Edge of Tomorrow

Rosetta Selfie with Comet - Photo by ESA-Rosetta-Philae-CIVA

Rosetta Selfie with Comet – Photo by ESA-Rosetta-Philae-CIVA

“Edge of Tomorrow” this summer’s Tom Cruise star vehicle came out on video yesterday. I bought it, watched it and loved it. I have been anticipating its video roll-out almost from the day after it left the theaters. The horrible soap opera like title aside, at its heart “Edge for Tomorrow” is pure science fiction, something that you don’t see unadulterated these days. Critics have been contorting themselves in drawing analogies to this rather unique film with other movies. One of the most popular ones is “Groundhog Day”. Like Bill Murray, Cruise is condemned to relive the same day until he gets it right. This facet is captured in the movie’s tagline, “Live, Die, Repeat”. Earth or more specifically Europe has been invaded by tentacle wielding space aliens called mimics. This name is never really explained, but in retrospect it does make some sense. In appearance they are somewhat reminiscent of the sentinels from “The Matrix”. We soon learn that the mimics are governed by a hive mind as in “Starship Trooper”. There is even an “Aliens” tie-in via Bill Paxton who we find back in military uniform again, battling aliens and about as successfully too.

The movie that “Edge of Tomorrow” pays the greatest homage to though is the historical drama “Saving Private Ryan”. Both movies feature lengthy Normandy beach D-Day sequences. It is no coincidence that “Edge of Tomorrow” opened this summer on June 6th and also on the 70th anniversary of the original D-Day invasion. Both movies portray an Anglo-American alliance poised to liberate prostrate France from evil aggression.

Cruise as Major William Cage is cursed to die endlessly as he tries to find a way off his beach, but this does afford him plenty of opportunity for the on the job training that he badly needs. His chief trainer and costar is Emily Blunt, who plays Rita Vrataski, the so-called Angel of Verdun, think part Audie Murphy, part Sargent York and all bad ass. She was once in the loop too with the mimics, so becomes Cruise’s only sympathetic ear, even if she has to be reminded of this fact every time they meet again and because she accidently lost her looping capability, she is also the one holding the gun to his head and pulling the trigger anytime things go awry, saving Cruise to reboot and fight another day. With her help Tom Terrific eventually learns how to stick his landing and save humanity or for what else is a sequel heaven for?

In counterpoint to all of this science fiction fluff, the picture with this post is all scientific fact. It is a selfie, taken by the European Space Agency’s Philae lander, part of the Rosetta spacecraft and the comet that it has now closed to within 50 kilometers. That shot was taken by the Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer, or CIVA, camera on board Rosetta’s Philae lander. The lander is still mounted to the spacecraft, so in this shot you can see Rosetta’s solar panels and part of the spacecraft body. Europe is not so prostrate as seen here.

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