Management: Unlike more formal entries, this post is just me kind of freewheeling some hate I’ve worked up on something or other. I intend they be civil, but they are rants. They are demonstrably more passionately accusatory towards something or someone, but the points I’ll make will at least be coherent. I won’t do these on a regular basis. They’ll just spontaneously spring to life one day in a conversation, and I’d rather at least the reasonableness, if not the rhetoric, of my sentiments aren’t forgotten.
Initially, my impressions of Edge of Tomorrow after having watched the film were fairly positive. For a plot that revolved around a time loop, it’s always a congratulatory thing for such media to avoid demonstrable tedium, nicely paced and balanced between epic action spectacles and hilariously morbid slapstick.
The two main characters were affable, if a tad simple in archetype, and I felt, while there was chemistry between them, the limited on-screen intimacy (less making out and sexy times and more sharing interests and memories) between them, outside of montages and references to intimate moments that occurred in some other loop we haven’t seen, hurt my ability to identify emotionally with their plight and drive the drama to a higher tier, with the limited amount of run-time allotted to movies, I think this one was a job well done.
Edge of Tomorrow also enjoyed financial and critical success upon general reception. It made me excited, considering the movie was adapted from a light novel, from Japan, of all things. What with (at the time of this post’s) the recent theatrical releases of Pacific Rim and Godzilla and an upcoming Western live-action adaptation of Monster, I was excited. I fervently hoped it opens the door for more mainstream Western acceptance of the medium of anime. Having said that, my feelings towards the film, or rather, the people who produced the film, who I will generally refer to collectively as Hollywood, are now a lot more ambivalent after reading the manga for All You Need Is Kill, which was also adapted from the same light novel.
Hollywood, especially during summer, the season of blockbusters caters to an audience, mainstream Americans. They generally escapism from their media. They generally want happy endings. They want to leave from theaters with the confirmation that they’ll be able to sleep easy at night. Hollywood made tons of liberal changes, starting with a change in title. I personally believe the manga, a more faithful derivative of the light novel was better, more thematically significant with better written, relatable, characters. They felt more human to me because they were made flawed, with themes of revenge and survival coming out of the narrative in much fuller force. All You Need Is Kill is an apt title that way, representing how the aggregate strain of endless warfare can lead to a emotionally distant “kill ’em all” sort of mentality on the battlefield. All You Need Is Kill provided more intimate grounding for me in apparently one day than it did through every single loop in Edge of Tomorrow.
And you know what? I was actually fine with these changes. I’m of the belief that adaptations don’t have to follow their source materials that strictly. It’s not like Edge of Tomorrow didn’t have its own strengths, most notably present in the two main characters not being overpowered as all hell. To be honest, I’m well. I really am so long as they follow them at least in some general spirit. It might not stand up as hot to some other iteration, but movies in general should be judged by their own merits. And through it all, as aforementioned, they made a pretty well executed and pretty entertaining movie in the end.
Well, rip out my heart and shove it down my neck, this adaptation ripped the soul out of the source material. Never mind not keeping the themes, the movie didn’t even keep the source material’s general tonal orientation. The movie ends with everyone surviving, the world being saved, and the guy likely getting the girl. Cliche, sure, but not egregious to me. The manga, on the other hand, ends in tragedy.
They turned a tragedy into an ultimately feel-good flick. And I’m pissed. I’m really pissed they did that. I’m pissed that even something as legitimately well-written as this movie is being held back by Hollywood producers who think their audience have to be swaddled and pacified.
So I’m stuck in this dilemma where I can’t merely like both, but personally like the former more over the latter or visa-versa. I have to love one and hate the other. Actually, forget that. I think they’re both fine stories. I might not like Edge of Tommorrow as much as All You Need Is Kill, but I’m not going to hate it. No, I hate what Edge of Tomorrow stands for. It stands for Hollywood, and Hollywood sucks.