Long, long after I initially decided to do this, I’m finally posting something about it. I’m going to be breaking this down a bit in terms of what I’m covering. Because of the nature of the thing this is going to be full of spoilers, so, you know:
All You Need is Kill: I covered this in my review, the book is a decent, solid piece of genre fiction. It isn’t the best thing out there, but it’s also far from the worst.
Edge of Tomorrow: I haven’t reviewed the movie, so this is the first time I’m saying much about it online. It’s a summer blockbuster with more budget than it really needed and enough changes made from the source material that I’m not sure of the reasons behind. It feels less like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt as vehicles to tell the story and more like using the trappings of a story as a vehicle to use Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt to make money. It was entertaining, but it wasn’t good.
Keiji vs Cage:
All You Need is Kill: Keiji starts the book a totally green, untested private who has to grow into a competent soldier over the course of two days with painful deaths as the reset point. He knows the people in his unit at least passingly even if they aren’t used much in the book, little things early on that serve to tell the reader that. The loops change that, locking him in to trying to get a little better each time so he can get out and survive. Keiji can feel more than a little disconnected from the rest of humanity at times due to the time loop, but I feel that he’s shown to be a more or less heroic figure at the end when he takes up where Rita left off and vows to wipe out the Mimics once and for all. He’s been forced to kill the only other person who understands what he’s been through to break the time loops. He’s left an outcast for his actions during the battle, having not only killed Rita but also done tremendous amounts of damage to both the base and his fellow soldiers. The thing is though, even with that, he’s going to keep fighting until the Mimics are gone or it kills him.
Edge of Tomorrow: Major Cage starts the movie seeming just kind of slimy. He’s the guy shilling jackets to the world, talking about how they let someone as inexperienced as Rita Vrataski fight the Mimics and win. He’s a media suit with respectable rank who, when told he’s being sent to the front lines, jumps from trying to weasel his way out of it to trying to blackmail the General giving him his orders. Cage isn’t a character I can really believe as keeping fighting after the first couple of loops, he’s the guy who thinks he can talk his way out of anything even as he digs himself in deeper and deeper. Meeting Rita could be a tipping point there, he doesn’t become more heroic or anything like that, but he has a goal to work towards. He finally sacrifices himself to kill the omega, ending the war and saving humanity, but even that winds up ringing hollow.
All You Need is Kill: The Mimics in the book are these drowned frog looking things that were sent out by another more advanced race to teramorph the Earth and make it habitable for them. So they look a little doofy, but they eat dirt and poop poison and when one dies so do all of the humans in the area unless they’re wearing proper protective gear. It’s kind of cool. They all look the same, but the ones that out put the signal to cause the loops stand out somehow. It isn’t really covered how they’re identified, though it is revealed that if that one is killed the signal will switch to another mimic. So they keep that going and win anyway, unless a human gets caught up in it and keeps fighting until they manage to kill the signal mimic and all of the others that the signal could bounce to.
Edge of Tomorrow: I’m going to admit, the mimics in the movie look way more intimidating than drowned frogs, but they also seem to have replaced the just creepy poisonous innards with just speed and strength. The movie also added two other types of mimics, a sort of alpha that has the time loop signal in it’s blood somehow and an omega mimic that sits and directs all of the others. The alpha types I get, in a more visual medium it’s necessary to show that the signal mimics are different from the others. The omega type just bothers me, it only exists so that the movie can have a clear cut happy ending. The movie’s mimics also have to bleed on someone for the loops to pass on to them, so that’s different, but it also just seems to be there to make sure that the ending is happy enough.
All You Need is Kill: Book Rita is the Full Metal Bitch, and she earns the title from her first appearance onwards. She turns up as Keiji is dying and makes meaningless small talk so that, when he kicks it, she can take the battery from his Jacket. She distances herself from the other special forces members for thirty some hours prior to every battle, because she needs to distance herself from them in case she winds up in another loop. But she’s also had her jacket painted bright red so that she’s the one the mimics are going after first. She’s a lonely figure, unable to tell anyone about what she’s gone through because they could never understand. When Keiji talks to her about the loops for the first or second time, she cries because she isn’t alone anymore. She connects to him in that one day because he gets it. The next day is the final battle of the book, she figures out why the loops continued after the two of them had killed the right mimics the last time, and she goads Keiji into a one on one duel because she knows one of them has to die to end it. This is honestly something I had really wanted to see in the movie, because that would have been awesome.
Edge of Tomorrow: Movie Rita is the love interest, while she does get some really cool moments and is the one to ostensibly teach Cage to actually fight the mimics instead of just trial and erroring his survival, she isn’t as big a deal as book Rita is. Part of this could be that we don’t really see the people in charge reacting to her like we do in the book, but I honestly thing that a bigger part is that she’s mostly there as a mix of the love interest and exposition. Cage doesn’t wind up broken because they never win. He gets broken by never being able to save Rita at the helicopter, no matter how many times they go through it or what he does, so he stops going to her for help until he realizes that the mental images he was being sent were a trap by falling head first into it. The movie itself goes out of its way to give them semi-romantic moments because Cage is written as falling for her, the bit before her heroic sacrifice in the final loop is the worst offender. They also made her British instead of American for the movie and got rid of most of her back story. She really didn’t get a part of the movie where she was the hero instead of Cage.
All You Need is Kill: Keiji is out of his time loop and the battle is won, but Rita is dead and the mimics are still out there. So he winds up with the American Special Forces to be their new weapon against the mimics. The book ends with him essentially vowing to Rita that he’s going to keep fighting and planning what he’s going to do to keep going. It’s sort of bitter sweet. I honestly really like this because the main character’s victory isn’t the be all end all win for humanity. It’s a big win, but it isn’t THE win.
Edge of Tomorrow: It was all a dream. The mimics mysteriously died before Cage even gets to meet the General and humanity is saved. None of the sacrifices mean anything because they never happened. No one but Cage remembers anything because it never happened. There is no continuing threat to be overcome. Nothing. The omega is dead, it’s blood got on Cage’s body before he finished dying. Everyone lives and Cage, now a Major again and out ranking her, goes to find Rita because he’s fallen for her. End film on Cage giving a little smirk. I don’t like this for all sorts of reasons. Again, the sacrifices mean nothing in this ending so why should I care? Cage doesn’t seem to have learned anything except maybe that he can get out of even that and, hey, Rita’s still alive this time. That bit kind of plays to my issue of Rita seeming to have been down graded to love interest. She doesn’t know him, has never met him, is out ranked by him, and without the mimics as a threat there really isn’t a reason for them to get to know each other beyond his having a thing for her. He holds all the cards here, she’s never met him but he knows all this stuff about her. It’s weird for me, but the movie presents it as part and parcel of the happy ending, bad guys are dead and the hero gets the girl.
I liked All You Need is Kill, it was sparse and kind of dark and even where there was hope there was still further to go. Edge of Tomorrow,I liked OK, but it was less intelligent and more explosions and Cage getting shot in the face that made it fun. I hands down don’t like Cage as a character and I don’t like how they handled Rita, but I did like the design for the mimics and the fight scenes were pretty awesome. I’m gonna say that the book wins this one but that I would watch the movie again if it was on TV and I didn’t have anything better to do.