Is there any information about why Major Cage (Tom Cruise’s character) was chosen by the General to be on the beach in France for Operation Downfall?
I know without the assignment, there is no movie. But there is no reason (that I can figure, anyway) why he was chosen for the assignment in the first place. He was doing commercials and being interviewed by news organizations right before he flew to London to meet with the General.
I thought maybe it had something to do with the resetting of the day, but Cage was chosen BEFORE he killed the mimic. So, I don’t see how that would be possible.
Cage also said to Sgr. Farrell during their first meeting that he was “railroaded.” Ok, but why?
I think it’s because he was the main PR face of the war, and they wanted him there to report back to people about how well it all was going. Of course, this brings up a major plot hole in the movie, in that though we see Cage on all major networks extolling the virtues of the suits and doing his PR bit about the war, no one recognizes him on the base. There are enough plot holes in the movie, however, that it’s best to just let go on this one and go along for the ride.
No reason except he seems to have become the main spokesman for the military wrt the war (though, realistically, they wouldn’t have a major doing that job). That’s the best I gots to answer your question. It’s a good question, but I think it boils down to just a quasi-plausible plot point to set up the main theme of the movie.
I kind of got the impression that the General didn’t care much for the pretty boy struttin around while other real men were actually fighting. I could have been reading too much into their conversation, tho
It’s been a while, but IIRC the general initially wanted him to go with the troops for PR, Cruise gave a bunch of excuses why he shouldn’t be put into harm’s way, the general insisted, Cruise then went from cowardly to nasty and threatened to sabotage the campaign with bad PR, which pissed off the general enough to shanghai him.
I just re-watched the movie today… I thought of this before, but never had a computer nearby to ask the TM.
What you describe is basically what happened, but it had no bearing on why Major Cage was chosen in the first place.
When he arrives at the General’s office, he (Cage) believes it is going to be a short meeting/briefing about the upcoming invasion, and to go over what to say when the body bags start returning home. The invasion was scheduled for the very next day.
Cage doesn’t “threaten” the General until right before he is arrested, and the threat wasn’t to sabotage the campaign, but to pin the blame on the general for all the body bags that would be coming back from France.
The sequence went (basically)
Cage and General are discussing the invasion… The General is talking to Cage as if he is going to be on the beach, filming the landing.
Cage at first doesn’t really follow what he is actually being told until the General says “France. You will be there with the first wave.” (Not an exact quote), but that is when Cage says “General I do this so I don’t have to do that.” He explains “I am not a soldier… I was in ROTC in college, lost my advertising firm when the war broke out” and that’s why he is doing what he is doing now… Which is PR.
Cage actually laughs, says “while I appreciate the vote of confidence, he can’t stand the sight of blood.”
The General then informs him that this isn’t a request, but an order, which is when Cage tells him that he is a member of the US Military and not under the General. The General tells him “I’ve spoken to your superiors and you are now under my command. You will keep your current rank, of course. Do a good job Major.”
this is when Cage realizes the General is serious and says “General, I have just convinced millions of people to join your army, how hard do you think it would be for me to give them you when people are looking for someone to blame for all the deaths?”
The General then says “are you threatening me, Major?” Cage says “I’d just prefer to not be on the beach tomorrow filming acts of heroism.” The General says “you won’t be.”
Cage walks out and the General says “Arrest this man.” Cage starts to run, is tasered, and then we see him being kicked on the tarmac “Get on your feet, maggot!”
My point is that the General had already picked Cage for the assignment, and was informing him the day before the invasion. The other thing that was clear was that Cage’s superiors had given their blessing to this assignment and re-assigned Cage without informing him.
When Cage mentioned being “railroaded”, I thought maybe there was some background to the story (I don’t know if the movie was based on a book, or if someone has a blu-ray with BONUS! features that explains this.
XT, you are correct about the plot holes… Time travel movies always have a bunch, and this one is no different. I try not to let those ruin a movie, though… Suspending reality is, after all, necessary for the movie to work.
I was hoping there was a back story that would explain the choice of Cage in the first place. It’s quite possible there wasn’t anything there to explain it, and it is just one of those details that only becomes glaring after multiple viewings.
I think there is a book this was all based on, so there probably IS some sort of back story. I’ve only seen the movie once at the theater and that was a while ago. From the movie, though, I think the only conclusion one can draw (without breaking the 4th wall I guess and just seeing it as a plot device) is that Cage was being asked to go to the beach with the troops because of his supposed position as a military spokesman and popular talking head…and because the military really didn’t expect the beach to be the blood bath it turned out to be. They seemed to think the war was nearly over after their victory at Verdun…it was just going to be mopping up.
Maybe I’m not understanding you, but I don’t see why it’s an issue. Cage was a PR guy, and the general needed a PR guy to do “reports from the front.” Possibly Cage was the most famous PR guy, so the general wanted him in particular, but it’s just as likely that Cage was picked more or less at random, because he was in the area and available.
Maybe. I didn’t get the impression that anyone thought the war was over. Certainly, the general didn’t. He was the one who initially brought up the idea of him being the one who would be blamed for the body bags. Cage only mentioned it after he realized the general wasn’t kidding and fully intended him to go.
I am sure I am making more out if this than was ever intended. However, if there is indeed a book, I will see if I can track it down and satisfy my curiosity.
Maybe I am not explainig it correctly, either. And like I mentioned above, I may be making entirely too much out of a scene that wasn’t really thought out well, but the writers didn’t intend for it to be dissected, either. The first time I watched the movie, it didn’t occur to me. Only after seeing it 3 times did I start to wonder WHY Cage was chosen, and if it somehow played into the resetting of the day. For example, was Cage chosen because the general knew he was the one who HAD to be on the beach that day?
What were the odds that Cage would be on the beach where he’d run into the Angel of Verdun? He HAD to meet Rita, because she was the ONLY person who could explain to Cage what was happening to him and how they could use it to win the war. So I started wondering if there was some reason why Cage was chosen, or if the generel somehow knew he had to be there.
Not trying to ruin a pretty entertaining movie. Just wondering.
IIRC, in the comic book it’s based on, Keiji isn’t a high-ranking officer busted down from public-relations duty; he’s just a garden-variety recruit before he inadvertently gains the same powers that earned Rita Vrataski her “Full Metal Bitch” reputation.
He was a media guy and in the chain of command. He could be ordered to go, most of the rest of the media people couldn’t. Also, being subject to military discipline, his reporting could be much more tightly controlled than a civilian’s could.
Thanks for the info and the name of the book. I will definitely check it out. If it isn’t explained in the book, or if the book doesn’t go into it, fine. I liked the movie, so even if the movie isn’t much like the book, as long as it is well written, I will enjoy it. If not, I won’t have to read very far to find out if there is a back story to Cage.
Agree. But Cage wasn’t your average soldier or even average PR person. He was clearly out and about, doing interviews for the service, as well as recruiting. I think that even the US Army would give him (or anyone for that matter) the courtesy of informing them of an assignment change. I know in the military you go where you are told and you don’t have freedom like a civilian does, but I think a Major would be told his chain of command has changed.
That gives some weight to the “railroaded” comment. Of course, that is assuming there is a back story in the first place.
This is the impression I got, too. The General gave a bunch of reasons why Cruise should be sent to the front, but the subtext (which I thought was pretty strong) was that the General just flat-out didn’t like Cruise’s smarmy, self-satisfied character, so fuck him.
They thought the aliens had been beaten and this was the opening stage of retaking Earth, mop up duty. The idea was that they wanted to show the people of Earth that things were so well in hand that even the head PR guy everyone is familiar with is right there on the beach.
The general even said something to downplay the danger, saying he’d be in one of the safer zones, with a good unit to guard him. But then after he refused and threatened the general, the general just decided he’d basically execute him by stripping him of his name and rank, feeding his unit a false story of his origins, and throwing him right into the front lines.
This is an interesting take. I never got the impression that the General thought the aliens had been beaten and the invasion was the first step in retaking earth. But that works on many levels. Especially the idea that the invasion should be recorded, and they should have this momentous event caught on film.
This dovetails nicely with the General’s comment “something to tell your grandchildren about.”
I think I will go with that.
As far as Cage being disliked by the general, I think that is clear once Cage puts up a fuss and threatens the general with blackmail. But he had to choose Cage before that meeting, so I don’t think that was a primary motive. A general is going to have a lot of experience dealing with PR people, and I suspect there is no real respect from a fighting, front-line general and some soft PR officer who is not really getting his/her hands dirty. That couldn’t be personal with Cage. That would be more of an average feeling most would have with the PR arm of the armed services, I would think.