5 time-loop films to watch after Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise‘s latest sci-fi blockbuster, Edge of Tomorrow, is out now. Also starring Emily Blunt and Brendan Gleeson, the film sees Cruise as Major William Cage, whose day is reset every time he is killed.
Following the film’s tagline ‘Live. Die. Repeat’, Cruise comes back again and again, each time learning that little bit more about how to defeat the invading alien Mimics. As well as learning the exact movements and footwork needed to avoid getting killed, he must go through the same introductions and conversations with comrades over and over again, to great comic effect.
It’s a funny, brilliant film, and Tom Cruise hasn’t been better in years. (See our review here.)
Here we take a look at some of the other times we’ve seen time travel or do-overs in a similar fashion – and the links some of them have to Edge of Tomorrow.
Source Code (2011)
Duncan Jones’ Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga, explored the idea of repeating the last 8 minutes of someone else’s life. Gyllenhaal’s Colter Stevens dies on duty in Afghanistan, but comes back to live the last few minutes of someone else’s life in order to prevent an explosion. Not given as much time as Cruise gets in Edge of Tomorrow, Gyllenhaal doesn’t learn whole new skills, but must instead learn a tiny bit more information each time to prevent a bomb going off and find out who was responsible. It’s a gripping and clever sci-fi film, despite a slightly underwhelming ending. In many ways this is the film most similar to Edge of Tomorrow on this list.
Groundhog Day (1993)
If you want to take on a near-impossible task, try to find a review of Edge of Tomorrow without a mention of Groundhog Day.
Groundhog Day has quite rightly become an all-time classic, and is the daddy of repetition. Written and directed by the sadly passed Harold Ramis, Bill Murray stars as weatherman Phil Connors who relives Groundhog Day again and again. Like in Edge of Tomorrow, in this repeated time he gets long enough to learn whole new skills, over time, but instead indulges in hedonistic pursuits and attempts suicide numerous times before learning from it to make him a better person.
Looper saw a world where people are sent back from the future to be killed. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Joe, a hitman who kills these people – to ‘close the loop’ – sent back to him when one day his older self, played by Bruce Willis, is put in front of him. Edge of Tomorrow’s Emily Blunt also stars. In this, the whole body goes back in time, instead of just their consciousness, meaning two versions of people exist at the same time. This means we see conversations and confrontations between Joe and Old Joe. We see how the actions of the younger selves affect the older version, such as when a character loses digits and they disappear on the older version. As in Edge of Tomorrow, the fate of the world is in the hands of the younger version, with knowledge of events that haven’t happened yet.
Whilst the plot is hard to summarise in just a paragraph, the film is well worth watching.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The best of the Harry Potter films, the third instalment had an element of a time-loop thanks to the time-turner. Harry and Hermione got to go back and help their own selves (and save a hippogriff!). We see their present selves go through events, then later see how it was their future selves that actually saved them – throwing rocks, howling like wolves, freeing Buckbeak and creating a Patronus. But perhaps the best part of this was Hermione getting to say ‘is that really what my hair looks like from the back?!’. Edge of Tomorrow’s General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) appears in later instalments.
About Time (2013)
In Richard Curtis’ About Time (which wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea), the time-loop is played for comedy and romance. In this, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson – son of Edge of Tomorrow star Brendan) can travel back in time and change what happens in his own life. As is often the case in movies involving time travel, changing things isn’t as easy as you might think, and one thing can undo something else. Tim attempts to win the girl of his dreams. Whilst not as good as Curtis’ earlier films, and not a patch on Groundhog Day, this is a sweet and watchable movie.
These are the films that perhaps have the most similarities to Edge of Tomorrow, or have links to it, but there are any number of other films that deal with time loops – Donnie Darko and 12 Monkeys definitely deserve a mention, Wolverine’s consciousness recently went back to his body during the 1970s in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and we haven’t even mentioned the best time travel series of all time – Back to the Future. We also see do-overs, not necessarily through time travel, in 50 First Dates and The Butterfly Effect. It’s a concept that will undoubtedly continue to fascinate the movie-going public forever.
Edge of Tomorrow is in cinemas now.