The Importance of Bittersweetness

Like most film adaptations, Edge of Tomorrow does not stay true to All You Need Is Kill, the light novel that it is based off of. In my opinion, the changes made to the protagonist and his relationship with those surrounding him makes it hard to empathize with the movie version of the characters compared to their novel counter parts. The biggest character difference is that of the protagonist, named Keiji Kiriya in the novel and William Cage in the movie. The novel causes you to fill sympathetic for its protagonist- a hard working soldier who wants to help people and get home safely. The trauma he feels the first few times he dies is made evident by the tone of the novel and the dead look in his eyes, causing the reader to feel immediate sympathy.  As you see him traverse through the time loops, you grow to love him and his dedication. The same cannot be said for his movie counterpart. In the beginning of the movie, William Cage is portrayed as a media figure used to garner soldiers for the war. He himself is not an actual soldier however, and when he learns that he must fight he immediately tries to find a way out. Though his reaction is reasonable- he hasn’t been trained for this fight- his new initial role as a figurehead is a bit disappointing.

Another aspect of the novel that is represented differently in the movie is his relationship with Rita. In the end of the novel, he tells her that he loves her, but she does not say it back. This is due to him having interacted with her multiple times due to the loops, but her only having remembered one interaction between them. So while he has known her for enough time to develop feelings for her, she cannot say the same due to her not having memories of the past loops. Her not saying “I love you” resonated with me because it really showed the greater tragedy of the novel, despite the glimmer of hope. It makes me wonder why Edge of Tomorrow decided to give its protagonist a happier ending instead of the bittersweet one given to the novel protagonist.

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One thought on “The Importance of Bittersweetness

  1. I completely agree that it is harder to empathize with the protagonist in the movie. In the novel I was really engaged because I saw the physical changes in the character throughout the novel. Moreover, seeing Keiji’s gruesome deaths over and over made me sympathize with his trauma. The problem with William Cage, a.k.a Tom Cruise, is that I did not get enough of those facial expressions and trauma. Thus, this makes me question which platforms are suitable to tell certain stories or experiences.

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