Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Movie Review - Oblivion

Those of you who read my reviews could have predicted (but probably didn't give it a thought) that I'd go to see this movie. After all, it's hard science fiction.  You were right.

If you've seen the trailers than you know the basic plot. It's some years after the aliens have attacked Earth. And Earth is a mess. We beat the aliens off but pretty near destroyed the planet in the process. Earth has been evacuated into space (it turns out to Titan, a moon of Saturn). Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is part of the mop-up crew, extracting the last bits of usable resources for the colony. One day he discovers that there are still human beings living underground on Earth and that he's been lied to.

Since the "he's been lied to" part involves some pretty big plot twists, I won't really go into them.  Any science fiction movie is going to have some problems with the story line, mainly because it would slow the story down to the pace of a technical textbook to try and explain everything. So if you like science fiction you just go with the flow. Overall, we liked the movie a lot.

Like I said there are issues but they don't rise to the level, at least for me, of ruining the story.

The movie is beautifully filmed and the technology, like the jet-powered helicopter that Harper flies around in is spectacular. Jack's main job is repairing the drones which protect these giant structures which are sucking up sea water producing energy from fusion (one minor issue, where exactly is that power going?). The drones are man-sized flying spheres loaded with sensors and weapons. They protect the water processors from "scavs" whom Jack believes are the surviving aliens from the invasion force. The drones are effectively portrayed as terrifying.

Jack spends his time flying over ruins, some mostly buried, which look tantalizing familiar. Occasionally we see things like the torch from the Statue of Liberty, or the top of the Empire State Building. This is all presented in a confusing jumble. Amongst these ruins is where he finds the surviving humans led by Morgan Freeman. The last time we saw him, he was the acting President in Olympus Has Fallen.

As is usual in a Tom Cruise movie, he takes an enormous amount of punishment, which aside from some scratches on his cheek and a cut above his nose (which is very important in one scene) he appears to survive with little after affect. One of the plot twists however, can probably explain that.

If you liked the trailer I think you'll like the movie. In fact, I think that the movie is actually better than the trailer makes it look.   The trailer actually manages to not give away key portions of the plot.


Jonathan Detore said...

I can't wait to see this movie. If you get a chance, see Pain & Gain. It's crazy that it is a true story and the credits have pictures of the court documents and mug shots. It looks funny and it kind of is, but it's also surprisingly dark. Good recap though!

Dan O. said...

Good review. The only thing is that some people might not find the payoff really interesting and it might even lead to confusion among the general movie audience.