Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Movie Review: Oblivion

Directed by Joseph Kosinski , Oblivion takes place over 60 years in the future where the Earth was nearly destroyed due to the destruction of the moon and an invasion of an alien race known as Scavs. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last drone repairmen on Earth, working with his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) to protect the Hydrorigs and to secure and send Earth's remaining resources to a massive tetrahedral space station - called the Tet - that was humanity's escape vessel. The two expect to leave Earth and join the other survivors at a colony on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

One day while out on patrol, Jack rescues a woman named Julia (Olga Kurylenko) from a drowned, pre-invasion spacecraft. Strangely, Jack recognizes this woman as the one from the weird dreams that he has been having about a time before the invasion. Who is this woman? What does she have to do with Jack's past and is there more to Jack's situation than he believes?

Oblivion, like Kosinski's previous film Tron Legacy, is visually stunning. Almost every scene in the movie is masterfully shot and interesting to look at, keeping you captivated throughout the film's two hour and four minute run-time. In a world where a growing number of films are hopping onto the "shaky cam" bandwagon in hope of adding a pseudo-realistic element to their movies, it's rather nice and refreshing to see such skilled cinematography, beautifully designed sets, and well-chosen locations.

The acting, for the most part, is top-notch as well. Cruise does a fantastic job as Harper, giving us a character who is likable and not your typical, throwaway Sci-Fi/Action protagonist. Riseborough's performance is just as fantastic. The way she plays the character really draws out your sympathy for Victoria and the situation she's in. The only performance that I found particularly weak was Kurylenko's. While she wasn't terrible, she came off a little bland at times.

Now, this movie has come under fire for its story and for being "thinly scripted". Some critics have called it "dumb" and "derivative." However, I think a lot of these critics are either missing the point of the film or are completely off-based. Oblivion might seem derivative to some because it is a well-done homage to the science fiction films of the 1970's. Its stylized look, its high-concept narrative that focuses on the ideas and story instead of the scientific fact, it all feels like a film that would have been made in the 70's.

Secondly, Oblivion's story really isn't that dumb at all. In fact, when you look at the film and go from point to point, it all fits rather neatly together and each twist and turn makes sense to the overall narrative. While there are some weak points in the story, mostly the scenes and elements dealing with Kurylenko's character and the last scene in the movie, the movie's story is well crafted and is a lot better than some of the other films that are popular today.

Oblivion, in my opinion, is a well-crafted homage to the classic science fiction films of the 1970's that is both well-written and entertaining. If you're looking for an interesting, high-concept science fiction movie, I'd recommend give Oblivion a chance.

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