What The Edge of Tomorrow Made Me Realize
This weekend, as a result of an immediate change of plans, I ended up watching Edge of Tomorrow instead of How To Train Your Dragon 2 with my friends. I had no idea what the concept of the movie was, except that it starred Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. While I had no expectations from the movie coming in, I left the theater with more than I paid for.
In Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage of the United Defense Forces. Against his will, Cage finds himself thrust into combat against aliens called Mimics. With no combat experience, Cage dies after trying to kill an Alpha Mimic with a mine, dousing himself with alien blood in the process.
He wakes up the next day, reliving the day of the combat. But it is already familiar to him, having gone through the same day before. He goes to battle along with the other soldiers with the knowledge on how he previously died only to get killed again in a different scenario. He's stuck in a time loop. Fight. Die. Live. Repeat.
He saves Sergeant Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt, in one time loop. Recognizing his ability to anticipate events, Vrataski tells him to look for her when he "wakes up". Cage does and learns that Vrataski had his ability before until it was taken from her due to a blood transfusion. The blood from the Alpha mimic he killed now links him to the alien hive's brain, the Omega, also allowing him to reset the day whenever he dies. Together with the help of Dr. Carter, played by Noah Carter, they devise a plan to find the Omega, kill it, and end the existence of the Mimics once and for all.
The time loop wasn't stressful; it was easy to follow. The movie didn't shove too much action at the expense of the plot, like the last Transformers movie. It's not afraid to poke fun at itself as well, injecting humor with Cage's several death scenes. The film did not lack the element of human emotions. Cage's and Vrataski's growing working relationship was well written that in the end I wanted them both to live. It was a movie that surprised me.
My biggest takeaway from the film was how the time loop was a metaphor for life. Cage gained the ability to reset the day whenever he died so he could continue with their mission and correct his mistakes. How I wish I had that? I couldn't help but think if I did, my troubles and pains would be gone. Any regret of mine would cease to exist.
If I could rewind time, I'd stop myself from the appliance-breaking rant I gave to my sister which put us into a I-see-you-but-you-dont-exist-to-me treatment to each other. Or I would've submitted my code to my team leader first for review before assigning my backlog items to our QA. Or I would've started on my new diet earlier seeing that the results are good so far. Or I wouldn't try to make amends with former friends who betrayed me again. Or I would've... or I would've...or I would've. There can be a list of "I wouldv'e"s but I'm not Cage. I don't have alien powers in my blood. I cannot reset time.
We have mistakes, failures, and regrets in the hidden recesses of our minds and hearts, making us wish we can undo them. We keep a trove of secrets and events we do not want to speak of again, locked in a chest, key stowed away. Yet, if given a chance to correct them through time, I bet you most of us will take the opportunity. But we cannot.
As the time loop went on, I couldn't keep my mind away from that thought. How great would that be if it was possible with me? Life would be easy.
But wait, maybe some people want life to be easy. Not me! Life will be joyless and meaningless without challenges and hurdles along the way. Why would I want to reset the time to correct my mistakes? I was looking at the picture wrong. I didn't want to reset the time. I want to learn from my mistakes.
As the movie went on, Cage became more proficient in combat. He evaded all the incidents that killed him in previous time loops. He was able to clue in Vrataski in what to do and expect in their missions (such as avoiding officers that could recognize her and jeopardize their mission). He even attempted to stop her from piloting a helicopter that would kill her, to no avail. The film became more about what mistakes not to commit instead of resetting time to start over. As a viewer, you wouldn't want them to begin the day again. Instead, you'd want them to carry on their mission.
Mistakes, or experiences as some call it, is vital in our lives. If we don't make mistakes it means we're not doing something or we're not trying something new. Mistakes are life's great teachers. You learn to ride a bike and you fall not once, but many times. But you do it again despite the possibility of falling. As you go on, you become skilled at riding it, you fall less until you fall no more. You learn that leaning to one side over the other is a big don't. You also learn to put one foot on the ground when you stop so you will not topple. You get better at it because of your mistakes.
When the credits rolled, I was very satisfied. I wouldn't spoil the ending for you. It was a great movie. In my imaginative mind, I envy Officer Cage. Who gets to battle aliens in their lifetime? Better yet, who gets the power to reset time? Not you, not me, him. But now that I've reflected on it more, I don't envy him at all. I get to learn from my mistakes without dying. So yeah, Officer Cage, I'll leave the Mimics to Sergeant Vrataski and you.