Tom Cruise Spectacle Oblivious To The Extent Of Its Own Trappings
By otakuman5000 On 23 Apr, 2013 At 07:54 PM | Categorized As Reviews | With 0 Comments

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“We nuked the planet. Weren’t we lucky this single object that reminds me of you survived?”

Just when the latest trailers made Oblivion a somewhat promising early summer entry, its 125 minutes of derivative, dead-end narrative unfold into a visually slick, but intellectually dissatisfying attempt at high-concept sci-fi. Pulling (willy-nilly) from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, The Matrix, Planet of the Apes, Independence Day, and even Wall-E, the film (adapted from writer/director Joseph Kosinski’s unpublished graphic novel) apparently wants to pay tribute the science fiction catalog without contributing any memorable voice or message of its own.

 

Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are left behind workers on a post-apocalyptic Earth. Their duty, as repeated multiple times in a relatively redundant script, is “drone maintenance and repair.” The first 15 minutes of the film consist of an expository Cruise voice-over that sets up the premise, but even that, and subsequent exchanges between characters, can’t manage to clarify the muddled premise. Without a clear sense of parameters and motivations, we’re left with low stakes and a miniscule level of relation to the characters, all of which exponentially degenerates through to the cliché climax.

 

I’ll try to recount the plot based only on memory and my understanding of it. In 2077, the planet has been ravaged by a war with an alien race referred to as “the Scavs.” They destroyed our moon and invaded our planet. Jack repeatedly insists that “we won the war, but lost the planet.” If we lost our moon and home planet, I’m not sure what meaning the victory holds. Jack and Victoria have two weeks left on Earth to fulfill their requirements of monitoring and repairing the armed flying drones that protect giant water-collecting tanks that float over the ocean. There are still some remaining Scavs on the planet (or are there?) that intermittently try to take out the tanks. There’s a giant space station called the Tet that orbits the Earth and houses some human technicians. The rest of the human race is living on the Saturn moon of Titan.

Morgan Freeman, Zoe Bell, and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau hoping the title of the film isn’t the future destination of their reputations

 

From this point on, things spiral into confusing spoiler territory that’s populated by the aforementioned sci-fi rip-offs. Morgan Freeman pops in and out for about 15 total minutes of screen time as an underground leader named Beech (may as well be Morpheus); a woman (Olga Kurylenko) who has been appearing in Jack’s dreams (even though his memory has been wiped) shows up in a crash-landed space craft, inspiring a thin and fruitless love triangle; and a conspiracy plot starts to unfold as Jack begins to uncover mysterious goings-on.

 

What the filmmakers seem to forget is that twists and surprises carry no weight if the audience doesn’t understand or care about what is being twisted. On its surface, Oblivion is a sleek feast for the eyes, but much like its 2012 cousin, Prometheus, the merit of its stylish exoskeleton begins to disintegrate around the inner swelling of its faulty narrative machinations. The final outcome is a minor, forgettable misfire that could have been something great had it been formulated with proper ambition, scope, and substance.

About - I am a 44 year old Gamer/Geek/Otaku who has been gaming and watching anime since the late 1970's. I am a passionate otaku who loves all types of games, anime and comics. I have been writing about games since I was a young man. I am an entertainment retail expert and an avid game collector. You can always find me playing or watching something geek related.

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