Oblivion (2013) | Movie Review
Release date: April 19, 2013
Runtime: 2 hr. 4 min.
MPAA rating: PG-13
Leave it to me to enjoy a movie that is getting mixed reviews. Maybe I'm just into post-apocalyptic science fiction or maybe it's the fact that I think Tom Cruise can do no wrong as an actor - either way, I really did like this movie. Were the visuals more powerful than the story? Eh... I guess. But I still thought it was pretty epic. As a side note, I do realize Oblivion was released three weeks ago and I'm not exactly getting ahead of anyone reviewing this. Nevertheless, I watched it, I liked it and I want to share. I also think you should go see it, because there is not much else going on with the epic movie scene lately.
I'll be honest, when I saw the previews for this my reaction was "I have no idea what this is about, but I think I want to see it." Let me clear up the plot setup a little bit. The events are happening in 2077, after the Earth was attacked by some mean invaders, who are officially called Scavengers. Humans have won the war against the Scavs, but destroyed the Earth in the process and left most of it uninhabitable. Everyone who has been evacuated lives on a different planet now. Jack and Vika are here on a mission: the are the "mop-up" crew - overseeing water-to-energy converters and repairing drones. While Vika supervises Tower 49, Jack flies around fixing things in the area. They are due to complete their mission and rejoin the rest of the survivors in two weeks. Everything seems to be going according to plan, but, despite the memory wipe Jack underwent five years ago, he keeps having recurring dreams that feel more like memories. From that point on we know something will take an unexpected turn and it's not too long until things get complicated.
Oblivion presents a great visual style and some very good-looking technology. The landscapes were pretty breathtaking. I think from the visual standpoint the film is an absolute delight. The plot ends up being rather straight forward, but it's not transparent from the very beginning (at least it wasn't for me) and follows a good story. It's not super fast-paced, but it's not painfully slow either. It almost feels like an indie film, if that term could be applied to this type of production. Maybe it feels like a retro science fiction story? I can't quite put my finger on it, but I know I didn't see a problem with the plot, while others did. I think it worked with the style of the film, making it an experience that some will connect to and some won't.
There is an unfortunate underuse of Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Come on! We can't have Jaime Lannister be a placeholder character! Morgan Freeman's character seemed to have substance that got left on the cutting room floor. As for the acting itself - it was really hard to notice anyone other than Tom Cruise (Jack) and Andrea Riseborough (Vika). They really are "an effective team!"
I think Oblivion really is an enjoyable film. They only people who wouldn't be happy with it, I imagine, are hardcore fans of the type of science fiction that involves elaborate lore. I am clearly not one them - I like my lore to stay in the fantasy world and I like my science fiction in a more of a "what if" style.
So what did you guys think? Have you given Oblivion a chance? Are you planning to? Did it remind you of any other movies you've seen? Let me know in the comments!