Movie Review: “Oblivion”

    This is the last day in our famed Science-Fiction month on Out of Frame, and while Star Trek Into Darkness was supposed to be the end of it.

    Alas, ’twas not meant to be, and through the acquisition of HBO, (free-trial period) I was able to take a look at this little movie.

    Edge of Tomorrow definitely made me second-guess everything that I thought I knew about Tom Cruise. (which wasn’t much. He believes in Scientology, was in Top Gun, and likes to jump up and down on Oprah’s couch. What else is there?)

    So, I decided to watch another science-fiction film with him on the marquee. 

   Oblivion is a 2013 post-apocalyptic science-fiction film based on a graphic novel by Joseph Kosinski which was never actually published. It was also co-written, produced and directed by Kosinski. (He is other-wise known for Tron: Legacy) The film brings together Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, and Olga Kurylenko.

    The film brings together a lot of familiar elements to science-fiction films that we have once seen before. While watching it, I definitely felt a throwback to some of the classic 70’s and 80’s science-fiction films. This was thankfully by design, and mostly took the good parts about them more than anything. That is, a more cartoon and animate feel that feels notably distant and colorful.

    The scenery and spectacle is definitely the strongest factor about this film. The set-design and special-effects are worthwhile and mesmeric, and definitely have strong production values. The visuals are the strongest redeeming factor about this film. They look nice and feel nice to stare at. Unfortunately, they are emphasized to heavily and aren’t backed by a lot else.

    In the movie, Tom Cruise plays a veteran that is assigned the mission to gather all of Earth’s remaining resources. He, alongside his partner, share something of a romance, but other-wise have their brains wiped and are asked not to inquire much about what they are doing. Everything is dandy, until the character begins piecing together more and more about the mission and about himself. There are dreams that seem to depict a female, but he can’t put a name to her. Before long, everything begins to come to a head and in a nut-shell, that is what Oblivion is about.

   As I have already said, the special-effects are worthwhile, however, the story itself is kind-of iffy. Tom Cruise brings a very well-done performance in the film that seems to help carry everything else about it. It isn’t that the story is terrible or overused. We have definitely seen a lot of the elements before, and some of them definitely feel a little cliche at times, but that isn’t much of the problem. The script feels thinly slathered together. It feels as if there isn’t a lot of flushing about the characters.

    When we are let-in on who the enemy is, we know who they are, but we don’t really know very much about them. They don’t have a lot of depth and therefore, I don’t actually have a lot of reason to care. More so, by the end of it, there’s only a vague explanation to everything. It’s as if the story itself wasn’t flushed out at all. Everything is revealed, but there’s so little emphasis or elaboration that it feels like the main-part of what the film is about takes a backseat.

    Oblivion has a run-time of over two-hours, and for the most part, I didn’t feel like there were moments that it dragged. However, in-retrospect, I wonder exactly what they did with those two-hours. In two-hours, I don’t appreciate any of the conflict happening, it just feels underdeveloped and like an absolute clusterfuck.

    The first chunk of Oblivion does well. Tom Cruise seems comfortable enough in his role, the story seems interesting, and of course, the scenery is nice. Then, however, once the actual-theme kicks off, it begins to spiral downward. We are introduced to the female character that he sees in his dreams, and it acts as a proverbial curve-ball. It hurts the foundation that the film was built around in that little time, and it never really finds its footing from there.

    We are introduced to the baddies, but once more, there isn’t much emphasis put on them before we move onto something else. This is another swing and uh miss for the film. However, the last half seems to really go allover the place. There’s no real consistency with it. The premise and concept that progresses isn’t bad, but the way that it’s introduced feels disproportionate. If we wanted to go THIS direction, then why did we start out going in a completely DIFFERENT direction?

   In conclusion, the film has entertainment-value and Tom Cruise feels inspired, but the ideas and structuring of the film keep it from excelling. As an homage to older science-fiction films, some might take enjoyment, but it really doesn’t have too much going for it.

    Thanks for reading…

Rating: – Decent

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