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Review: Oblivion

April 20, 2013

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Oblivion

  • Starring: Tom Cruise (Minority Report), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Morgan Freeman (Wanted) and more.
  • Directed by: John Kosinski (Tron: Legacy)
  • Synopsis: “Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the director of TRON: Legacy and the producer of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.”
  • Rated: Rated PG-13 for elements brief language, sci-fi action violence, and some sensuality/nudity.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

Taken from the pages of the the unpublished graphic novel of the same name, Oblivion is brought to the big screen with the intent of being a great science fiction film full of gorgeous panoramic scenery and an intriguing story full of exciting action sequences and drama. Well, at least it got one out of two correct. Hit the jump to take a look at my thoughts on the director of Tron: Legacy‘s latest cinematic offering.oblivion-2013-movie-trailer

First off, allow me to start off by quoting my friend Issy R. from Projected Thoughts as I found his summation to be quite accurate:

Oblivion is not the most original Sci-Fi film but it is one of the best looking and entertaining film in its genre.

He’s right.

While the promotional materials for Oblivion were circulating a few months back, I found myself even more intrigued and excited to see it (especially with the similar-looking M. Night Shyamalan film, After Earth, appearing just beyond the theatrical horizon). Tom Cruise stars as a part of a two-person unit on a demolished planet Earth that serves as nothing but a harvesting resource for water. His job: to maintain the drones that patrol the planet and avoid/eliminate any straggling rebel forces that populate certain areas of the all but abandoned planet. Cruise, alongside co-star Andrea Riseborough, take up the majority of the screentime but that’s not altogether a selling point. Their acting was very well done, but their characters’ development and story could have used a bit more polishing.oblivion

When taking into account all of the effort and work that went into making this film (You really should watch THIS insightful behind the scenes featurette that gives a look at all that they did, including the surprising non-usage of greenscreen for the majority of the movie.), it’s sad to me to report that, alas, it’s favor is only one-sided and it remains an unbalanced and disappointing film.

Oblivion is slow, predictable and altogether not too “new” for a film I expected to be refreshingly so. Traces of films such as The Matrix, Independence Day, The IslandThe Last Samurai and more invade ones thoughts as the plots and components of the film formulate into occurrences and progressions already seen before. That being the case, all of the components of the film do not gel well. Taking, what seems like an eternity to get moving, by the time things pick up you remember that Morgan Freeman IS in the movie after not seeing him or any action for quite some time. Tom Cruise’s character’s fixation on things of the past will rival your own fixation with your watch as boredom tempts and teases amid the beautiful scenery of the film.oblivion

And it is beautiful. Do not get me wrong. If I were to review a film simply on its visual attractiveness alone, Oblivion would receive some of the highest marks. Kosinski reminded me of one of the reasons I enjoyed Tron: Legacy like I did, because of the visuals he uses. His post-apocalyptic Earth, if you will, is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen on film! Matched with M83’s musical score (which you can hear in its entirety HERE), Oblivion is a treat for the senses.oblivion14n-6-copy

It is just unfortunate that Kosinski does not use the rest of the talent and interest of the story to his benefit. Annoyances such as the little use of the “danger” and very limited Morgan Freeman screentime would be forgivable if what took its place was just as exciting. Do not be fooled by the trailers, while there is action, it is minimal. The drama that takes its place is tolerable mixed with beautiful flashbacks of an Earth that once was, but, in all honesty, come the end, I just wanted to blow this movie to oblivion as it dragged on for ages. A movie about the events after the “end of the world” shouldn’t last until the actual end of the world. I was warned by a few friends that previewed this earlier to watch it with, perhaps, lowered expectations perchance I would enjoy it more that way. I tend to concur and offer the same sage advice.oblivion image

Beautifully stunning, tragically predictable, sadly disappointing, Oblivion is just “ok.”

Earth may be a “memory worth fighting for,” but Oblivion is a memory worth forgetting (or at least, not worth remembering).

But, you don’t have to take my word for it.

Here’s a few excerpts from other friends of mine in the blogosphere who commented on it as well:

  • Hope you enjoy Oblivion. Small suggestion? Go in with slightly lower hopes than you think you should have… -Jaina M.
  • There’s just so much I liked about “Oblivion”. And while I can’t just completely overlook its handful of flaws, they’re easy to get past especially when you were as intrigued and glued to the screen as I was. -Keith&theMovies
  • The story in this film is far from what I had guessed from the trailer, and I love that I didn’t know what was coming. The story is very original and based off of Kosinski’s own graphic novel which I thought was really fun creation. -TimsFilmReviews
  • “Oblivion” was an entertaining piece of popcorn sci-fi. Nothing that will rise to the ranks of the genre’s best, but not a completely disposable effort either. It’s visually striking, well acted and entertaining, but lacks the originality and memorable storyline for me to call it great. -FogsMovieReviews

My Score: out of 5 stars for Oblivionoblivion_movie_wallpaper_by_nmorris86-d5p3c4a

(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 200 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)

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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: Checking out the Happy-Haps!

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2013 12:15 pm

    That featurette you linked to was great. Never guessed they used projection for the tower interior. I just assume everything’s CGI added later on these days.

    Like

    • April 20, 2013 12:19 pm

      that was def impressive to me as well. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading, commenting, and for checking out that featurette!

      Like

      • April 21, 2013 4:15 am

        One point I’ll disagree with you on your review… I don’t think it dragged to the point of me getting annoyed with it. It came dangerously close, but overall, I think it was quite nicely paced.

        Like

      • April 21, 2013 2:32 pm

        I love disagreements on movies like this! Thanks for pointing that out. haha. seems we are almost still of the same opinion! :)

        Like

  2. April 20, 2013 12:18 pm

    Thanks for quoting me in the beginning. Too bad you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did but I understand some of your points. Nice review.

    Like

    • April 20, 2013 12:19 pm

      no problem man. Thanks for reading/commenting.

      Like

  3. April 20, 2013 1:45 pm

    3 is fair enough but clearly I think higher of it , good review though :D

    Like

    • April 21, 2013 2:31 pm

      haha. yes, yes you did! Thanks man

      Like

  4. April 20, 2013 2:38 pm

    Great review. We totally agree on this. I said the same sort of things in my review (but you said them in a much better way). :-)

    Like

    • April 21, 2013 2:31 pm

      thanks very much. I appreciate the comment

      Like

  5. April 22, 2013 9:59 am

    We agree on this one on all points. Visually it was wonderful, and this was the main reason why I couldn’t give it an #EpicFail review. I loved Cruise and his co-star at the beginning, but the movie did start to grag. Morgan Freeman and his bregade should have been used more in the film definitely. The ending was very predictable and dull. I enjoyed the action sequences, I disliked the mundane love story though…boring

    All in all, I think we rated this one the same…Nice Review! :)

    Like

    • April 24, 2013 12:32 pm

      Thanks Tajuana. Yeah, I left the theater wanting to give it a “bad movie” score but took a few days to digest it before publishing the review. I was disappointed with Freeman’s use and how the story took the path of “been there, seen it” movies.

      Like

  6. April 22, 2013 3:27 pm

    Hey, we have a similar score on this one T. I gave it 3.5 but I could’ve easily gone w/ 3 as it’s really not that memorable. “It is just unfortunate that Kosinski does not use the rest of the talent and interest of the story to his benefit.” Yep, he’s way too concerned about making everything looks cool, ahah. A lot of sci-fis these days just can’t go beyond a mere ‘intriguing concept.’

    Like

    • April 24, 2013 12:33 pm

      Thanks, Ruth. I really wish that this one would have gone beyond merely intriguing. It had much more potential to be more memorable. You’re right.

      Like

  7. April 23, 2013 9:25 am

    As you know, totally agree. There’s just no real tension or sense of real threat in this film. You know things are going to “work out” in some sense. Shame really. Sci-Fi films need to be braver.

    Like

    • April 24, 2013 12:33 pm

      yep. I think that’s why I liked films like Looper from last year, because it dared to be brave in where it went as far as being different.

      Thanks for the warning. it helped.

      Like

Trackbacks

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