Monday, April 29, 2013

Oblivion: A Review

Oblivion (2013)
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
Written By: Karl Gajdusek, Michael Debruyn
Rated: PG-13
Time: 126 min
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo

Plot: 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. 2077: Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what's left of our planet, Jack's mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack's soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew.

Comments: As much as I may not like Tom Cruise as a person, I do tend to enjoy the movies he is in. Oblivion looked interesting when E and I saw the trailer and it just looked pretty. Plus it had been a while since we had watched a good sci-fi film. My expectations were low, as they usually are when I go to the cinema so far this year (sorry 2013 too many duds and not enough awesome), but I was pleasantly surprised.

This was a movie to see on the big screen. Sweeping shots of a world we know and yet so different, shots of the destroyed moon, of living spaces so clean and minimal that it is hard not to want to imagine this future. It is a beautiful thing this destroyed Earth, waterfalls tumbling from vast empty skyscrapers, sunrise from the top of cloud cover, empty arenas and great sand dunes with the carcasses of old ships. And our cinematographer does a great job at taking us through all of this beauty. But its more than just the scenery. I love Vicca’s dresses. I loved the drones. I loved the scavs and how they looked. I loved the look of everything really.

The cast is small and I like that. Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Andrea Riseborough (whom I saw last in the Devil’s Mistress), Morgan Freeman and just a few others. We focus on them, on the characters and it is the small subtle things, the way Victoria’s breath hitches when Sally asks if they are effective team, the way Jack cares for a small plant that try and grab a connection with me. I think one of the great things about this film is it relies on the characters and the setting to tell a story instead of all the great sci-fi explosions and things we have begun to expect out of an action film. And while yes many of the plotlines have been done before and the ending predictable, I didn’t care. I was entertained for 2 hours.

There are flaws, the action takes too long to really get started, and as I said many of the story elements have been done before. Plus there are some plot holes (such as two person team maintaining the entire Earth, let alone just the US), but you suspend your disbelief. And you have to in order to really enjoy it. And there is also something just missing that made me really really enjoy it as in must buy when it comes out, but it was enough. While Iron Man 3 is really the start of the Summer Blockbuster Season, this was a nice opening act and one I am glad E and I didn’t wait to grab on Redbox.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema

3/4 popcorns

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Solid review. There's a lot of CGI, there's no denying that. However, the CGI in the movie is really good and I can't diss something about a movie when it adds to making the movie entertaining.