It’s been a while but we’re back with a new review! And it’s a recent movie! Ok calm down and we’ll get stuck into it. This week we’re looking at Oblivion, the latest film to star Tom Cruise. Oblivion is a big sci-fi movie with big ideas. It’s set in a future after a war with aliens has devastated the Earth and humanity has left the planet to live on one of Jupiter’s moons. However we still need water so back home giant machines suck up the oceans. That’s where Tom comes in. He plays Jack Harper, one of only two humans to stay on Earth to take care of the drones that defend the water suckers. Phew!
Andrea Riseborough plays Victoria, Jack’s co-worker/girlfriend who’s main job appears to be sitting at a screen looking pretty (she really puts in the effort to dress up for work even though there’s no one else on Earth) and worrying about Jack’s safety. Riseborough is a standout and conveys a massive amount of emotion without ever leaving the house. It’s an extremely natural performance and should guarantee we see her a lot more in future films. Cruise is always good and does a great job of mirroring the feelings of the audience watching. The danger he faces comes from alien stragglers known as Scavs until an unidentified object crash lands on earth that changes everything.
The film is beautiful especially on IMAX whether inside Jack and Victoria’s trendy pad or out in a post apocalyptic New York with Iceland standing in as the strange empty landscape. The music and sound design are exceptional and really set a melancholy mood. Its the scenes with Jack out in the devastated environment that stick in the mind rather than the few action set pieces later on. With all of the sublime art direction and gorgeous landscapes it’s easy to forget that Oblivion has an ambitious plot which kicks into gear when the all-important drones are introduced. These machines have an elegant design and are essential to the plot. The film features more killer drones than one of President Obama’s wet dreams, these super loud, heavily armed machines will change the way you look at big balls forever (depending on how you look at big balls now, honestly I’m not judging you).
Oblivion keeps you guessing with the movie taking the plot of Wall-E as a jumping off point (our hero even has a little plant in a pot he looks after) then shoots off in a completely different direction twisting into something else entirely when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on. This is what sets it apart from other recent sci-fi pictures (I’m looking at you Prometheus) but it’s also where some problems arise. There’s probably one revelation too many and the very end seems like a bit of a cop out to me. These are small issues and don’t stop it being something of a success. Oblivion borrows from a whole host of movies such as Moon and Star Wars (look out for a cool nod to the death star trench run) and video games like Portal and Killzone but never struggles to carve out an identity of its own. It’s message about what it means to be human is pushed to the forefront but doesn’t completely convince however the journey towards the end is always entertaining and full of surprises. Go see it right away. Oh and sorry for droning on so much.