On the reinvention of Groundhog Day and a few words from the management
If you leave aside the movie watching that comes with being a parent (when you absorb whatever your child is addicted to from a distance), Groundhog Day is probably the movie I’ve seen most times.
At this point I know every step that Bill Murray takes during the day that he’s doomed to relive over and over again. With any other movie I would have grown tired of by now, but Groundhog Day has that magic that makes it timeless. With one glaring exception, I should add. Andie MacDowell feels like a relic from the 80s that doesn’t quite fit into the modern taste. Frankly I find her annoying. But her presence doesn’t manage to ruin the film altogether, which is an evidence of how good it is.
Coming from this I was a little sceptical when I first heard about the concept of Edge of Tomorrow. As much as I love time travelling and space invasions, it sounded very much like Groundhog Day to me. Did we really need a remake.
It turned out that I was half right about my suspicions. The beginning of the film is certainly quite similar. A man enters a time loop where he for some reason (further explained in EoT than in GD) experiences the same day over and over again from a certain point. Unlike everyone else around him, he’s able to remember and learn lessons from previous iterations.
In Edge of Tomorrow, the reset doesn’t happen when the alarm clock calls; it happens when he dies. And the genre is different. While there are a few smiles and moments of romance, this is not a romantic comedy. It’s a war movie about the fight against an invasion of aliens from space. But the core idea is very much the same: practice makes skill. If you live the same day again and again you’ll get better at doing stuff, either you’re making ice sculptures or killing enemies. And while doing this, you’ll learn things about yourself and develop into better human being. If you’re a jerk you’ve got the chance to get nice. If you’re a spineless coward you might grow into a fearless hero and save the world.
As the movie went on, however, I thought less and less about the origins and when I had come to the end I had stopped making comparisons. About half way through, it goes in a different direction. While they share some of the ideas, Edge of Tomorrow is far more than just a remake. It’s got a soul of its own and I liked it quite a bit.
Perhaps it’s my previous online life as a gamer that comes into play. I watched the movie in company with some Swedish film bloggers and as we made our way to the pub, I burst into a long speech about the pleasures of having your avatar killed repeatedly, resurrecting and trying the same thing over and over again, but with slightly different tactics until you succeed.
To build a movie on game mechanisms is a hit and miss. Sometimes it works; sometimes you end up with something that is just as tedious as it is to watch someone else playing games. But this one is a hit, at least to me. If there’s something to wish for, I would have liked it to be a little bit darker. But then again – I’m Swedish. You all know how we’re wired.
A time-space continuum issue
Finally – you may notice the date of today and look at the previous post and see that it’s been a while since I last served drinks and thoughts about movies in this café. And you’re wondering: where have I been? Last time you heard from me I was heading for Cambodia. Has someone kept me captured for all this time?
Honestly I haven’t any good answer. Spring happened. Time played a joke on me and before I knew it, it had passed. Please don’t ask me for details about what I’ve been up to, because I don’t have any idea of why or how or who or what or when. I just hope it was something that was worth my energy and that it was Very Important. My memory is blank.
I’ll try not to get drawn into one of those time-space-continuum abnormalities once again. I’d rather stay here, throwing out my thoughts about the world of film to anyone who’s up for listening. While I haven’t been blogging for a while, I’ve kept watching movies and I hope that my memory will be good enough to recap at least some of them. The ones I’ve already forgotten where probably not worth remembering anyway.
Cheers everyone! It’s good to be back!
Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman, 2014) My rating: 4/5
And this is what my fellow Swedish film bloggers made of Edge of Tomorrow