Not all of Oblivion’s big ideas stick – in fact some of them threaten to send the film spiralling into its namesake – but at its best, the film achieves something that is highly elusive in modern film: it is completely and utterly engrossing.
-Adam Ross, The Aristocrat
Extraordinary, if a little hard to follow at times. A jaw-dropping, exciting and the most visually stunning and innovative science-fiction thriller to hit the screen since ‘Blade Runner’ . Cruise delivers one of the best performances of his career.
-Pete Hammond, Movieline
This spring movie season has been brutal. There have been a few hidden gems among the mess, but very few and far between. Side Effects and Spring Breakers come to mine as some of the standouts, but it’s tough to be satisfied with 2 quality films in a 4 month stretch. So, it’s quite a relief to be nearing summer movie season once again. This summer looks to have some exciting films in store. If not as hyped as last years disappointing Summer of the Superhero Sequel, they will at least be interesting to talk about. Which brings us to Oblivion, The first notable release of summer 2013.
This is Joseph Kasinski’s 2nd turn as director after Tron: Legacy a few years ago. Although a lot of people were disappointed in that film, I was very impressed with it’s style and visual flair. Fortunately, Kosinski does the same great work with Oblivion. It is absolutely gorgeous.
Oblivion follows some pretty conventional and familiar sci-fi tropes; but it doesn’t hinder the film as much as you would think. Of course, you have a steady dose of grungy future environments, outcasts dressed in steam-punk garb and other tired elements of this recent wave of sci-fi.
But don’t worry, it’s not just another sci-fi retread set in a post-apocalyptic Earth. One would think that a film set on an empty planet would be a chore to watch, but Oblivion actually makes incredible use of it’s surroundings. So many beautiful sprawling shots of the scorched landscape, crumbling rock formations, ruined landmarks, etc. But what elevates this movie above more recent offerings in the genre is the completely original story that makes up the backbone of all the beautiful imagery. After a full summer of sequels, prequels and superhero blockbusters last year, Oblivion is a really refreshing summer action film.
An interesting thing about this film – despite it’s originality, it completely respects all great sci-fi that has come before it. It borrows here and there from one film or another and an important sequence at the end appears to be a tribute to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The presence of everyman Tom Cruise may irk some, but you have to admit he does a great job in this type of role. He’s played this character before but he’s good at it. He brings a gravitas and sense of respect to the role that a lesser actor wouldn’t have been able to accomplish.
Oblivion is a ton of fun and a great way to start out this summer movie season. It’s probably not a masterpiece, but you could do a lot worse than spending a few hours at the theater with spaceman Tom Cruise and steam-punk Morgan Freeman. The only major negative: the lack of a soothing voiceover from the angelic Mr. Freeman.