Sunday, June 8, 2014

Beneath the Louvre: Edge Of Tomorrow & Mimicry

Being released so close to the celebration of D-Day was surely intentional, as you watch the film and sense--actively and passively--the way the alien invasion in the film has been especially the first invasion on the beach with all the people dying The same tactics are being employed in the socialist-capitalist conflict as during the World War I Battle of Verdun which saw an enormous loss of life; the purpose of citing the WWI battle is to demonstrate how the "resetting history" and time that the mimics employ is not just in the film, but being played out on the stage of international politics today, but is also within the context of history, if we will just learn from what happened.
Once again, Tom Cruise has delivered a solid anti-socialist piece of art that clearly communicates to its audience, utilizes an intense array of cinematic vocabulary while providing a thoroughly entertaining film. Edge Of Tomorrow is, beyond a doubt, intensely invested against the socialist movement, so much so, that it doesn't even try to encode its message; what it does, however, is better than that: the "symbols" are more like conversations, commentaries on who the enemies are today and why they are doing what they are doing. Let's start with my favorite device the film employs: noise.
When the film first opens, there is static, like what you would see on television, and other channels cutting in and out; there are real-life news anchors reporting on an invasion and the state of the war, as they overlap in their reporting and keep getting interrupted; yes, this is an aesthetic, because even though it appears that the information we should be picking up on--what the news casters are saying--the real information is that the entire film is filled with noise, and we have to discern "what lies beneath" the noise, beneath the endless repetitions of scenes when Major Cage (Tom Cruise) tries convincing others that he knows what is going to happen because he has all ready been there (and this is truly a unique perspective on today's political situation). But calling the plot and narrative "so much noise" is truthful because we know there is another, real story going on beneath the film's facade, just as the omega is buried beneath the Louvre. Which leads us to asking our first, important question,...
Repetition is another device utilized in the arts to communicate. Repetition, in an of itself, doesn't communicate, yet it provides a prelude for more impactful information.  Claude E. Shannon, the father of information theory, deduced that the value of information is contained in how much of a "surprise" there is when we receive it: for example, if you look at the ten-day weather forecast for Los Angeles, and for ten days it says sunny, there is no real information in that; if, however, it's going to snow two inches on the third day, that is information because it nearly never snows in LA, so the surprise that there is going to be snow is information indeed.  Edge Of Tomorrow utilizes repetition as an aesthetic, as in Groundhog Day, so seeing Cage, as in the scene above, wake up over and over and over again, communicates that he hasn't been able to figure out the next step in the plan of winning the war; when we see something new, it is information that Cage and Rita finally figured out how to get off the beach and to a vehicle. When we suddenly see them in an open field, we know, again, they have attained to a new level.
Who are the alpha males who have the ability to re-set the day anytime one of them is killed? Simple: Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Kim Jong-un, Castro, Bill Clinton, Barack Hussein Obama, or any other male leader of socialism who, when he has been politically neutralized or "taken out," his followers will "re-set" what socialism is and claim that he wasn't doing socialism, rather, "this now" is what socialism is, and you can't blame what Mao did on the socialists because that wasn't socialism.
We have had many occasion to cite films that other films are quoting or referencing; this article, counts 8 different films that Edge Of Tomorrow references, and they are all good ones (including the reference to Rita (Blunt) as the "Full Metal Bitch," and a take off the film Full Metal Jacket; one that has been missed: Steven Spielberg's War Of the Worlds, when Ray (Cruise) holds the pin of a grenade in his hand and destroys the alien (this is discussed more below). Why do films reference other films? There are a number of reasons: one is because it helps to quickly expand the film's vocabulary. When a film wants to make a point, but doesn't want to break their pace, citing another film the film makers want the audience to consider at that point in the narrative expands the film's ability to engage with the viewer. It's also a way to "reward" the viewer for watching films that the film makers also watch, which leads us to our next point: films don't exist in isolation. Film makers watch films and they have favorite parts, just like you and I do, so citing a film is a way of making an homage to the films that they like, just as when you might drop a quote from a film in your daily life. Another further reason is to demonstrate what films the current film is wanting to "dialogue with." If you have been a reader here for awhile, I hope we have successfully communicated how films initiate and continue a dialogue about various cultural and political topics, and citing films is one way of alerting viewers to the dialogue in which a film wants to participate.
Now, we can add, that the essential element for being able to "re-set" stems from Cage and Rita getting the alpha males' blood on them: if we take the alphas to be the male leaders of socialism, when one of them has been killed and their blood spills forth, it denies their "messiah" standing among the socialists, the followers are forced to see he is human after all (this is especially true of leaders such as the North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-il, or the American socialists who view Obama as their "Messiah") and this point leads us to the issue of "Omega."
Cage has to deal with the stubbornness of many people, from Rita's (like her insisting on taking the helicopter in this scene above) to the J Squad believing that he knows what is going to happen to them on the beach the next day, to persuading the General who sent him to the front to give him the transponder technology. Why? Aren't we dealing with this same kind of stubbornness in society today, people refusing to believe that there is an international socialist revolution (or worse) taking place? In this way, Cage's steady, unrelenting persistence in convincing and persuading others that he knows what he is talking about offers an example to those who, like him, can see and understand what the is truly going on but can't seem to get anyone else to understand it. 
When a Christian hears, "Alpha and omega," what do we think of? Revelation 22:13 when Jesus says, "I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last." I understand if you think this doesn't belong in the post, especially since there are no religious references made anywhere in the film; the problem is, there is a reference. When Rita and Cage are in the old farmhouse, and Cage has bandaged up Rita's shoulder, as he walks past the wall, there is a large (bigger than an 8x10) depiction of Jesus on the wall. Why? First of all, these references , "alpha male" and "omega" are chosen from hundreds of potential signifiers for these alien positions, why did the film makers decide on these? Because this is what will replace the Alpha and Omega that Christians know if we lose this war.  
This image depicts what the omega looks like (the hologram in blue). The omega is the brain, the conscience of the mimic aliens who are attacking the earth. Cage has a vision of where the omega is and goes to the German dam where he believes the omega is so he can destroy it and win the war; the problem is, the mimic aliens are waiting for him there and it's a trap. Likewise, Rita tells Cage that the human victory at Verdun was intentional on the mimic part so the humans would throw everything at them in Operation Downfall and the aliens could defeat the humans totally. What does this reflect? Well, we actually saw this in World War Z. In that decidedly pro-socialist film, Gerry (Brad Pitt) figures out that the zombies don't like sickness and will over-look anyone with illness: the zombies are capitalists because capitalism is about making strong companies even stronger, whereas poor and weak companies are allowed to go out of business and are "passed over" in favor of healthy companies (this is the same basis of the contestants in the Games in The Hunger Games). Gerry develops a policy of infecting humans (i.e., socialists) with disease so the zombies (capitalists) will think they are weak and won't want to eat them.  In Edge Of Tomorrow (the title referring to how close America and the world is to the total socialist take-over), the mimics are mimicking being weak so they can lead the humans into a trap and destroy them all, just like what Gerry and the United Nations do in World War Z. On a different note, why does the omega easily trick Cage into thinking that it's in a well in Germany? Because that's what we generally tend to think of socialism: big, big government funded and sponsored projects, like dams (the world's largest dam is in communist China) as we saw develop in socialist Germany leading up to World War II (projects like the Volkswagen, the "people's car," the Autobahn, the factories for rebuilding the military, etc.) and we can see those same projects in the Obama Administration with the auto industry bailout (tax payer dollars) and Obamacare. But, the real threat socialism presents is to art, why the omega is at the Louvre (and we saw this in Monuments Men) because when socialism controls art, socialism controls freedom of expression and the cultural consciousness of society; when a society cannot express its culture in art, it is truly enslaved.
Why is the Omega beneath the Louvre? For at least two reasons. From one perspective, we can see art (which is what the Louvre is, a huge art museum) hiding socialism: The Lone Ranger, RIPD, Maleficent, The Hunger Games, The Conjuring, etc., have all built themselves over the socialist brain child to hide it from the view of general audiences, which is why, at this blog, we--like Cage and Rita--have to go and hunt it down in the art. From a different perspective, art is the means of "uncovering the Omega," just like Edge Of Tomorrow and other films we have looked at, guiding us and directing us where to look for it and what to look for. It's ambiguous exactly how we are supposed to understand it, but either way is satisfactory--and, I think, reflecting both of the truths that we have witnessed occurring in films over the last couple of years--so both can exist at the same time without excluding the other possible reading.
The glass pyramid at the Louvre which forms part of Cage's vision of where and how to find the omega so it can be destroyed. There are two important symbolic elements of this endgame Cage and Rita set up: first, the omega is beneath the Louvre and, second, it's under water. Water generally has two meanings, a positive and a negative: water can be seen as a symbol of cleansing, especially as it is a sign of Christian Baptism, or it is a sign of sexual activity, not only because of the bodily fluids released during the sexual act, but also because of the physical "renewal" that comes from the sex act (so, the positive symbol is water as cleansing the soul, vs the negative symbol of water cleaning the body, because the soul is higher and greater than the body). There is a third understanding of water, however, and that is the expression, "under water" used in financial terms, such as debt or backwards mortgages; I feel most comfortable with this interpretation, that is, the pyramid as a sign of the Illuminati, and the water burying the omega the national and international debt which protects the cabal banking system, taking us to the brink of an international depression. Now, as Cage swims towards the omega, the alpha male in pursuit of him has stabbed him and Cage is dying; Cage drops the grenade belt and it sinks towards the omega, as if Cage failed to destroy it, but then he opens his hand and there are all the pins for the grenades, which go off a second later. Again, we saw this same sequence in War of the Worlds (2005), when Tom Cruise's character had been lowered into the basket to be harvested (murdered) by the aliens invading and he successfully planted a grenade in the alien which allowed them to escape. Why would film makers want to make this visual clue for viewers? To remind us what the aliens turned the world into in that film so we know how much is at stake and, like Cage, Rita and J Squad, we, too, will be willing to make the necessary sacrifice to save humanity and the world.
There is an additional element, however, and that is the glass pyramid. It would be easy to say that the omega is the writings of the Marxists, their combined ideas to form the theology of their new international state of total communism, however, we have recently seen another important pyramid: in the end credits scene for X-Men Days Of Future Past, Apocalypse (the villain in the next X-Men film) is seen manipulating the Great Pyramid in Egypt while being worshiped by a multitude of people (who all, subsequently, appear to be poor and workers because I didn't see anyone in expensive clothes or wearing a crown on their knees bowing to him). It's possible that the pyramid, an Illuminati symbol, is just that, a symbolic identification suggesting that, at the real bottom of all this, it's the Illuminati that has to be destroyed, not just socialism.
Why does Cage's eyes turn solid black when he gets looped into the omega, and then after he has been given the blood transfusion, and he can no longer get looped in? The eyes, as we know, are the windows of the soul; when eyes turn solid black like that, it suggests a form of possession or that something evil has happened to the soul; is that what we are to deduce here? I don't think we can deduce anything else (because you have to admit that the soul exists before something can "happen to it," and Cage obviously experiences the opposite effect when the ability to re-set has left him). Why does this happen? Socialists deny the existence of the soul, and God, and the Church. Being "looped into" the omega, Cage learns what that is like, to "live without a soul" but it's only after he has his soul back (so to speak) that he can destroy the omega because that is exactly what it is going to take to destroy socialism: the belief of the soul, and the gifts our our souls that those who deny the soul do not possess for themselves because they haven't cultivated them (such as perseverance, patience, love, trust, faith). This same topic was explored in the Tommy Lee Jones film Emperor and why the American soldiers were ultimately able to defeat the Japanese soldiers.
Kimmel of J Squad wears a T-shirt that says, "Mimic This": why? Mimics can only mimic our humanity: while J Squad might not seem like much, they are the ones who answer the call at the end of the film to follow "the Angel of Verdun" into battle, they are the ones to make the act of faith and the ultimate sacrifice for their country and the world; THAT is what the mimic aliens cannot mimic. "Our humanity," as Dr. Carter (the mimic-biologist) tells Cage, "is their weakness," our humanity isn't our weakness, but the socialists', because they can't mimic the courage of their heart; they are like the robotic monsters attacking because they have forsaken their humanity. Cage and Rita, when they have had the blood spilled upon them and get "logged into" the omega, do not mimic the mimics: they out-think them and are prepared for them, but they don't change who they are in order to defeat them, they just start doing what they do better, and with greater efficiency.
When Sargent Ferrel first meets Cage, they exchange where they are from, Ferrel being from Science Hill, Kentucky, and Cage from Cranberry, New Jersey. Ferrel asks if they grow a lot of cranberries there, to which Cage responds no, but the best tomatoes you will ever eat, and then asks Ferrel about the science at Science Hill. This might seem a silly conversation, but it reflects an important reality: these towns were not locked into doing anything just because of their name, they have had the freedom to do anything that they wanted (we saw this system in Man Of Steel with the citizens in Clark's home planet being pre-determined what they would do, and even to a degree in Divergent). So the conversation Cage has with Ferrel illustrates the radical freedom we have in America to be free to move and do whatever we want, and that has to be protected. The coming invasion of London with the mimics breaking through is, as we have seen in many films of the last year, the threat of England becoming a wholly socialist country aiding the international socialist revolution.
There are far more aspects of Edge Of Tomorrow which we could explore, however, this is at least a start for the issues that have been introduced by the film that it wants us to be considering. What's so hopeful is that both the Russians and the Chinese are helping to wage the war (Forbes has reported that China is home to the second highest number of billionaires, just behind the US). When they look at the maps in the film, Europe is covered in red, which is the color of socialism; it's not just World War II all over again, it's the fate of humanity all over again, but it's also the image and example of human courage and sacrifice that exemplifies all people and our hopes. Eat Your Art Out, The Fine Art Diner
P.S.--I have seen some other reviewers who suggest that Cage and Rita should have died, and I disagree with that completely. There are indeed times when a character should die because it's necessary to remind audience members that there are brave and valiant Americans who will die to defend our rights and homeland, such as Bruce Willis' character in Armageddon (or even Tom Cruise's character in Oblivion). In my post The Legend Of Hercules vs Pompeii, we compared how in Pompeii the characters could have survived, but seemed to choose death, whereas in Hercules there wasn't a chance they were going to survive and they did and prospered. That is politics, that's not a narrative, it's the difference between reminding people of the value of life, or trying to indoctrinate people into believing that life doesn't matter. Edge Of Tomorrow is a decidedly anti-socialist film, meant to inform us about what is going on and inspire us to fight against it with the end goal that things go back to how they were before our rights were molested and our Constitution spit upon. Those suggesting that Cage and Rita should have died are probably socialists, to be perfectly frank with you, and even though they wouldn't articulate what they didn't like about the film, they know it's about them and doesn't hold to their "value system" because they don't value life; at the end of the film, they have been dis-proven and they don't like that.