The war was in the year of 2017. They
attacked, scabs they called them, and blew up our moon.
Not cool. We kind of need the moon. But we nuked
the bejeebus out of those bastards, did what we had to do, and
we won the war, but poisoned our planet in the process.
Now I'm thinking if some aliens have descended and have the
technology to blow up our moon, something I'm not sure every
nuke in our planet's arsenal could do, then I would believe
that this massively powerful alien race could easily put down
our meager defenses. Oh well. The name is of the
movie is 'Oblivion', and it's… hmmm… two parts awesome, and
two parts not very.
Say hello to total badass Jack Harper (Tom Cruise). He
narrates for us about what has happened in this year of 2077
or thereabouts. The Earth is pretty much dead,
contaminated, with the survivors dispatched to the Saturn moon
of Titan which I assume has been terraformed to mimic the
Earth. There are these huge machines sucking out
saltwater and sending it to Titan for energy and its Jacks
job, along with his mate Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), to
patrol their quadrant, keep these brutal robot sentinels that
protect these machines upright, and look out for the scab
creatures that are running the grounds and causing a
ruckus. Seems like a pretty sweet gig all things
considered. He gets to fly fancy machines, ride pimped
out dirt bikes, shoot his space gun a lot, and Victoria and he
were placed together to have sex with each other to help pass
the time… what could be the problem?
One of the problems is that Jack
dreams. He often dreams of a pretty lady in early 20th
century New York City. Jack and Victoria's memories has
been wiped, for security purposes, but Jack shouldn't have
such vivid memories of 2013 New York since he wasn't even
alive them. Hmmm. Then there's the mysterious
figure in the badlands keeping an eye
on Jack, but for what? It doesn't
matter much because in two weeks time Jack and Vicca's time
one Earth will be up and they can go back home to Titan.
Vicca can't wait, Jack on the other hand feels like Earth is
home and always will be home, even in its current state.
Then the pod crashes from space. Jack investigates,
against the orders of his NASA handler Sally (Melissa Leo),
and in the wreckage he finds human lifepods, including one of
the pretty lady he dreams about. Odd. Odder still
is that those sentinel robots show up completely killing these
humans, which they are not supposed to do. Fortunately,
Jack saves the pretty lady, Julia (Olga Kurylenko), but now
things are getting a little weird. Who is this
lady? Why is Jack dreaming of a woman who has been
floating in space for the last sixty years? Who is the
old Black Dude (Morgan Freeman), the stranger in the distance,
that has kidnapped Jack, telling him all kinds of things that
can't possibly be true? Something isn't quite right, but
all will soon be revealed.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, whose last movie was 'Tron:
Legacy', which admittedly I really didn't care too much for,
'Oblivion' comes off much better if you were to ask me.
Similar to 'Tron' the film is a visual tour de force, but even
more so because of the wide open spaces, spectacular CGI
imagery which was even more impressive that what Tron
delivered, and superior set design. The narrative we're
given is also handled well, though I had issues which I will
delve into somewhat a little later, but the director strings
us along, just enough to keep us engaged into what may or may
not be happening on Earth at this time, until we're given the
big reveal. These are the parts of 'Oblivion' that are
pretty awesome by the way, look and delivery.
Now this narrative, while delivered well, as it goes on and we
begin to understand what is happening, it starts suffer from
being a little too familiar. A bit of 'The Matrix' here,
a touch of 'Moon' there, a smidgen of 'A Space Odyssey'
sprinkled in and a few more sci-fi classics added in for good
measure. This isn't deal breaker when it comes to
'Oblivion' as 'original' and 'sci-fi' are damn near impossible
at this point, but it was a little disappointing as the story
seemed to be reaching for something grander but settled for
The performances also came off as a little forced.
Kosinski, a director with definite visual flair, appears to be
not quite skilled enough to squeeze the necessary emotions out
his actors. True enough, Tom Cruise has been acting
almost his whole life and probably shouldn't need any help
pretending to be in love with Olga Kurylenko and Andrea
Riseborough, but the magic wasn't there. Tom Cruise
running and shooting and punching and fighting and flying a
space jet? Not a lot better at this than my man Tom
Cruise, and this movie is more of action film than an
emotional drama, thank God, but the love story does play a
large part of the narrative and Olga Kurylenko's sad eyes,
soft shoulders and full lips can only carry us so far.
But don't think I didn't enjoy my time spent with 'Oblivion',
because while the dramatic elements were lacking, the visuals
and the action were top notch. And considering this is
largely a science fiction action movie, we pretty much have
put one in the win column for 'Oblivion'.