Neo-Hollywood is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.

I finally got around to watching Live. Die. Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (yes, I know, late to the party), and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it stands both as a film by itself, and as a take on the light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, All You Need is Kill.

I had heard good things about the film while it was in theatres, and it definitely exceeded any kind of tepid expectations I originally had for it. While the people dubbed “Hollywood” have made some pretty bad adaptations from manga, anime, and light novels (see the Dragonball Evolution live-action as a prime example of what could possibly go wrong); Edge of Tomorrow took what would have been a standard fare “light novel” (translated YA novella), and completed the gaps in the story by simply making the plot less fantastical, and therefore more believable. The light novel source was easily consumed over the course of a day, along with the manga version illustrated by Death Note’s Takeshi Obata.

While there were obvious changes in the story-line, especially in regards to Sergeant Rita “Full Metal Bitch” Vrataski’s role in training Major William Cage (Keiji “Killer Cage” Kiriya) in Edge of Tomorrow, I really liked how the film adapted the technology of the original light novel for a more adult audience. In the light novel, Kiriya/Cage had started “looping” and learned to use a giant axe without an auto-balancer on his Jacket. The Jackets in All You Need is Kill are more like armoured bodysuits; in the movie, they were exo-suits that can be found in development in real life, outfitted with weapons: machine gun in one hand, grenade launcher in the other, and rail guns attached to “angel wing” articulated arms. Battery life is a very real problem between all three versions, as Rita takes the battery from Kiriya/Cage’s dead body in the first “loop.”

The common theme between all three versions of the story is that there was less and less reliance on the high-tech weapons on the battlefield. Cage in the film’s suit is upgraded with better weapons over time, but in the end, it seemed like old-fashioned shotguns and knives were favoured in the fight against the alien Mimic threat. Vrataski’s weapon of choice in Edge of Tomorrow was probably my favourite touch, as she wields a modded helicopter blade.

A lot of the action in the film was done well, and the changes in the Mimic design did help with showing how lethal they can be. While the light novel was told from the perspective of Kiriya/Cage, the film format lends itself more to the “show, don’t tell,” like when Cage rolls under a truck while doing push-ups, and the Master Sergeant Farell, played by Bill Paxton, leans over (what I imagine to me the pulverized body of Cage), and says: “What was he thinking?”

It&rsquo;s not to say that I didn&rsquo;t see any problems with the film, but it was well polished compared to the source material. I would definitely recommend All You Need Is Kill for anyone that enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow, simply to see if you can find the seeds for the ideas in the resulting film. The amount of explosions and general suspense leading up to the climax were more than enough to make me satisfied with the ride. I&rsquo;m probably just a sap for the re-written movie ending, as the light novel&rsquo;s conclusion just made me annoyed.<br />

As rumours of adaptations come and go, there might be more light novel/manga/anime adaptations on the horizon. Even if the adaptation isn&rsquo;t entirely faithful, it&rsquo;s great for people to acknowledge the source material and help diversify the content that people can find. The other adaptation I would recommend would be the Wachowskis&rsquo; take on Speed Racer. If you liked The Matrix, you&rsquo;re seeing something inspired by the Ghost in the Shell anime. We might even seen James Cameron work on a Battle Angel Alita fim, if he ever finishes up with the Avatar sequels.