15 April 2013

Oblivion review (spoiler free)

Went and saw Oblivion this Friday, a decision which came out of nowhere as my dad asked if I wanted to go and see it 40 minutes prior to the show. I had read almost nothing about the movie, I knew it was Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, Sci-Fi and that the aesthetics looked like some kind of Steve Jobs inspired design.

The movie is quite alright but it's hard to talk about it and the plot in detail because it is very easy to spoil and once you see it - you will immediately think of another recent Sci-Fi movie which included a lot of the story elements of Oblivion (and did a better job with them).

What can be said is that the movie is about Tom Cruise being some kind of engineer on earth. 60 something years have passed since a great war with an alien race called the "Scavengers" which blew up the moon, and then attacked earth. Tsunamis, earthquakes and nuclear weapons combined completely destroyed the planet but in the end the humans won. With the Earth uninhabitable the survivors have been transferring to a colony on the moon Titan near Saturn. What Tom Cruise is doing is keeping maintenance on large machines that drain the oceans of water and transform it into energy which is needed on the Titan colony.

The work is supervised from a space station in low orbit called the "Tet" and when the movie begins the work on Earth is almost done, and the remaining humans are ready to follow the rest to Titan. However being tasked with repair of defensive drones and running maintenance of things on Earth the character "Jack" (played by Cruise) still has a busy time working and fighting small skirmishes with roaming "Scavenger" remnants that were left stranded after the war ended.

The movie looks fantastic, the special effects are also extremely well done. And the slow pace of the first half of the movie is probably the most enjoyable. This is the part where the weird atmosphere and hints of a mystery are planted. The second half of the movie delves deeper in that mystery but the quality is mixed. On the one hand I could not think of any obvious plotholes, on the other some things were wrapped up rather late. And the plot itself feels as if it borrows heavily from another movie - which I can't name since that would spoil a lot of the plot (you can if you want ask about it in the comments).
If I had not seen that other movie, my opinion about Oblivion would probably be much higher and I would find it even more interesting.

As it stands now it is a competent Sci-Fi movie that doesn't screw up, but neither does it offer something awesome and fresh enough ideas in enough quantities to make it a great movie. It does include at least two scenes that made me roll my eyes, one features Tom Cruise at a location that ruins the immersion of the movie, the other is a pretty dumb bathing scene that doesn't make much practical or common sense. But other than that it is an alright and solid movie.



  1. Sounds good, but my wife hates Tom Cruise so not until it's on Netflix.

  2. I caught this on a long flight and was surprised to quite enjoy it. I agree with your parallels with another scifi film of recent years (which is a much better film). This felt like it was lifting the same themes, add some SciFi cliches, Tom Cruise and lots of action. The ending felt rushed.

    Competent and fun, but nothing exceptional.


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