Saturday, April 20, 2013

Movie Review: "Oblivion"

Tron: Legacy director, Joseph Kosinski's latest, is a sci-fi flick based on his own graphic novel, starring Tom Cruise, called Oblivion

After Earth was attacked by aliens, humanity had no choice but to use nukes, in so doing they won the war but made Earth uninhabitable.  Cut forward to 60 years later, where we meet Tom Cruise's Jack Harper, a drone repairman living on Earth in a glass tower high up in the sky.  His job is to repair the drones that protect the machines harvesting Earth's remaining water for the humans that moved to Saturn's moon, Titan.  However, when a mysterious spacecraft crashlands on Earth, Jack finds human survivors in the wreckage, spurring everything to change.

Harking back to 1970's science fiction films like Logan's Run or THX 1138, nothing in Oblivion is ever what it seems.  There are so many twist and turns to this movie, it would be very easy to get lost, if you didn't see every one of them coming.  Almost every twist has been done before in other sci-fi films, with far more realistic thinking as to what the repercussions of such discoveries truly would have on a person.  Of course a big part to this is that the script just doesn't give enough information.  They often gloss over things in one line that needed to be explained to be understood fully, and that might have made a few more of the character's actions make sense.  Even with all of this said, there is a lot of good about Oblivion.

The cinematography by Claudio Miranda is just hauntingly beautiful.  Miranda and Kosinski's use of the Icelandic landscapes standing in for ruined America, were expertly used to create a scope that has been sorely lacking from almost every other sci-fi film over the past few decades.  Not to mention the design work of this film, which is architecturally stunning, just like Kosinski's Tron: Legacy was.  As well, even though the plot twists often murk up the story, the characters are always so likable and intriguing, you keep going along with them, and a large part of that is due to the good performances of its cast.  Tom Cruise is easy to root for in this movie, but the write home performance is Andrea Riseborough, who plays Jack's partner up in the sky tower, Victoria.  Riseborough makes simple three word lines of dialogue have far more weight than the script gave them because one can tell that she is always applying subtext through the tone of her voice and her facial mannerisms.  Riseborough truly deserves more international notice of her talents.

Ultimately, while you've seen everything in Oblivion before, and done with more satisfying results, Oblivion is still a good, enjoyable sci-fi film worth seeing on the big screen thanks to great performances from its cast that make the most of their characters and the gigantic canvas that the film is set against.

I give Oblivion a C+!

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