Film Review: Oblivion
Oblivion is a stunning Sci-Fi adventure starring Tom Cruise as a drone repair man who battles unseen foes in an apocalyptic future earth.
So it’s been a tough few decades. An alien attack has destroyed the moon, and the earth has been decimated by subsequent natural disasters. The earth is now a barren, radioactive landscape apart from America’s most iconic buildings, which curiously survive, jutting forlornly from twisted landscapes. So the lesson here is that when doomsday comes, head for your nearest landmark.
The earth is now uninhabited and we are told that the remaining human population has moved home to Titan. All they left behind are a number of giant refineries that churn the sea and create energy for the new planet. It’s the job of Tom Cruise’s character, Jack Harper, to maintain the heavily armed flying drones that patrol said refineries and protect them from the mysterious ‘Scavs’. With me so far?
Jack Harper lives in a hi-tech sky apartment alongside his flight operator and partner Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough. With clouds for neighbours, a scorched earth below and a seriously cool infinity pool, Victoria understandably doesn’t get out much. Her only other source of contact is Sally, their slightly menacing supervisor.
Jack on the other hand is getting more and more adventurous. In time off from fixing flying robots, Jack is out exploring and collecting yesteryear memorabilia for his picturesque lakeside sanctuary (including a pair of genuine Top Gun shades!). Jack’s love for all things old reminds us all that, hey – the old earth was pretty cool after all. And hell, the new all burnt up earth is really just rubbish. Things change gear when Jack rescues the sole survivor from a crashed spacecraft. Cue the appearance of Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko, who begins to reveal the truth about Jack’s past and stirs hostility in the suspicious Victoria. A series of events leads Jack to the secret underworld lair of freedom fighters, led by a charismatic Morgan Freeman alongside Mama star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as his gruff number two. With this, comes a new reality and Jack begins to question the true nature of his role.
For fans of classic science-fiction movies, there are a number of visual references to other movies throughout Oblivion. There is a thrilling chase between our hero’s space-helicopter and a set of lethal gun drones through a narrow ravine. This is not unlike Luke Skywalker and the TIE Fighters racing through the Death Star trenches in A New Hope. The ruined monuments are clearly influenced by the ending of Planet of the Apes. The underground rebels remind me of Denis Leary’s band of rebels in Demolition Man. The single red-eyed autonomous computer is just like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even the drones remind me of the cute little fella’s in Disney’s The Blackhole. Where some elements of Oblivion seem like respectful nods to other movies, some aspects of the plot do seem borrowed from more recent offerings such as Wall-E, I Am Legend and Moon. Despite this, you still come away from Oblivion feeling like you have seen an original film.
Having brought us the visually stunning Tron Legacy a couple of years back, Director Joseph Kosinski is a clearly a man who knows and loves his Sci-Fi movies. Despite a few cheesy lines here and there, Oblivion is high-end science-fiction flick with Tom Cruise in fine form. So what is the truth? Who are the real bad guys? And where can you pick up a stuffed monkey in the year 2077? Do not worry, all these questions and more will be answered. A mix of dazzling effects, high-adrenaline action scenes and a plot with some good twists makes for an entertaining trip to the movies.
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