Hopefully you’ve gotten a chance to go see the excellent movie Edge of Tomorrow over the weekend. I took some time on Friday to go see the movie a second time, and I still love the film. Now that the movie is out I wanted to go into a deep dive into how the source material All You Need is Kill compares to the Edge of Tomorrow. This is going to be very spoiler heavy so don’t read on if you haven’t seen the film yet.
1) Major Bill Cage and Private Keiji Kiriya are entirely different
Keiji Kiriya is a Japanese soldier in the UDF, fighting for his country, as this story takes place in Japan. Keiji signed up, and wanted to fight against the mimics, while Cage was an American that never wanted to fight. By the time they do wind up fighting, they are both new to it all, but Keiji wanted to be there while Cage was constantly looking for a way out.
Keiji was also trained by Sgt. Farrell, while Cage was trained by Rita. For the most part Keiji didn’t have anywhere near as much interaction with Rita as Cage did, until the last few resets. Keiji was going to forgo everything to make himself the best he could, while it seemed obvious that Cage had fallen for Rita and was training in part because he loved her and wanted to save her.
2) Rita Vrataski from All You Need is Kill would bitch slap Emily Blunt
Don’t get me wrong, Emily Blunt was awesome in Edge of Tomorrow. She was one of the best parts of the film, but Rita Vrataski from All You Need is Kill is the real Full Metal Bitch. In the novella, Rita had killed more Mimics on her own before she gained the ability to “reset the day” and became a famous war hero. Once she gained the Mimics ability she got even better, going through several hundred attempts at the battle of Verdan. The movie version of Rita had her first battle at Verdan. She learned how to be really good, but I don’t think she would hold a candle to her novella counterpart.
Another significant change was the age of the character. The Rita in the book was somewhere between 19 and 22 years old. She signed up for the UDF illegally at 16, and fought battles for years before Verdan ever happened. I don’t think they ever say how old Emily Blunt is supposed to be, but she’s definitely older than 22, let alone 19.
3) The Mimics are much scarier in the movie
The book described them as giant bloated frogs with 4 legs, a tale, and a hard endoskeleton. I have no idea on how to describe the movie version. It seemed like they crossed a giant metal dog with a psycho octopus, and gave it the speed of a cheetah. The book Mimics are also very fast, but they don’t have the same tentacle action going on, that the movie version has.
The hierarchy between the mimics are very different as well. The movie has normal Mimics that seem to be grunt soldiers, and Alpha Mimics that are the Generals in a battle. Then there is the Omega Mimic that is the pretty much the King of all Mimics. If an Alpha dies, the Omega Mimic will “reset the day”, and use the info that it gained to help win the war next time.
In the book you didn’t have an Alpha and an Omega. The book has Antennae’s and Servers. At every battle there are several Antennae and one Server. The Antennae kind of control the standard grunt Mimics, and send information to the Server. If the Server dies, it “resets the day” and then passes that info onto the other Antennae the next time around. In order to win the battle the UDF has to kill all of the Antennae in the area, and then the Server so it can’t send the info anywhere and properly “reset the day”.
While this sounds similar, it’s very different, in that there is only 1 Omega, while there are many Servers. This has a large difference on humanities ability to win a battle, and the progression of the war.
4) The War, and our world are very different
In the book, the Mimics landed over 20 years before the battle in Japan. The Mimics were sent by an alien race looking to colonize a planet. They didn’t know if there were sentient life forms on this planet, and they didn’t have time to check. They sent the Mimics to help terraform earth to make it more habitable for them when they get here. The Mimics landed and initially were very peaceful. The problem was that they eat earth and excrement poison gas that was transforming the planet. Humanity attacked and tried to stop them, which started the war. The Mimics evolved, and got smarter and stronger with better weapons and started to win.
In the movie, they landed 5 years before the battle of Europe. There really isn’t any info on what they are doing or why, or what started the fight. We just know that there was a lot less time for this all to escalate so far.
Because of the time difference, the world of the book and the world of the movie are very different. Having a World War for over 20 years where parts of the world are wiped out, means that you start running out of stuff. Some things become extinct, and can only be read about in books. The novella version of Rita being so young, only knew of war growing up, and it made her a very different person from the one we have seen in the movie.
Another distinction in the war is that in the movie, we only won a battle because the Mimics let us think we won. They regroup and change tactics to make it easier to pummel us later. In the novella humanity legitimately won those battles. The movie definitely had a much bleaker outlook on our prospects of survival in the end.
5) The endings are drastically different
In the novel because Keiji and Rita have both stolen the alien’s abilities at some point, they both act as Antennae. Unfortunately that means that the day will keep resetting as long as both of them are alive. The only way for the day to end is if one of them dies. So at the end of everything they have an all-out slugfest with each other to see who is worthy of surviving the day and fighting for humanity. Keiji winds up killing Rita, and goes on to become the next hero of the UDF for the battles to come.
In the movie, they walk into a situation where neither is going to get out alive, and they have to sacrifice their lives to save humanity, but Tom Cruise gets the Omega’s blood on him, and regains the power to reset the day on his death. In doing so everyone that dies is alive again, with a fairy tale ending. The war is over and humanity can celebrate.