Saturday at the 2013 International Comic-Con in San Diego was a big day for Warner Bros., as the studio presented several upcoming blockbusters, in addition to teasing some major geek cinematic events down the line. That included a teaser for the World of Warcraft movie adaptation – simply titled Warcraft – and the formal announcement that Batman and Superman will team up in the Man of Steel sequel.
Godzilla, Seventh Son, 300: Rise of an Empire, Gravity and The Lego Movie all debuted new material at the WB panel, before it was time for the first footage from Edge of Tomorrow: an adaptation of the Japanese sci-fi novel All You Need Is Kill (the movie’s previous title), starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.
Blunt and Cruise took the Hall H stage to introduce the never-before-seen footage, where they were accompanied by director Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Jumper) and co-writer Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher). Paxton, who had been sitting among the 6,500 Hall H audience members, eventually joined them onstage, along with one final addition: Hiroshi Sakurazaka, who wrote the original All You Need Is Kill book.
The cast and crew revealed that Edge of Tomorrow takes place in the near future, where a global conflict – one which involved an extraterrestrial invasion in the source novel – has broken out. Cruise plays Bill Cage, a military PR man who winds up being forced into combat and having to don a massive exo-suit for battle. In a Groundhog Day-like twist, Cage is killed in combat and ends up reliving that same day, over and over, which gives him an opportunity to change his fate (and maybe save the world in the process).
The Edge of Tomorrow footage showed a terrified-looking Cruise, while saying (via voice-over) “What I’m about to tell you sounds crazy. But you have to believe me. Your very lives depend on it” and later telling someone “This isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation.” Much of the sizzle reel was composed of scattered action scene glimpses, with soldiers being deployed into battle, chaos in the streets of (London?), and gritty warfare sequences. At one point, Blunt’s character – a deadly soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch in the source material – tells Cruise “You’re a weapon,” after he describes himself as not being a soldier.
Cruise explained to the Hall H crowd that he was attracted to the lead role in Edge of Tomorrow because it’s so different than his usual work; that is, Cage is a sort of clumsy and cowardly pretty boy-type, unlike the many gung-ho protagonists that Cruise has played over the years. He also mentioned that McQuarrie’s script has an unusual narrative structure (which makes sense, given the time-loop storyline).
Paxton added that the film contains much more humor than you might expect, going so far as to say that when Cruise puts on the exo-suit for the fist time, it’s so comical it feels like “something out of a Woody Allen movie” (Allen fans: think the physical comedy in his sci-fi flick Sleeper).
Check out the new Edge of Tomorrow posters, featuring Cruise and Blunt:
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Aesthetically, the Edge of Tomorrow footage had an Oblivion-like polish to the visuals, while the futuristic production design and filmmaking style was reminiscent of District 9 (albeit, with a bigger-budget look).
Story-wise, it’s hard to not make the connection between the Edge of Tomorrow premise – technically, the original All You Need Is Kill setup – and filmmaker Duncan Jones’ sci-fi thriller, Source Code, given the surface similarities in terms of plot and the main character’s arc. Nonetheless, the humor alluded to by Paxton could be a sign that Cruise’s next film will have something of a satirical and ironic vibe to the proceedings, not unlike Starship Troopers.
Edge of Tomorrow opens in U.S. theaters on June 6th, 2014.