Based on the novel, “All You Need is Kill,” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the 2014 movie ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a darkly comedic war movie, which successfully combines the framework of ‘Groundhog Day’, the gritty ‘Starship Troopers’, and the wartime chaos of ‘Saving Private Ryan.’
Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) isn’t the typical overzealous save-the-world hero we are used to seeing in Tom Cruise summer blockbuster movies. Instead, the hero starts out as a coward, a coward on a journey that would mold him into the typical save-the-world hero, by putting Friedrich Nietzsche’s aphorism ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ into practice. Alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), our hero is the turn of the tide in the war against the alien invaders.
The aliens are called mimics and have invaded the earth. They’re on the brink of taking over the whole of Europe. They are quick, coordinated and seemingly a superior undefeatable enemy. However, mankind has come up with a way to fight the enemy; we have created super suits. These military-grade exoskeletons transform the wearer into a super soldier. When all nations around thw world join and the world’s military might is getting ready to launch a wholesale offensive in Europe meant to eradicate the mimics once and for all. It’s a dangerous proposition because if it fails, the military would be so weakened that the mimic horde could possibly spread across the globe.
The somewhat underrated (it was not a box office success) sci-fi stunner was directed by Doug Liman, written by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth.
The Mimics first arrived in meteors, crashing near Hamburg in Germany where they began to spread.
There are several types of Mimics:
The Drones are the most common form, these do not contain the ability to reset time upon death. They are fairly large creatures composed of a ductile material, allowing them to rapidly shift and contort into different shapes and forms at incredible speeds.
The Alphas are larger, blue variants of Drones, and are psychologically-interconnected to the Omega; if an Alpha Mimic dies, a response is instantly triggered in the Omega that causes it to turn back time while retaining knowledge of the potential future.
The Omega is the central intelligence of the Mimics. It is a massive, hive-like organism that conceals a glowing brain-like core.
In the book, the Mimics are described to look like bloated frogs slightly smaller than humans with four legs and a tail. They are extremely heavy and strong, being silicon-based life forms; their insides are filled with a sand-like substance.
Reference: Alien Species Wiki
The special effects workshop ‘Framestore’ started work on Edge of Tomorrow in late 2011 on a mammoth 2-year project which saw them help design, not just the soldiers, but also the superfast, almost indescribable tentacle-covered alien creatures.
Concept artist Kevin Jenkins was brought on by Warners Bros at the very early stages of the production and initially worked with Doug and then Oliver, when he was brought in. He led the team that helped concept develop the exosuit.
Here’s what Jenkins had to say about his work on this movie (quoted from his website).
I was brought on by Warners Bros at the very early stages of the production. Initially working with Doug and then Oliver when he joined. I led the team that helped concept develop the exosuit which took about six months of work, some of the images had all of the team participating under me due to time constraints . Special mention to Chris and Sam who collaborated on some of the models.
As the suit went into production I then worked with Nick Davis and the VFX crews for nearly a year to work on all things Mimics. Thanks to Ivan who developed some incredible clay sculpts.