Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oblivion Review

Oblivion Review
Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast Headliners: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough,  Morgan Freeman

Original Release Date: April 19th, 2013
              In a market filled with so many remakes, sequels, and adaptations it is incredibly refreshing to be able to see a film which has a unique original premise. This film Oblivion was entirely created in both world and script by Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski.  He wanted to create a tribute to the classic science fiction films of the 70’s, and he certainly succeeds.
            The film introduces us to a ruined Earth watched over by Jack Harper aka Tech-49, played by the ever intriguing Tom Cruise.  Jack repairs drones that protect the ruins of humanity from encroach by the evil “Scavengers” who invaded in the planet and caused it to be devastated in the first place.  Cruise is at his usual self in this film, looking suave and doing many stunts. However he is a bit more reserved in this role as Oblivion has a mostly very serious tone.  There are some light jokes and even more romance between him and his advisor Victoria (Riseborough).  Besides them and Victoria’s boss Sally, no other humans are seen in person for majority of the movie as the rest of the population is apparently on the space station Tet flying above Earth or on the moon Titan.
            This gives the movie a very desolate, quiet feeling. Just as with Tron Legacy, the director has really created a gorgeous other world. Magnificent sweeping vista shots of the planet are seen, and this movie has some of the most gorgeous shots seen in a long time. Masterfully crafted CGI is incorporated to show what the future world of 2077 will be like.  There is also a superb soundtrack by electronic group M83, really helping to encapsulate the feeling of a broken world.

             The film’s greatest strength, aside from the visuals, effects, and sound, is the story.  It is hard to discuss the larger story and Morgan Freeman’s Malcolm and Olga’s Julia, since they are key to what happens in the rest of the film.  There are many thrilling twists and turns in the plot, but luckily it never gets too complex. The second half of the film really ratchets up the tension after Jack discovers SOMETHING, and this makes his mission even more important. My only complaint is that every other character, besides Jack, are kinda bland.  The character of Julia is very important, but Olga plays her as just kind of…there.  Charming heroine she is not.  Same with Malcolm, though he is a bit better and has great lines (when does Morgan Freeman not have great lines?)  Also, the way Jack reacts to certain things is….. not realistic. One can imagine that figuring things out would make someone more nervous, but he just passes it off.

        Those things ignored, Oblivion feels like a modern day 20th century science fiction film, if that makes sense. The music is delightful synths, and the technology is all white and grey. I especially like the plot because it is inspired by the Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury epics of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It tackles existential threats which are not often seen in modern films.  Yes some scenes are inspired by 2001: A Space Odyessy and Star Wars, but those are great sources to crib in my opinion. Overall, 8.65 out of 10

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