The sci-fi genre has grown stale in recent years due to an underlying tone of monotony. It is for that reason that I was hesitant to give Oblivion, the latest from director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) a chance. The trailers made it look a substandard overblown sci-fi smorgasbord of generic post apocalyptic garbage with nothing thoughtful in sight. For that reason, I am happy to announce the trailers did a horrible job of selling the movie and aren’t accurate in the slightest to just how epic Oblivion is.
Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are tasked with saving their post apocalyptic world from the evil Scav invasion aftermath one drone repair at a time. If this sounds lacking that’s because it is. This is also only the first 10 minutes of the story. Watching Oblivion is like watching a sci-fi mystery novel where every time you think you’ve cracked the case and figured out everything there is to figure out, you’re proven wrong. I won’t spoil anything but I will say that there one revelation in particular near the middle of the movie that caught me completely off guard. Oblivion’s engaging plot kept me entertained for the entire ride with not a single dull moment ever in sight.
Just like “Tron:Legacy” Oblivion looks great. All the high-tech weaponry and buildings are simply stunning and fitted with state of the art computer generated graphics. The glamour of the futuristic space technology is also complimented by some truly gorgeous natural scenery. Every location is memorable, whether it’s the ice trenches during the very Star Wars-esq aerial fight, or the sunlit forest which Jack has turned into his secret humble abode, Oblivion’s visuals will be sure to please all.
I found it easy to like and associate with the main characters of Oblivion. Jack Harper is a troubled man whose thirst for curiosity is unquenchable and thus is lead to make some daring moves much to the dismay of Victoria. In fact part of what makes the drama endearing is the complete divide between Jack and Victoria. Despite their love for each other Jack is the fire to Victoria’s ice. Where Jack is daring and will not be satisfied with anything less the truth, Victoria is lawful and apprehensive. Perhaps it’s the intrigue of these two character’s relationship that makes Julia’s (Olga Kurylenko) character and her relationship with Jack feel lacking by comparison. Without wishing to spoil anything, Julia felt like the generic lover interest character and it didn’t help that Olga’s acting came off as insipid.
Oblivion is not a perfect movie. There were a couple minor plot related elements that I questioned in the end or that I felt didn’t get addressed that should’ve been but even so this never stopped me from enjoying it. I’ll conclude by giving a non-spoiler description of the movie’s ending. Though at first it looked like the ending was going to be disappointing, Oblivion managed to wrap up a loose plotline that was opened near the middle and then proceed to give a completely satisfying end to a surprisingly good movie on the whole. Despite the occasional hiccup, Oblivion succeeds on a multitude of levels most movies fail to reach and as such becomes one of the most entertaining sci-fi epics in recent years.
Oblivion gets a 9/10.