Oblivion (2013)

oblivion_2013_poster
Oblivion (2013)
  • Time: 126 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Mystery
  • Director: Joseph Kosinski
  • Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

Storyline:

Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the director of TRON: Legacy and the producer of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind. Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack’s mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.

3 reviews

  • Th sound, music and the pictures in “Oblivion” were excellent! The visual effects displayed in this film really are pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, the story isn’t that good (a lot of holes), and it’s pretty predictable. You will benefit a lot if you do not watch the trailer. It shows too much and it makes the obvious twist in this movie even more so obvious. Another major flaw of this movie is that it lacks complete originality. Building an entire movie that has every foundation taken from somewhere else is surely a sign of great weakness. On the other hand, the acting was good: Tom Cruise did an excellent job as Jack and Olga Kurylenko also delivered as Julia. Their chemistry worked in the movie and I believed in their part of the story. All in all, “Oblivion” is an average movie, I cannot really recommend it, except for the visuals…

  • When it comes to story line, you’ve seen this before 1,000 times but much smarter in other films. I had no idea that this was based on a graphic novel, more like a bad comic book. By the end, it was clear that this film was made for idiots who can check their brain in at the entrance and worship the man name Cruise who was on Cruise Control.

    For some reason I allowed myself to pay to watch Cruise try to play 6 foot 6 inch Jack Reacher a few months ago. Bad idea. Gave him one last chance and came in with an open mind. The opening scene is a little murky. You’re not quite sure what to make of it. Great visuals, the explanation given by Cruise is hokey, something is off but you just go with it. In short, he and his female companion are supposedly the last remaining people on earth with a job to do before they are ready to join the rest of the others in 2 weeks on Saturn. They are a clean up crew, maintaining drones that kill the alien “scavengers” on the planet and extracting water/minerals.

    Gratuitous CGI, which is done pretty effectively, leads us to the first immediate problem. When Cruise pulls out a New York Yankee hat while reminiscing about a football game, you can’t help but think “perhaps the worst and conspicuous choice of product placement I’ve ever seen.” From that point on, while you want to figure out some of the mystery, you’re loath to admit that this script has silly holes in it the size of Saturn.

    Now I’ve seen worse but the middle and ending are very disappointing because the twists are not only predictable but so many remind you of other films. And they are also very awkwardly managed. With each twist you keep begging the film to come up with a better answer for these oddities. And as the film plods along, they are unsatisfactory.

    This is a good free on cable movie, not worth spending money in the theater. As a rental, be prepared for disappointment. It’s Cruise doing Cruise, marching on without brains to pick up a big check.

  • You know, you gotta smirk when someone mentions the name Tom Cruise. Ever since he jumped on Oprah Winfrey’s couch and another time called NBC news anchor Matt Lauer “glib” (to his face on national television), his public image has taken a moderate hit. He has become Hollywood’s version of a dart board. He’s making all kinds of different movies now from each and every genre. This guy is basically the dart and he throws himself against the board hoping something will stick. Recently, Cruise has played a famous rock star in Rock of Ages (2012), a bald, high strung studio executive in Tropic Thunder (2008), a military police corps officer in Jack Reacher (2012), and a senator in Lions For Lambs (2007). I guess, maybe he’s just trying to get people to like him again. Heck, he may win some new friends with his sci-fi movie Oblivion. I viewed it yesterday in a somewhat lightly crowded theater and have decided that the Cruise man and I can just be acquaintances, that’s it (ha ha).

    The movie begins by telling the story of Jack Harper (Cruise), also known as Tech 49 (one of the last few humans stationed on earth). The year is 2077 and the planet, now almost destroyed by alien forces, has taken every measure necessary to destroy those aliens (in this case, Cruise is powering up dormant drones in order to kill off the species). Harper’s job (with the help of Victoria played with monotonous overtone by Andrea Riseborough) is to complete this mission and go back to a place called Titan (I just couldn’t figure out where Titan was). Throughout the film, Cruise’s character has flashbacks and dreams about a life he might have had in a past existence. To explain this more in detail would be spoiler city so I’ll just leave it right there. I will however interject a side plot involving Morgan Freeman (Malcolm Beech) as a sort of a secret human leader unknowingly stationed on Earth’s surface. He has survived the past carnage and no one knows him and his people exists until a chance meeting with Harper. They cross paths and set the film in sort of a different direction than initially was established.

    Let me just say that Oblivion is a mixed bag. On the plus side, it’s one of the best looking films I have seen in a long time. Its got a nice, shiny, salt and peppery look to it that I like. And it is directed by a guy whose last picture I’d consider a terrific sequel (Joseph Kosinski, Tron: Legacy (2010)). However, Oblivion tries really hard for greatness and falls short. It tries almost too hard but with good intentions. A lot of what’s on screen is undoubtedly familiar stuff. The action scenes are reminiscent of every Star Wars film mixed with alien fare a la Independence Day (1996), the ending has a small whiff of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) saddled with the 1985 kid’s film Explorers, and the Cruise character (Jack Harper) feels like a younger brother version of Harrison Ford’s Deckhard in Blade Runner (1982). Oh, and I almost forgot, the costume design channels a post apocalyptic neighbor in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).

    Then there is the dialogue and believe me, it’s sometimes laughable. With so many beautiful images on screen (minus the cheesy, director inspired, 70’s zoom ins with the camera), it’s hard to believe that conversations between the actors in this movie sound like ten year olds speaking to one another. What’s worse, is that you suspect the villains in Oblivion to be machines. Melissa Leo’s character for instance (spaceship commander Sally) is one part of the cast that you think is a machine and not human. That’s a good thing because if she is a machine, that makes sense. No human being could be that annoying in person. Finally, there is the acting or should I say lack there of, especially by Cruise. Normally, he does his best work when there is not so much special effects gimmickry going on around him. But alas, he’s picked another project where it’s painfully obvious that he’s going through the motions. His performance is so phoned in, he might as well be the spokesman for T-Mobile. When there is an exciting over-the-top spaceship chase between him (the stunning Olga Kurylenko is in the passenger seat) and the “drones” (Star Wars imitated fighting machines), the two actors act badly while the motions of the space vehicle jerk them back and forth. It truly looks simulated people. I almost laughed in a situation that didn’t call for laughter. Kurylenko’s character asks Cruise’s character, “are we gonna die?.” Cruise’s Jack Harper first says “no,” then 5 seconds later, says “yes.” Way to go Tom, you’re earning your Keanu Reeves acting wings with flying colors.

    Truth be told, the movie fails in other areas also by posing many difficult questions concerning most of the main characters. It thinks it’s clever trying to confuse the audience by adding surprises and unnecessary layers to the story. Some films flat out earn their twists and turns. Oblivion decides to mess with your head just to you know, mess with your head. When this thing finally ended, I just wanted to throw my arms up and say what the heck just happened. The only way anyone can get what’s truly going on in is to see it again and try to decipher all the plot points. I will, but I might have to wait a couple more years. I have other movies to review. Darn it.

    Is Oblivion a bad film? No not exactly. It’s ambitious and full of ideas. Most of them are borrowed and a slight few are wholly original. As for Cruise, he should probably not try to please everyone by doing all these different types of film fodder. He’s become more of a movie star and less of a serious, bonified actor. Here’s my advice for the aging maverick: Give directors Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson a call. Maybe they can help you get back on track. After all, it’s never easy winning at darts.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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