Two Underrated Movies To Watch Now: Not-Your-Average Summer Blockbuster

Last weekend was a pretty rainy one in Toronto so we decided to head to the cinema before our Summerlicious dinner and catch a matinee. Edge of Tomorrow was still playing so we finally decided to watch it. Awhile back, when the first trailers for the movie hit theatres, I didn’t know if I should give it a shot or not. But after hearing people whose taste in movies I actually trust rave about it, I was pretty excited to watch it.
Basically the premise is Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt re-live the same day over and over again to stop the end of the world; many have dubbed it “Groundhog Day with aliens”. But it is so much more than that. It’s actually based on a book by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. I can’t comment on the differences between book and movie but I can say that the film at least has a very good mystery, lots of action and suspense, a healthy dose of humor and an awesome hero in the form of Emily Blunt. I’ve always liked her ever since The Devil Wears Prada but she is so badass in this movie. She wouldn’t be the first actress to come to mind when casting an action flick but she should be now. Her unreal yoga pose alone is worth the admission price.
The special effects were awesome and so was the supporting cast. But the editing and the pacing of the movie really stood out in my opinion. Over the last few years, I’ve found myself slightly bored of summer blockbusters with their destruction porn and predictable plot. But with Edge of Tomorrow, I was literally on the edge of my seat (see what I did there) for almost the entire movie. And yes, I actually meant “literally” since I had to scoot back a couple of times. While the whole “end-of-the-world-alien-invasion” plot isn’t exactly new, it’s what the movie brought to the genre that’s pretty amazing. It built a world with its own set of rules, with very minor plot holes. It features a compelling team-up that’s devoid of trite romantic elements. Yes, they kiss, but only once, and it’s done in a very realistic way. Even though you see the same day replay over and over again, it doesn’t get old. It adds to the build-up. The repetition actually allows the audience to get to know the characters in an interesting way instead of relying on boring exposition.

But the number one reason that makes this something worth watching is that, for an action movie, it has a lot of heart. And that’s why it reminded me of another summer blockbuster that featured similar elements and was also overlooked in the box office department: Pacific Rim.
Oh, you also skipped that movie last year? Big mistake. Huge. Ok, I’ll give you a pass since I also missed out on it in cinemas. But I did watch it on Blu-Ray and it has got to be hands-down one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen. While Pacific Rim shares an alien invasion, a team-up and an imminent apocalypse with Edge of Tomorrow, they’re both very different in tone, pacing and plot. The former is definitely funnier, flirting with the campy line. Both movies are fun but Pacific Rim is more enjoyable, in my opinion. The supporting cast, which includes Idris Elba, Ron Perlman and Charlie Day, definitely plays a bigger role than J Squad does. But like the team-up of Blunt and Cruise, Hunnam and Kikuchi are the heart and soul of the movie.
Although it is interesting to note that both films ended with their respective teams going in for the big kill and sacrificing themselves in the process. Don’t worry, the world gets saved and they all survive in the end. It’s pretty awesome. But don’t take my word for it, go and watch both of these movies.

There should be a sub-genre of the summer blockbuster for movies that are smarter, funnier, better acted and directed with more depth and heart than the average popcorn flick. I have no idea what we’d call it but I do know that Edge of Tomorrow and Pacific Rim would be on the top of the list.


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