Jack Harper: Tom Cruise
Beech: Morgan Freeman
Julia: Olga Kurlenko
Victoria: Andrea Riseborough
Sykes: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Sally: Milissa Leo
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Written by: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt
Running Time: 125 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language)
The title is very fitting for this movie, as the idea of being oblivious to what’s going around is a central theme to the film. This is a ongoing feeling as Oblivion moves on, wrapped in a mysterious plot that drags you and and keeps you captivated for a little over two hours. There isn’t as much action as the trailers would suggest but the story and the acting are so good I really didn’t care if there was any. This was a stirring sci-fi that had a very Arthur C. Clarke feel too it, which might explain why I enjoyed it so much. Cloaked in a great storyline that I refuse to spoil, Oblivion delivers some good twists that made this one of the better films of 2013.
Tom Cruise delivers an amazing performance that carried this film, and just watching him work with Morgan Freeman alone is worth the price of admission. Playing a drone repairmen doing a term on a decimated planet Earth, we watch Jack (Cruise) do his daily routine which consisted mainly of repairing downed drone that protect the plants from leftover enemies. It’s a sound foundation that carried the film towards its eventual resolution. The characters are well played, the storyline moves at an amazing pace very similar to other Sci-fi classics Alien or I am Legend. I didn’t mind the pace and even enjoyed it as it gave me time to process what was going as opposed to being forced to think about it afterwards.
(A Sci-fi that has a very Arthur C. Clarke feel to it…)
Despite the vast storytelling going one, we are given a lot of eye candy as this film presented a detailed scorched Earth. There are very rich backdrops that reminded me of the original Planet Of The Apes without the shocker at the end. We know this is Earth but to see it uninhabitable breaks your heart to the point where you wish this was something that never happens in our future. This movie has a great creeping suspense that kept me gripped throughout the entire film. I really like it when movies can keep my attention, making me eager to follow Jack deeper into the rabbit hole in search of the truth.
Oblivion did have it’s fair share of action, but I’m glad to see that it wasn’t overwhelming. If it’s one thing I can’t stand it’s tossing in action scenes just for the sake of having them. This film doesn’t have wall to wall action like the trailers might suggest, but that’s okay. The characters and their search for the hidden truth is more than enough to carry this film and is why it’s one of the better Sci-fi film’s I’ve seen in years. The film’s cinematography is award worthy, as the scorched planet is a character in the film as well, a backdrop to what was the ultimate deception. There are homages to earlier Sci-fi classics but they are subtle and overlooked but they will come to you when you think about it.
(Freeman and Cruise is enough to warrant buying a ticket…)
Overall, Oblivion was much better than I had expected it to be. Unless something spectacular comes out I even dare say this is likely the best Sci-fi film of 2013. One of the bigger surprises for me this year that left me wanted to see it again to look for clues I missed the first time around. It’s a thought provoking film that stirs it’s audience just enough and brings more to the table than action scenes and shocking twists… though the twist is a jaw dropper. Oblivion acts and moves along like a classic science fiction and that made it much more appealing. It was a breathe of fresh air in a time where most movies lack the story and try to make up for it with mindless wall to wall violence. This movie is both stunning and breathtaking as it’s one of those movies that would be much more fun to experience the first time on the big screen. I can only imagine how amazing it would look in IMAX. Combined with a simple but very smart story, it’s one of the better movies you’ll likely see in 2013. Cruise and cast deliver good performances and present characters you care about, want to root for. In the end that makes a big difference. I’d highly recommend it for any Sci-fi fan who wants more brains with their films rather than action… this movie will surprise you.
Rating: 8.5 (Out of 10)