20 April 2013

Review: Oblivion


Not much can be said about Oblivion without spoiling the experience for audiences, too much has been shown already by trailers and television spots. If the premise intrigues you, stop reading, and just go see it in theatres. This review will gladly wait for you.

The year is 2077. Following a war with extra-terrestrials, the Earth is left a shell of its former self. Humans won the war, but only after resorting to nuclear weapons. Monuments like the Statue of Liberty are shattered, half of the land is still radiated and remnants of the alien army litter the land.

Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are Earth's last two inhabitants. The two are assigned the responsibility of overseeing security while T.E.T. takes the last of the water from Earth. T.E.T. holds the rest of the survivors awaiting the trip to their next settlement on Titan, if all holds well, Jack and Victoria will join them in two weeks.

Jack is an inquisitive man, he takes a lot of risks and incurs plenty of reminders from Victoria that they only have two weeks left before they join the other survivors on Titan. Jack's dreams bother him, images that he knows he couldn't have experienced plague him constantly and he wonders if these dreams are more than merely an active subconscious.

Their supervisor on T.E.T. greets them every day with a mission statement "are you an effective team?" that poses more as a veiled threat than an actual question. Still, Jack and Victoria monitor drone activity and make sure everything T.E.T. asks for is accomplished, even when the drones almost kill Jack (take from that what you will).

However, Jack's inquisitive nature may cost him more than a few bruises when he comes across the aftermath of a shuttle crash-landing in one of his sectors.

Oblivion, on the surface, may seems like a mash-up of other elements used elsewhere in more famous films, but it provides a solid sci-fi effort for adults in a time period where there are not many. To boot, it will easily serve as a conversation starter on a very divisive issue right now.

Tom Cruise, it was said, is fading as a movie star. His last few films haven't raked in massive amounts of box office dollars, but the authenticity and earnestness that made him famous is still there. Cruise lends to Jack a sense of importance to the many scenes that could have suffered from green screen fatigue. Say whatever you want about the man, but he is a professional first and foremost.

Joseph Kosinski, in just two films, has created a unique vision of Earth assisted by gorgeous special effects. The Earth Jack and Victoria see is not the one we are used to, but it could be very easily pass for come whatever may in sixty or so years. Hopefully, an Earth we can avoid.