About the film
Oblivion is a 2013 science fiction film that is based on an unpublished graphic novel of the same name. The film has a rating of 12A and a run time of 124 minutes.
Set in the year 2077, the Earth was nearly destroyed 60 years earlier due to the destruction of the moon and an invasion by aliens known as Scavs. Tech 49 Jack Harper is one of the last drone repairmen on Earth and is stationed in Tower 49 with his partner Victoria. As a team, they must send any remaining resources to a space station called Tet and keep the drones active. Jack and Victoria believe that their mission is nearly over and soon they’ll be able to leave Earth, joining all fellow survivors in a colony on Titan.
Before their mission began, Jack and Victoria had their memories wiped but Jack is having flashbacks of the Empire State Building and a woman he is there with before the war ever happened. On a recon and repair mission, Jack comes across a falling vessel and is surprised to find humans inside; humans who include the woman of his dreams. The woman’s appearance makes Jack question everything he has been told about his mission.
What I thought
There have been a lot of good films released already this year, and a stellar looking line up still to come. Oblivion was one of those films that I wasn’t too sure about to begin with. I wanted to see it but wasn’t holding out much hope about how good it was going to be.
The premise of Oblivion was good if not at all that original. Jack and Victoria are seemingly the only humans left on Earth and they’re in charge of making sure the drones protecting it are in working order and nothing goes wrong. Jack and Victoria are in a romantic relationship which doesn’t often show too much emotion. The characters are much like drones themselves, doing what their superior, Sally, tells them to. The relationship between Jack and Victoria was a strange one because there were questions for me about how real it was. The plot goes on to show Jack’s flashbacks to another woman and New York before the war. Later, the unknown woman turns up in a ship that crashed and everything goes a little crazy after that, with Jack realising his life isn’t quite what he thought it was.
Tom Cruise is really back on top form in Oblivion. While some of his more recent roles have been questionable, I really think that this was a good role for Cruise. Maybe this was because there isn’t a lot needed for the role other than for him to be the action hero. I don’t think Cruise does too well in roles that require a whole lot of emotion as he is pretty stiff and mechanical. However, he does do the action hero role well, as proven in Mission Impossible etc. Cruise gets to run around a deserted New York, shoot loads of guns and look like, well, a hero. The small amount of emotion needed for this role Cruise carries off well though. He is thoughtful and inquisitive and also shocked when things take a strange turn. I have been a big fan of Cruise in the past (mostly his 90s films) and I think as long as he doesn’t take roles which ask for too much, he does just fine.
The rest of the cast was a strange mix. Victoria is played by Andrea Riseborough. The character doesn’t appear to have a mind of her own and likes to follow rules. Because of this, the character comes across as quite bland and boring. Even her clothes make her blend in far too much, so much so that I wondered why she was in the film to begin with. Character number three in this strange love triangle is Julia who is played by Olga Kurylenko. Luckily, she does make the film a whole lot more interesting. Julia is someone from Jack’s past who he is not supposed to remember. She helps to bring out a more emotional side of Jack and also does very well herself.
One cast member I was extremely disappointed with however was Morgan Freeman. By having a supporting role, his talents are incredibly wasted. While his character, survivor Malcolm Beech is one that adds depth and interest to the plot, he isn’t around long enough and he doesn’t do enough. The reasons for his being around are explained well although again, not used to the full. This aspect of the film could have been done in a much better way if time had been taken away from Cruise riding around on a motorbike or flying a funky looking ship type thing. I wanted character depth and development but Freeman gets neither of these things. Instead, he is a good idea that was wasted.
The setting of this film is visually stunning though. The tower in which Jack and Victoria live is where New York used to be. Instead of the busy and bustling streets, there is a wasteland where nothing grows. These scenes contrast greatly from the flashbacks which Jack has of New York. The world during 2077 is a wasteland made up of large deserts and ruins without much actually growing there. There are scenes of dark, abandoned buildings with the small remains of human life showing through but in contrast, there are also wonderful lakes and forests which are thought to have been destroyed. The dark colours compared to the bright and colourful greens and blue are wonderful to see and it really shows how different some places are.
As much as I seem to have slated to cast and characters, I did really enjoy this film. The plot was interesting even though it wasn’t anything new. The whole film was pretty exciting and interesting, as new things are discovered over the course of the film. Oblivion has a mysterious element to it where you are never quite sure where the plot is going to go. Although the big twist was a big shock to me, many others did think it was quite obvious. I thought the plot could have gone in a number of directions but I did like the one that was chosen.
All in all, this isn’t the greatest film ever made but it was certainly entertaining to me.