thread who haven't seen the movie yet will keep the surprise. You might want to do that for your own post too, if you're feeling suitably nice!

    Anyway, I don't think your explanation works:
    The 24 hour thing crossed my mind, but doesn't work because there are plenty of times Cage dies on the first day, but still returns only to the point of being tasered rather than going 24hrs back to the day before. For example, when he gets squished by the truck while rolling away, or the many times Rita shoots him in the robot training area. All those are on the afternoon of the helicopter ride, mere hours after getting tasered.

    Besides, the attack on Paris is sometime just before dawn of the following day, not the evening before; there's a line where Rita says there are only a few hours before the landings are due to start and only by hijacking the helicopter could they get Paris in time.

    (And - though I might be misremembering this bit - don't we see the rosy fingers of dawn in Paris just after Cage kills the Omega?)

    The timing is part of the reason I had to come up with some more arbitary aspects of the theory I suggested in post #14 in this thread.
     
  20. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Edge of Tomorrow: fun movie but can someone please explain the end

    Just saw it. It may not be part of a big franchise, but it's a pretty good summer movie. Comments so far have covered everything, right down to the video game comparison. The Groundhog Day concept is always fun and this movie really delivers on that front. It starts a tad slow but for a story about a day that repeats itself, it's got a lot of great twists, developments and just the right amount of humor with those requisite false starts and off days. It's a well structured movie. And Tom Cruise really takes you for a ride as he becomes more confident and savvy with each iteration of the same day. Count me in as one who took a little time out to think... Yeah, Tom Cruise still has it.

    As for the ending...

    I figured that Cage would get exposed to more blood and live on by way of one last reset.

    I thought about how the Omega died too and came to the same conclusion you did, Holdfast. It was probably a temporal thing where if you kill it in one time frame, it can die in another. If I overthink it though, it probably won't make much sense, so I'll just leave it at that for now.