Oblivion review

Director:
Joseph Kosinski
Cast:
Tom Cruise
Morgan Freeman
Olga Kurylenko
Andrea Riseborough
Rated: PG-13

Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster is about a simple guy named Jack. OK, there’s more too it.

Jack is a man working as part of a two person crew that is on Earth decades into the future.

The film informs that many years ago, the Earth came under attack and that while humanity ultimately prevailed, the population still had to leave the planet because of the war’s destruction. Jack works with his partner, Victoria (Riseborough), to repair drones and do mop up work as well as collect fuel for humanity’s new home.

One day, though, Jack finds a survivor named Julia (Kurylenko) from a space ship crash, this leads to questions of why a ship would crash land now. More mysteries rise when both Jack and Julia are captured by a group of other humans led by a man named Beech (Freeman) who informs Jack that the life he’s been living maybe something else entirely.

“Oblivion” is a movie with a nice exterior, but is hollow on the inside. The first half of the film has a mystery and as the mystery goes on, it’s able to keep one engaged. However, once the mystery is revealed and you know what’s going on, the movie takes a dive. Once the big reveal happens, the plot just sort of drags itself along until the finish line. To make matters worse, the ending felt both unoriginal and anti-climactic. The story just doesn’t hold enough depth and the makers seemed more concentrated on paying homage to other sci-fi flicks than actually making an effort to give something fresh to the audience.

Like the plot, the characters also felt rather bland. Tom Cruise tries to do all that he can with his character, Jack, yet there never seems to be anything deeper with the role. The mystery behind what was going on made his character more interesting, but there was never enough going on with the character that was memorable or relatable.

Olga Kurylenko, who played the love interest Julia, was very underwhelming. She never seemed overly excited or gave any charisma to the performance. It seemed like multiple times she was just deadpanning at the screen. The romance between her and Cruise’s character also brought the film down as it just wasn’t very believable, the two just didn’t have chemistry and it really hurt the story when it was coming down the stretch.

Andrea Riseborough as Victoria was probably the best in the movie. She actually provided some good emotion at times and I felt she was much more believable in the film than Kurylenko. Morgan Freeman also appeared in the movie for a few scenes. His performance seemed to be rather forgettable. Not that it was really bad, but like other characters he just didn’t have much depth. I was also rather disappointed with the villain that was revealed at the end.

Now that I’ve bashed a lot of the movie over the head, let me give some praise. The actual sci-fi elements of the film are absolutely fantastic. The designs of the future technology, the vehicles, the landscapes of post alien attacked Earth, everything was very well detailed by the special effects crew that worked on the film. The designs felt new and fresh while still being familiar and paying homage to other sci-fi films, which in terms of future technology is acceptable. The action was also handled nicely, having one scene including air combat that was exciting, edge-of-your-seat kind of stuff.

Overall, “Oblivion” does provide some visually stunning material, the designs and special effects are gorgeous and great to look at. That isn’t enough to hold this one up though. The story and the characters just felt too dull, especially going into the second and third acts. Very high 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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