Oblivion (2013)

Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Melissa Leo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Zoe Bell.

Director Joseph Kosinski
Written by Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt, Joseph Kosinski.

In the future of 2077, the human race has escaped Earth to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, following an alien war in 2017. A space station called The Tet hovers just outside Earth’s atmosphere, is the holding station for those who travel onto Titan.

Two ‘caretakers’, Jack and Vika (Cruise and Riseborough) are left to service drones sent from The Tet. The drones monitor the rest of the planet, and are sometimes damaged by attacks from remaining aliens.

Jack and Vika’s mission began five years prior after a mandatory memory wipe, but Jack, has been dreaming of another woman, and a past that doesn’t exist. One day on a routine outing, an unidentified aircraft crashes into Earth, and inside in a hibernation sleep, Jack finds the woman from his dreams, and soon finds his entire existence may not be what he thought to be true.

Stylistically, this was both beautiful and impressive, with some great effects and cinematography. If I am going to be overly critical, Cruise is maybe a little flat compared to what we have seen him do, and what he is capable of, and almost felt like a ‘safe’ role for him. There a few action sequences, but pales in comparison to what he had done previously, and would bring us in later films in his filmography.

Side characters like Coster-Waldau, who was right in his Game of Thrones heyday and Zoe Bell are completely underused, with the latter barely getting any screen-time despite how impressive she has shown herself to be in terms of stunt performance. Freeman too is underused, and his back-story could have been fleshed out so much more, especially when it is revealed how is connected to the other characters.

The big let-down in this film is the script. The mythology of what is trying to be told, (based on an unpublished graphic novel by director Kosinski) and the history of the war is so vast it’s hard to add to a two hour movie. By the time we know the full history, there is barely half an hour till the end of the film. The post climatic scene feels a little derivative too, and is present only to add to the emotion of the film.

Electronic band M83 do a really great job (there is an interesting story behind their hiring). The climatic scene wouldn’t have been as powerful as it was without the score from them. Their techno score complements the film nicely throughout the rest.

The big problem is this should have been a mini series or limited series, which would have fleshed out the history of The Tet, and the relationship between characters which is revealed later in the movie. Still watchable despite its flaws.


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