Action Movie Fanatix Review: Oblivion

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Earth Is A Memory Worth Fighting For

Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Zoe Bell

Director: Joseph Kosinski

2013  |  124 Minutes  |  Rated R

“We won the war but lost the planet.” – Jack

I had been looking forward to seeing Oblivion for quite some time.  Friends seemed to enjoy it.  For whatever reason I never got around to seeing it in the theater.  It’s a shame too, this is the type of movie that really NEEDS to be seen on the big screen.

The year is 2077.  Sixty years ago an alien invasion rendered the Earth uninhabitable for humans.  The majority of the humans are now living on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.  Jack Harper’s (Tom Cruise) job is to repair damaged drones which survey the Earth’s surface hunting the remaining aliens.  One day, Jack sees a space craft crash into the Earth’s surface and finds a woman that looks exactly like the one in his dreams, causing him to question his mission.

As always, Tom Cruise puts on another great performance.  He’s far from the greatest actor ever but the guy just picks some great roles.  He’s made so much money he doesn’t need to take just any script that comes his way so he’s able to cherry pick some real gems.  And yet, an actor of his reputation still seems to enjoy doing these exciting big budget action movies.  It’s pretty cool.

His character is also a pretty cool dude.  I wouldn’t expect Tom Cruise to play a dweeb but the character of Jack really fits him.  Jack is a man of the future who longs for the past and loves the Earth that he never knew.  He’s the type of character you would love to follow around this world.

Sci-fi movies should almost always impose a sense of awe and wonder on its audience.  Many attempt this and fall flat on their face.  This is where Oblivion really excels.  The CGI is breathtaking, never once giving the impression that this isn’t a completely real environment when in reality it is probably 99% fake.  Earth looks amazing and there are tons of little pieces of Earth’s former landscape that keep pulling the viewer deeper into this world, wanting to explore it just as much as Jack seems to.  Unfortunately this is where the magic of Oblivion ends.

The “twists” of Oblivion can be seen coming from a mile away and this is where it really starts to lose its steam.  It should have focused on bringing the experience we had at the beginning of the film to a head but instead it decides to go off in a number of different directions, getting bogged down while trying to throw us curveballs… the sort of curveballs we have already seen many, many times before.

At the end of the day Oblivion is a beautiful movie but will probably prove to be a pretty forgettable film for most viewers.  The one original thought it had was abandoned in the second act of the movie for a multitude of ideas that had previously been done to death.  It’s really unfortunate because it really had some potential at its outset.

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