Movies / Home Theatre

Oblivion - Ego-stroking Beautiful Science Fiction

By Hervé St-Louis
July 21, 2013 - 08:40

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner Vika (Andrea Riseborough) work as drone repairman and communications agent respectively on an elevated platform. Their job is to repair broken drones that monitor planet Earth for surviving aliens from the last war. Humans have won the war but in the process made Earth inhabitable.  Most of humanity is planning to move to Titan but salt water has to be secured and transformed into energy. When a ship with crews in hibernation pods falls from the sky Harper’s faith in his humanity is shaken. Is really helping save humans?

The strongest attribute of Oblivion is its visual quality and aesthetic design. The suspended station, the flight pods and every other prop Harper and Vika use are incredible to look at and are featured in the extras on the Blu-Ray version. The set where the film was shot, Iceland was also beautiful. As director Joseph Kosinski comments, he wanted to create a science fiction film that was based on day light and not darkness, as he claims has happened since Alien. The beautiful sunlight above the Earth is a testament of that. Oblivion’s cinematography and set design are sumptuous.

However, the plot is rather thin and much of the movie is lengthy and boring. It was a film produced for Tom Cruise’s ego, based on an eponymous graphic novel that has never been produced. This movie is meant to show Tom Cruise on the best possible angle at all time and nothing more. As a science fiction film, it’s full of plot twists that are interesting but unfortunately, the apparent confusion and moral questioning the character feels are barely explored. An important missed opportunity was exploring the flash back dreams of Vika's life prior to becoming a communications' agent. What is it about her nature and past that so wants her to leave the Earth behind? Morgan Freeman as Beech seemed to have been added to the cast only for gravitas. He doesn't pay off so well against Tom Cruise who hoards all the glory. Freeman does add gravitas; he always does, but it's misdirected and wasted. A film that could have been character-driven remains a beautiful vista of images with little depth and not much else.

Rating: 6.5 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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