Here’s a riddle. The title to the film adaptation of All You Need is Kill was changed to something significantly less bizarre and unique, and the new title was itself exchanged for the home video release, with something bizarre in a new and unexpected direction. So what, pray tell, do we entitle the sequel?
“Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse have been tapped to write the sequel to Tom Cruise and Doug Liman’s sci-fi sleeper hit Edge of Tomorrow. The original film, also starring a buffed-up Emily Blunt, was a surprise and pleasure for many genre fans with its time-bending narrative and stylish chemistry between its leads.”
The riddle should probably regard this new film’s existence, should the creators (largely carried over from the original, including director Doug Liman) see it through. Edge of Tomorrow became a solid case study for “lukewarm box-office reception,” as Entertainment Weekly has it, despite surprisingly positive critical reception, making $369.2M off a hefty budget of $178M. I remember well, pundits drawing a pattern with Tomorrow, noting Tom Cruise’s recent decline as a bankable star. Only Mission: Impossible’s latter day sequels make for hits.
Edge of Tomorrow is one of my favorite science-fiction films from recent times, alongside Jurassic World and Pacific Rim. It was released in 2014, however, which would also see the release of the significantly more ambitious Interstellar. We’re all too quick to perceive Edge of Tomorrow as that ‘compact little thriller,’ but it does come off more like a lark than something like Interstellar. It’s fast and fun, impressive for its cinematic sleight of hand and glorious revision of Emily Blunt’s typical role. (Later attempted by Sicario, which crashed and burned).
Interstellar and Inception are two science-fiction movies that lay out rich scifi worlds, but somehow, under the guidance of Christopher Nolan we assume, stand alone as individual works of artistic expression. No sequel needed, and sequels fundamentally cheapen the original, beyond the general axiom that most are worse than the original.
I can’t even imagine what a sequel to Edge of Tomorrow, or Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, would be, and I’d prefer the original to stand alone with that same integrity. That said, I can’t argue against a prospective film’s existence, like a movie Terminator. Even though commercial Hollywood opens windows of opportunity like slashing an animal’s belly open to hide inside for winter, who knows what might come? Strange, funny, even wonderful things are possible in anything, no matter how lame the origin.
The unlikely saga of a Japanese light novel adapted to an American action film set in Europe continues, and that’s worth a damn by itself. For now, we’ll be waiting to see. On the Edge.