Edge of Tomorrow

During a battle to save the planet from an invasion by aliens called Mimics, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is killed. Stuck in a time loop and reliving his last day over and over again, he hones his battle skills in an effort to beat the enemy.

In Cinesite’s main sequence on EDGE OF TOMORROW, Cage is at an indoor combat training range, fighting a robot Mimic. As he is repeatedly killed, under the tuition of Rita (Emily Blunt), his skills improve until we finally see that he has become a deadly fighter. In total, the Mimic kills Cage 15 brutal, bone-crunching times as it smashes into him.

The Mimic was created entirely in CG by Cinesite, with visual effects supervision by Simon Stanley-Clamp and animation direction by Eamonn Butler. Various motion studies and versions were created, all exploring how it might travel; it needed to move in straight lines, as though traversing a ceiling grid, in a jerky, mechanical way.

Simon: “The challenge was to capture the energy and dynamic speed of the fight, so technical considerations like how quickly the Mimic would spin and how much motion blur it would give off were very important.”

Also important was getting the design of the Mimic right.

Simon: “The range environment is like the inside of an massive industrial hanger. In keeping with this, I wanted the surface to resemble a beaten up, rusted yellow cab. When the Mimics break they are mended crudely, with new parts roughly bolted on; bumps and scratches remain visible.”

In the finished fast-paced sequence, there is seamless interaction between Cage and the Mimic, which establishes a convincing sense of agility and danger.

  • Release date: 06.06.2014
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Director: Doug Liman