On the surface, "Tomorrow" shares lots of plot elements with last year's middling "Oblivion." Cruise staring down an alien threat with a British chick... implacable foe with ridiculous odds. Luckily, that's where the comparisons end. "Tomorrow" is a winning blend of "Groundhog Day," sci-fantasy, humor, big action and a generous splash of sexual tension (not much space for romance in this fast-paced flick).
Cruise revisits the reluctant military flack of "A Few Good Men." His character signed up as a media rep for the military after his ad agency crashed in the aftermath of the initial invasion. He's good at his job and rallies millions of troops to join the fight. Along the way, he burnished the image of a Joan of Arc styled warrior who almost magically crushed the enemy in a highly publicized battle.
Now on the eve on a major invasion (hoping to destroy the enemy once and for all), he's been called into service to be on the front lines, using his media savvy to broadcast our victory to the world... except that's just not in the cards.
"Tomorrow" spelled out the "Groundhog Day" aspect of the story with its tagline: Live. Die. Repeat. I was pleasantly surprised to see Cruise flex his comic muscles in the constant recycling of his day. This is no Zen journey of self discovery. Rather, there's an interesting and internally reasonable explanation for his constant pattern of rebirth. That pattern holds the key to defeating the enemy, but can he and Emily Blunt ever solve the puzzle?
The film deftly weaves humorous elements, with dramatic flourishes and plenty of noisy action. Cruise and Blount present an interesting pairing. She, a battle weary veteran, and Cruise, an unwilling warrior pulled into the conflict by a twist of fate. It helps that Blount's character quickly recognizes that Cruise now possesses the power that she herself once mastered. That understanding helps distinguish this repeat trip from "Groundhog" and allows the movie to move forward with two characters to cheer for.
I enjoyed this film. It's clearly a return to form after a string of underperforming features that called into question whether Cruise is still a bankable star. It's clever, funny, cool and, except for the inevitable third act "dumb plot action" quite the tidy little sci-fi movie. Don't wait, Moviepiloters, see "Tomorrow" today.