Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…