The year is 2077. The Earth has been invaded, the moon destroyed. What remains is a wasteland, nearly unfit for habitation, and a two-person clean up crew responsible for drone maintenance and security. The human race has moved to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The TET, a large high atmosphere structure, acts as a command module to assist the clean up crew and act as a gateway between Earth and Titan.
Enter Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), tech 49, nearing the end of a 5-year mission on Earth which he has served with communications officer, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough). His mind has been erased. A mandatory measure to ensure the safety of their mission. But fragments remain.
Every day for Jack and Victoria is pretty much the same: rise, eat, and embark to protect the operations currently underway to extract what remains of Earth’s resources. With the aid of weaponized drones, which Jack is responsible for maintaining and keeping online, his team is aided by a commander onboard TET, Sally (Melissa Leo). Their efforts are constantly being hindered by a group of people referred to as Scavs.
When the Scavs manage to bring down a U.S. spaceship, the introduction of a strangely familiar woman named Julia (Olga Kurylenko) threatens everything Jack knows to be true, forever changing the course of his life.
Oblivion is directed by Joseph Kosinski and features a hauntingly hopeful and futuristic score by M83. It is based on Kosinki’s unpublished graphic novel of the same name. Oblivion also stars Morgan Freeman, Zoë Bell, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
I sprung to see Oblivion in IMAX and choose to see it with my brother, a lifelong Tom Cruise fan, and my girlfriend who is quite the opposite. I felt my expectations for the film needed some external biasing. You can say what you will about Cruise, but the man’s dedication and energy is always there, seaming just below the surface. His tastes in science fiction works has also been relatively solid with films like Minority Report and War of the Worlds.
Oblivion, with its epic grandeur and high-gloss sci-fi production values is a solid film with gorgeous, sweeping views of filming locations like Iceland and Mammoth Lakes. With a lush, futuristic score by M83, the film has a strangely 70′s sci-fi vibe that manages still to be fresh.
Visually stunning and aurally impressive, Oblivion is worth seeing in IMAX – or, at the very least, in a theater with DLP capabilities.
There are some minor issues with the structure of Oblivion‘s plot, things that will be knit-picked to death by die hard science fiction fans. I also wonder about the length of the film – which comes in at 129 minutes. For a film of its length, I feel like there is something missing there.
We begin with a long voice-over narration and are then inundated with the same information throughout the film. Voice-over narration is always a bit dicey and its presence in a film should be questioned. Overlooking the narration, there’s the issue of fluff. The director serves up a whole lot of action, almost to the point of being excessive, but you are strangely left feeling like there’s not a whole lot going on.
Those things aside, there are other, larger elements within Oblivion that make the film worthwhile beyond it’s sci-fi offerings. Themes like duty, sacrifice, love are threaded through the body of Oblivion, but are they enough to make you care about what happens?
If anything, Oblivion seems to be stuck between genres, struggling to construct a world where humanity and romance coexists with heavy duty science fiction.
Official Site: Oblivion