Reviews: All You Need Is Kill

The movie was better.

I saw Edge of Tomorrow and thought it was awesome. Really awesome. So when I found a copy of All You Need Is Kill at Galaxy Bookshop, I picked it up. I expected it to be a lot more involved and to have a lot of detail and action that was left out of the movie thanks to Adaptation Distillation and was looking forward to reading the more complete story.

Instead I was disappointed, as what I got was the opposite. All You Need Is Kill feels like less than half a story. The movie honestly has very little in common with it beyond the basic premise and a few names and benefitted from a HUGE amount of Adaptation Expansion and Character Development including, most significantly, a proper ending to replace the one that made the book virtually a Shaggy Dog Story. The book characters are mostly pretty flat- Keiji is a much duller character than Anti-Hero William Cage, who rapidly becomes very blase about his "Groundhog Day" Loop and his relationship with Rita is cut to a bare minimum before the Diabolus ex Machina plot twist forces him to kill her for no sensible reason, which robs the entire twist of its gravitas. The book was also completely bereft of humour and the scale of the conflict (a scuffle over a single human base) just didn't carry any weight. Also, as mentioned in the spoiler above, I think the last plot twist was completely unforeshadowed and totally nonsensical and I'm EXTRA glad they dropped it from the movie.

Ultimately, All You Need Is Kill was an interesting story, but the format of Japanese Light Novels is just too thin to pull off such a high-concept story satisfyingly and when you compare it with Edge of Tomorrow, which executes it well, it just comes off looking very half-baked. Read it if you want, but don't consider it an essential companion to the vastly more enjoyable movie.