Director Joseph Kosinski is known for his box office disappointment, except for under appreciated Disney film Tron: Legacy. Universal seemed to be gambling on Kosinski’s new film starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, Oblivion. Like Tron Legacy, this is one of those special effects heavy, beautifully shot films and does not disappoint.
Oblivion’s story takes place 50 years after the Earth was attacked by an alien race called Scabs. Even though the human race won the war, it was made unlivable because of the global use of nukes. Tom Cruise plays a man named Jack who is on earth with his partner Victoria played by Andrea Riseborough. Jack and Victoria are the mop up crew who repair drones and make sure the collection of the Earth’s water goes smoothly so it can be taken to the human colony on Saturn’s moon Titan. When a ship with humans crash-lands on Earth with one survivor that is when bad things happen.
The way the story plays out is a lot like the movies Armageddon, The Matrix, Planet of the Apes, Total Recall, and I Am Legend. It does make for predictability, but that does not mean it is enjoyable to watch. The only issue with the story is the plot twist in the beginning of the 3rd act of the film. It hurts the story, but fortunately it is able to pick itself back up. It is also worth mentioning that the story is a bit hard to follow with its very intricate plot and slow moving start. The use of philosophy also was just a bit too much for this very complex movie.
Another issue with Oblivion is it’s mediocre acting. You can never really take Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman seriously. Morgan Freeman’s character was really underwritten and hurt in the process. Olga Kurylenko (Hitman, Quantum of Solace) was more of an unneeded love interest plot line to just prolong the movie. The standouts though, are Melissa Leo who plays the film’s villain Sandy, and Andrea Riseborough. Melissa Leo steals the show with her southern accent and charm. You can’t help but hate the villain, but she is just so great to watch. Andrea Riseborough’s Victoria is a better love interesting and compelling than Kurylenko and it was definitely sad to see her part not get much screen time.
Visually, Oblivion is like on special effects overload. This actually works to its advantage. It is definitely worth seeing in IMAX and 3D. Oblivion is just one of those films Kosinki does well with this and it is not like in your face and puts the emphasis just on the effects. There was also an interesting use of Iceland, where Oblivion was filmed, as the post apocalyptic Earth. It’s just absolutely a thing of itself and is worth the price of admission.
The soundtrack was all done by M83 and isn’t just used for shock factor, but compliments the effects. It has a techno beat, but also orchestral. It is just well done like Tron: Legacy’s Daft Punk soundtrack. Hopefully Joseph Kosinski keeps M83 for future soundtracks. It just was absolutely beautiful.
In general, Oblivion is a decent film. It is also highly ambitious in scale and plot. An amazing film this could have been, but it just ends up being okay.