A Geek's Guide To The Galaxy

Movie Review: Oblivion

Director/Writer: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

IMDb PLOT: A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.

This movie has everything I want out of a sci-fi flick. 

I’m one of those annoying people that really loved Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy. Was it a perfect film? No. But did it kick some ass and deliver on what I wanted and expected from Tron? Yes. This film upped the ante as far as I’m concerned.

Here, we see Tom Cruise giving his Cruisiest performance as a man tasked to oversee drone repair on Earth after it has been devastated by aliens and nuclear war. Certain things don’t add up and a chance encounter with a woman who’s been haunting his dreams leads him down a path of discovery. 

Based upon his unpublished graphic novel of the same name, Kosinski brings to life an original vision that builds upon many science fiction stories of the past. Some people out there are faulting this movie for borrowing upon things from such films as The Matrix, Wall-E, 2001, Portal and more. But to me, it shows strength in his story that he borrow and builds upon ideas that were brought to bear in other stories. He doesn’t rip anything off and nothing is truly taken from any other stories. You can just see the clear influence such other great stories have made on the man. Every great story does that. Even Star Wars.

There are several twists and turns that this story takes that you may see coming, especially since the trailer magnificently spoils certain elements. But really, the big twists and turns are preserved and it just doesn’t matter because the ride along the way is so good.

The drama is tense. The action is not overdone, but is exciting. There are chases, post-apocalyptic urban landscapes, moments of reflection and shock. This movie delivers on everything as far as I’m concerned.

Andrea Riseborough is the ideal by the book counter-part to Cruise’s Jack Harper. Melissa Leo is sufficiently creepy and perfect as Commands communications officer, delivering exactly what that role requires. Olga Kurylenko brings a nice pathos to her role and never seems too damsel in distress-y. And, it has Kingslayer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, kicking ass with a giant gun that might as well be his claymore from Game of Thrones. Morgan Freeman is effective as leader of a group that makes Jack Harper face certain demons. Zoe Bell kicks some ass here as well!

The cinematography and production design is amazing in this film too. World building is a tough thing to do, and here the design team does an excellent job establishing what we need to know of this world, while letting us play in the intimate sets of the underground base and floating base of our hero’s home. There are many times where I can see the painting of a graphic novels storyboard come to life. It is wonderful to look at.

M83’s score deserves to be pointed out as well. I’m listening to it again while writing this review. After Daft Punk’s PERFECT score for Tron: Legacy, Kosinski had a huge task ahead of him to try and match that masterpiece. Well, M83 was definitely the right choice. It is an exciting score with many of the ‘electronic’ elements that brought such excitement and flare to Tron’s score. This one, I feel, succeeds more as a “score” and sounds more traditional than Tron’s – as it should because this is not supposed to take place inside of a computer like Tron does. While I still prefer Tron’s score, because it is just about the most amazing score EVER, M83 delivers something very special to this film and I am going to love listening to Oblivion’s score over and over.

Will everyone love this film? No idea. Some people hate Tom Cruise. I could care less about his antics and opinions off the screen. They are wacko, but they are his own and generally don’t affect others in a direct manner. I like Cruise as an actor, a movie star and a finder of great stories.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this film again.

– J


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This entry was posted on April 19, 2013 by in Movies & Reviews and tagged , , , .
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