Jack Harper is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jacks mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence i...more
Jack Harper is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jacks mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands. less
“Oblivion boasts awe-inspiring visuals that are brought down by a weak narrative. One time watch.”
It would be fair to say, I was disappointed by ‘Oblivion’, the trailers had intrigued me and I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic thrillers, so when the movie chooses to cannibalise its plot from no less than half a dozen other well known Sci-Fi movies, you know you’ve been cheated.
Earth is a wasteland, the consequence of an alien invasion sixty years ago that resulted in the humans relocating to Titan. The only people who remain on earth are former Marine commander, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) overseeing the large power generators that are using the earth’s vast water resources. Their memories have been wiped and all they can remember is from five years ago and all the information they were given after that. The memory wipes are done to protect the information incase they fall into the hands of the enemy. Self powered drones require constant maintenance and Jack works on that. Alien warriors are still said to roam the desolate landscape and drones keep a check on them. Jack’s the more inquisitive type while Victoria’s the more complying type. He wants to see what’s out there, while she’s waiting to finish their tour of duty on earth and join the rest on Titan. That is until; a space ship carrying humans, crash lands on earth and Jack finds the woman (Olga Kurlenko) whom he’s been dreaming about every night amongst the survivors. Suddenly Jack’s whole life is turned around and when he meets Malcolm (Morgan Freeman) he learns a truth that will change everything he’s know to be true.
Much like his last movie, TRON: Legacy, director Joseph Kosinski’s visual prowess is on full throttle. Breathtaking vistas, littered with the crumbling relics of human civilisation captured by natural elements are a sight for sore eyes. Kosinski knows he has a real winner here, so he allows the camera to linger long enough for the viewers to take in the beauty. He also nicely uses this to establish repeatedly the loneliness of Mr. Cruise as he rides his bike or flies his little dragonfly like mechanical contraption. Also much like TRON: Legacy, the background score is mesmerising to say the least and Kosinski knows how to use it perfectly to get the required effect. It’s very difficult not to be won over by the combination of the two and just soak in this visceral pleasure the movie offers. I wish the same could be said about the plot.
Kosinski is also one of the writers, basing the plot on his unpublished graphic novel of the same name. It borrows liberally would be an understatement, since almost every major movie of the past twenty years right from ‘The Terminator’ to ‘The Matrix’ to ‘Independence Day’ and even ‘Moon’ is pillaged. The thematic elements are half-baked at best, but with a voice like that of Morgan Freeman even the most clichéd of dialogues sound magnificent. The one theme which was interesting was the romantic equation that arises between Jack, Julia and Victoria, unfortunately it’s resolved weakly.
The action too is nothing to crow about and at best, feels like a rehash of many other movie before it. Imagine an evil EVA from Wall-E facing off against Tom Cruise.
Tom Cruise is the same as always and even gets to perform all his signature action stunts from previous movies. Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman have little to do and the charismatic Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is wasted in an inconsequential role. The one who does stand out is Andrea Riseborough, displaying an array of emotions and making her presence worthwhile.
‘Oblivion’ is a disappointment simply because it holds such great promise and somewhere beneath the need to be an action movie there is potential for a thinking man’s Sci-Fi movie. It’s still a soothing visceral experience that’ll stay with you long after you’ve watched the movie.