Last Sunday, Kara and I went to see “Edge of Tomorrow,” which turned out to be an outstanding flick. And for most of the people I know, I’ll add “even though Tom Cruise was in it.” Though, c’mon … he’s actually a good actor. You’re reacting to his life crazies, right? I get that.

Emily Blunt reprised her role of “woman in a time travel movie” for this film, and I think she did a fabulous job.

The thing that really impressed me about this movie, though, was the fact that I never heard a single thing about it. I didn’t know it even existed until a week prior to seeing it in the theater. Now THAT is marketing! If, by marketing, we mean, “Whozzawhatsitnow?”

There wasn’t anything terribly original about this film. It’s not going to set new rules for filmmaking. It could easily be boiled down to 1:1 comparison of other films, a sort of “It’s X with Y” format.

“It’s Grounhog Day with aliens.”

“It’s Pearl Harbor with time travel.”

“It’s a time travel movie with Emily Blunt.”

The film is based on a Japanese novel called “All You Need is Kill,” which you have to admit is a a much cooler title than “Edge of Tomorrow.”  Seriously … “Edge of Tomorrow” is a very Heinlein kind of title, with a sort of 50s scifi-retro feel. That could turn some folks off. But I’d see “All You Need is Kill” without so much as seeing a trailer, because yes yes. 

Speaking of Heinlein — that’s exactly what this felt like to me. It had the flavor of a Heinlein story. It had a bit of grit to it, without going over the top. The military aspect had a certain realism, even though it made the whole enterprise look like a Mafia play. The aliens were the sort of Heinleinian (consider that coined) fare that you’d expect — strange, unknowable, dangerous, relentless. 

As a time travel story, there are problems with the film. But who cares? I haven’t seen an “authentic” time travel movie in my life. Have you? 

But what made the movie work in spite of a flawed scientific leap was the fact that the central character starts off as a creep, and slowly becomes a hero. We get to see a real bit of character development. It feels earnest and genuine. Also, Emily Blunt is there. Seriously, does she own a copyright on time travel?

If you haven’t seen it, do. And if you’ve read the novel it’s based on, tell me about it. I’m interested, and I’d love to see how the film stacks up (and vice versa).

I give a score of ...

I don’t really have an official “scale,” but if forced to make up one on the spot I’d say I give “Edge of Tomorrow” a Wordslinger 9 out of 10. 

Someday I’ll have a scale. 

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at


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