Sunday 14 April 2013

Film Review: Oblivion

Tom Cruise as  future Jack Reacher..ahem, I mean Harper. Jack Harper. 

Tom Cruise revisits the sci-fi genre with the big-hitting, post-apocalyptic and gorgeous looking Oblivion. The story might not break the mould but it doesn't fail to satisfy visually.

After a variety of hit and misses in recent times (Jack Reacher and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol were solid but Rock of Ages and Knight and Day missed the mark), Oblivion marks a true return to form for Cruise, arguably still the biggest film star in Hollywood currently.

Jack and Julia reflect on their forgotten past
Set in the year 2077, Cruise plays Jack Harper, a technician tasked with the upkeep of futuristic drones that harvest the dying planets remaining resources. Migrating towards the stars after a war with an alien race called 'Scavs' ravaged the Earth, Jack and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) only have two weeks until their journey to Titan when Julia (Olga Kurylenko) causes them to question what they think they know about their lives.

The biggest selling point about Oblivion is without a doubt it's striking aesthetics. Director Joseph Kosinski works the same magic here that he did with the stunningly beautiful TRON: Legacy. The stark landscape of ash, snow and sand looks fantastic, as do the swish looking offices, drones and vehicles.

It was also refreshing to see a science-fiction film that is filled brought out into the light of day and not restricted to the shadows. The impressive vistas, which were mostly shot for real in Iceland and not on a green screen, are worth the price of admission alone.

Cruise (as always) commanded the screen and was a solid and reliable lead whilst I was particularly won over by Andrea Riseborough as the prim and proper Victoria. Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman complete a solid and hard to fault cast.

Plot wise, Oblivion doesn't do anything completely remarkable and sticks to the sci-fi hymn sheet. Twists and turns are fairly expected, but this isn't to say the film borders on dull and predictable. On the contrary, I had a lot of fun watching Oblivion as it didn't ask too much of the audience and kept it simple.

So much about Oblivion reminded me of classic science-fiction films like Star Wars (through how it looked) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (without giving too much away about the plot). Another big plus point is the fantastic score by French electro-pop duo M83. I don't usually pay that much attention to the score of a film, so saying it grabbed my attention is saying a lot.

If your looking for something that isn't too hard to follow and looks really, really pretty then look no further than Oblivion. Whilst it isn't going to change the way we think about sci-fi, it does show that the genre still has life left in in (as we saw with Moon, Source Code and Dredd) and it is well acted, gorgeously shot and exceeded any expectations I had going in.

I give Oblivion: 8/10


  1. It started off fine, but somewhere along the line they lost the desire for originality and did just enough to pass off the sci-fi elements so they weren't infringing copyrights. Nice review.

    1. Yeah, it wasn't the most original film in the world but it was a decent enough sci-fi to satisfy. Thanks for the comment!

  2. A dense movie with some very good performance and logic ..but then story contains some illogical facts and quite a few loop holes.......... but then again the way movie describes human emotion and technology is good

    1. Thanks for the comment Kabir, you're right it was a mix of good and bad aspects. Cruise was a great lead though. Check back soon for more film reviews and features!



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