It’s time for another round of book vs. movie! This time, it’s The Edge of Tomorrow and All You Need is Kill.
I knew The Edge of Tomorrow wasn’t going to be exactly like the book it was based on, All You Need is Kill, but the book seemed like it was made to be a movie, so I was looking forward to the visual representation. Rita, the female lead in the book, is also one of the strongest women I’ve ever read about in a book written by a man and I was excited to see her on the silver screen.
However, Hollywood let me down in a way that only Hollywood can. I’m going to dissect the movie in three parts- first, the overall plot, second, the changes from the book, and third, the representation of the characters.
The movie changed the plot much more than I would have thought necessary. The movie changed the entire premise of the story. In the book, the mimics have the ability to send out a signal to what the movie calls “alpha” units, which enable the mimics to predict what will happen in the battle and win. Kiriya is caught in the loop because he becomes the antenna that replaces the mimic that he killed. When they kill the mimic sending out the signal, the “server” the loop is ended. In the movie, the blood of the mimic enables Cage to feel the signals from a powerful “omega” alien source. If he loses his blood however, the cycle is ended. Cage must race to kill the omega before he loses too much blood. Once the Omega is killed, the war is basically won, whereas in the book, there are servers and antennas for each unit of mimics. What this basically means is that Cage is able to win the war in one fell swoop, while Kiriya must work hard to train others and eliminate the enemy in a fierce ongoing battle.
Changes from the Book
There are so many changes from the book- most of which made no sense at all. I’m not going to talk about the changes to Rita here, because she deserves her own section for that.
Basically, in the movie, Cage is a high-powered officer who got trapped in a war he didn’t want to fight. He tried to desert, and his punishment is fighting on the front lines.
As mentioned before, the mimic system is entirely different, which makes the actions of Cage more epic. I could forgive that, because movies love heightened drama and quick solutions, but the way they went about it was ridiculous. The movie tried to be a heist film, a science fiction film, a military film, and a drama all at once. The result was an in-cohesive mess of a story. Included in this movie were:
- Two car chases
- A romantic firelight scene
- A high-security heist
- Multiple fighting montages
- Lame sex jokes
- Actions that defied all laws of physics
- Pointless bring-along characters (Cage decides he needs his squad to help defeat the Omega, but when they get there, almost all of them die or become injured)
- A time-reset that negates the entire movie
- A pointless helicopter ride
- A pointless journey into the country
The main character changes were for Kiriya and Rita, but there were others as well. For example, my favorite character, Sergeant Ferrell, was nearly non-existent in the movie. In the book, he was responsible for most of Kiriya’s training and was the one who allowed him to fight differently from the rest of the unit.
The other minor character change that really bothered me was Rita’s sidekick. In the book, she is a woman named Shasta, and she is the engineer behind the weapons that Rita and Kiriya use. In the movie, her character is changed to a man, and his role is underground mimic researcher, because apparently the government got mad when he tried to research the mimics and work to win the war (?!).
The differences between Kiriya/Cage I mainly mentioned before- in the movie, he is frankly a douche from start to finish.
Now, poor Rita. She gets so abused in the movie. In the book, she is a strong character and without her, Kiriya would not have been able to get as far as he did. He spends most of his fighting hours observing her and gets Shasta to make him a similar weapon. She is a revered character in the book.
In the movie, she is given the name “the angel of Verdun” because she was able to win the battle there. However, aside from the training she gives Cage, she is practically worthless. For example, rather than defeating the enemy in Verdun, she was unable to reach the Omega in time, which means she failed to accomplish anything important. She rarely speaks to anyone other than Cage, which was particularly noticeable when they were trying to convince the general to give them a receiver that would allow them to locate the Omega. Cage is sitting at the desk with the general, while Rita is sitting at a table behind them, with her shoulders hunched forward, her hands between her legs, and her feet together. She doesn’t say a word here.
This is only one example of how far the movie goes to “put women in their place.” During each battle, Rita is basically helpless and Cage spends most of his time guiding her with his hands out of danger. Apparently, without Cage, Rita would die within seconds, despite her superior battle training.
In another incident, Cage tells Rita to get a car for them to drive (because they have to drive from London into the country to locate the Omega), and make sure to unhook the trailer so they can escape faster. What does Rita do? Of course, she forgets to unhook the trailer. Those women, they can’t do anything right!
To see a woman who I hoped would be a strong co-star in the movie get relegated to female sidekick (and a rather terrible one at that) was insulting to me. Is it really that threatening to male viewers to see a woman in a powerful position? And how absurd is it that men are considered to have such fragile egos that a woman with more skills, knowledge, and power is deemed “too strong” to exist in a form of entertainment.
At the end of the day, Rita plays no role in Cage’s ascent to victory. He kills the Omega all on his own, and it isn’t the training she gave him that helped him get there. To add insult to injury, in the new reset day after killing the Omega, Cage meets Rita in the training room and they lock eyes as if they are instantly falling in love.
I would like to point out here that, A. Cage is a douche, and B. that Rita would have no cause to look at him with longing since she has no memory of their adventures together.
All in all, to say that I was disappointed in this movie would be a vast understatement.
When will women be allowed to have strong leading roles in movies? Why does an alien movie need a car chase? When will the stereotype that women can’t drive die out? Why can’t movies follow rules that are close to actual physics? Why was it so easy for Cage to die when he had endless lives, but as soon as he was down to his last one he became invincible? Do men really have to diminish women to feel worthy as people?
What did you think of The Edge of Tomorrow? Share your thoughts with me!