This year is rife with movies portraying the demise of Earth’s ecosystem and our departure from the planet. The news of NASA’s discovery of three inhabitable planets within one light year away will undoubtedly make these movies a lot more intriguing for some. The first movie in this year’s series of Earth’s demise films is Oblivion. We should probably expect a lot more movies with the same underlying theme in the not so distant future. With that being said, let’s talk about Oblivion. Is the movie as exciting as the trailer or does it come up short? Keeping reading to find out.
The year is 2077 and Earth has been attacked. We won the war, but we lost the planet. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise – Jack Reacher, Rock of Ages) is Tech 49, a drone repair mechanic. Jack Harper is one of the few remaining humans stationed on Earth. He and a few others are part of an operation to extract the planet’s few remaining resources. Victoria (Andrea Riseborough – Disconnect, Welcome to the Punch) is Jack’s communications officer and lover. Together they are an effective team. Jack suffers from dreams of New York before the invasion and an unknown woman. Also assisting Jack and Victoria are the drones that Jack repairs frequently. The drones are heavily armored and armed to destroy the remaining alien resistance, called Scavs.
As Jack nears the end of one of his missions a spaceship crashes to Earth. The ship is carrying a number of NASA passengers in sleeping capsules. A drone proceeds to eliminate the life forms in the capsules, but Jack manages to rescue one survivor; Julia. Julia (Olga Kurylenko – Quantum of Solace, Seven Psychopaths) is the woman from Jack’s dreams. With the arrival of Julia the story really begins to unfold. Jack and Julia eventually find themselves face to face with the resistance and their leader Beech (Morgan Freeman – The Dark Knight Rises, Olympus Has Fallen). Beech and his second in command Sykes (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Headhunters, Mama) help to open Jack’s eyes to certain things to which he was previously unaware.
Since we are discussing the actors, let’s talk about performances for a minute. Everyone in this movie delivers an excellent performance. We’ve come to expect that from Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, but you never know what will happen with the supporting cast. The supporting cast did an outstanding job. There were no small parts in this film as every actor and extra did an incredible job. The character depth and emotion was very believable due to the length of time spent on backstory at the start of the movie. Olga plays a critical role in the film and does an outstanding job. Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise deliver as expected. Andrea really sells her role as Jack’s communication officer, making her role stand out.
Let’s shift our focus to cinematography and soundtrack for a moment. The landscapes and digital effects are morphed seamlessly into a beautiful fusion of cinematography and computer magic. The landscapes were beautiful and sweeping, which were somewhat reminiscent or Avatar. The filming style was never rushed and jerky. The sequences were filmed in a very calm and smooth manner, never really getting in a hurry. The soundtrack was spot on for this film, adding some depth of emotion and character to the film. The only issue was that some scenes really didn’t seem to push the movie forward. There was too much time spent focusing on the landscape and scenery, which made the movie feel a little slow at times.
Oblivion was co-written, produced and directed by Joseph Kosinski. It is based upon his unpublished graphic novel of the same name, edited by Radical Comics. The truly amazing thing here is Joseph has only directed one other movie prior to taking the helm on Oblivion. His directorial debut came with TRON: Legacy in 2010. If you were to look at Joseph’s Hollywood résumé prior to Oblivion you would never have expected such an amazing film. Joseph co-wrote this film with Karl Gajdusek and Michael Anrdt. Kudos to all of these gentlemen for a unique plot, a great plot twist and a great ending.
Oblivion is a cross between Independence Day, Avatar and a dash of The Matrix. Each familiar element plays a different role in this film. While the camera work was phenomenal and breathtaking, like Avatar, it seemed to drag on at times. On the flipside, the movie never feels forced or rushed and the camera work is very fluid. The musical score was quite good, but was overbearing during long shot sequences. The real strengths of this film are the plot, plot twist and the ending. Even though it is technically classified as a Sci-Fi movie, the underlying theme is that of humanity and the drama associated with survival. All things considered, this a good movie worth seeing.