...aaaaand I’m back. Wow, I haven’t written a review since Christmas! But summer is fast approaching and all of my favorite kinds of movies are finally starting to come out! Like for example, Oblivion, which stars Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, and Morgan Freeman.
Oblivion is set about 60 years into the future after a war with an alien race. The aliens destroyed the moon which threw off the tides and caused tons of earthquakes and the like. Humanity fought back and won with nukes but in the process left the Earth ravaged and mostly uninhabitable. Enter Jack Harper (Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Riseborough), a pair of techs who repair drones that protect massive floating machines on the surface of the planet. The machines are in the process of harvesting the oceans for humanity’s new home on Saturn’s moon Titan.
When we find them, Jack and Victoria are nearing completion of their mission. However the mission is thrown into disarray when a space craft falls out of the sky and Jack finds a young woman named Julia (Kurylenko) among the wreckage. Jack will then question everything he knows and have to find out what’s really going on to stay alive and save the planet.
Oblivion does not have the most original or inspired story, especially if you’re a sci-fi nut like me. I won’t reveal any spoilers here but you will probably be able to guess what’s going on halfway through. The twist isn’t lame it’s just not as revelatory as it could have been. It’s also a little slow at times. It didn’t really bother me but some people may feel like the movie is dragging at times. Those thrilling action scenes in the trailers are spaced out pretty far apart.
The cast is small but it’s solid. Cruise’s Harper is thoughtful and curious and very human. Not as intense a character as Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt. He may be a little bit nuts in real life, but the man is still a wonderfully talented movie star. Kurylenko and Riseborough are good as the female leads. Neither of them do anything particularly outstanding but the script doesn’t really ask them to either. Freeman is typically brilliant in the small amount of screen time he is allotted.
The movie’s greatest strengths are its production values. Director Joseph Kosinski, who also directed Tron Legacy, has crafted another visual beauty of a film for his sophomore effort. The costumes and tech are appropriately futuristic and interesting. Sweeping vistas with ruined cities, monuments, and insanely huge machines look amazing as well.
I particularly loved the design of the tech. The bubble ship is probably one of the coolest ways to get around in any futuristic world. In many scenes it looks like a small dragonfly zipping around and pulling off insane maneuvers. It’s also part of a really exciting dog fight with the drones. Speaking of the drones, they are also very cool. Despite being goofy little spherical robots they emit very deep threatening sounds and when they start firing their cannons they can really annihilate pretty much anything.
Oblivion is a very nice warm up for the summer movie season. It may not be the most original sci-fi film and it may be a little slow at times but it has a lot going for it visually. It’s also got a solid cast of actors who are not trying too hard. If you’re someone like me who loves sci-fi and sci-fi imagery you will forgive that it may be borrowing from other movies and sci-fi stories. 3 out of 5 stars.