Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
Joseph Kosinski, the director of Tron: Legacy, has directed and co-written Oblivion, which is based on an unpublished graphic novel that he wrote with Arvid Nelson. Oblivion tells the story of Jack, one of the last drone repairman left on earth after it was destroyed in an attempted alien invasion.
Tom Cruise hasn’t really been pushing himself in the acting field lately, but he delivers a solid, physical performance here. He’s more than matched by Andrea Riseborough as Victoria, Jack’s work colleague and lover. She works in ignorant bliss, unwilling to question what their true role is – unlike Jack. Their professional relationship has evolved into a marriage of sorts. Their lives revolve around work, dinner and the occasional nude rendezvous in the pool. This relationship is realistically portrayed and does a good job in establishing just who these two people are.
On a visual level, Oblivion looks spectacular. The post-apocalyptic world looks stunning. The wonderful Icelandic locations are used to great effect, providing some fantastic backdrops to Jack’s many travels. Also, it’s easy to see the amount of work that has gone into creating the futuristic machinery in the film. The design team has done a great job in making everything look and feel as realistic as possible. The drones are especially impressive. These spherical, flying killing-machines provide many suspenseful moments as they search and destroy.
As a genre, science fiction is primarily driven by ideas and theories. While Oblivion has plenty of both, some just don’t work as good as others. As a whole, the film’s storyline seems original. The problem is that most of the ideas and reveals are things that we’ve seen done in many other sci-fi flicks. There are elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Moon. There’s even a space-craft dog fight that is straight out of a Star Wars flick. It may be asking a bit much to get completely original ideas in science fiction, but it’s nevertheless frustrating when the film’s “twists” don’t quite work because of familiarity.
Certain plot points aren’t fleshed out as much as they should be. The entire introduction of the group of insurgents isn’t taken advantage of. The ragtag group of survivors are left to be in the background as Morgan Freeman does his usual speech thing. Morgan Freeman’s role isn’t exactly well written either. He seems to be there to give the audience some important back-story, nothing more. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, from Game Of Thrones, appears in a small and ultimately fruitless role as a tough leader.
If your going to be seeing this for some good action, you may be disappointed. There seems to be an overabundance in explanations and back-story. It’s as thought the filmmakers were worried that we wouldn’t get half the story unless they tell us everything. There’s a lack of clear antagonists in the picture, so you don’t get many actions scenes.
The special effects are fantastic and the sound design is great. Joseph Kosinski is a pretty good director, showing off some pretty slick sequences that get the pulse racing. It’s a good looking flick that should really be watched on the big screen. The undemanding viewer should be left satisfied, but many will be annoyed at the generic turns of the screenplay. Mostly, Oblivion is an entertaining sci-fi flick that accomplishes what it sets out to do; entertain.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10