Oblivion (2013) Review

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Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring:
Tom Cruise
Olga Kurylenko
Andrea Riseborough
Morgan Freeman
Melissa Leo
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Plot:
I’m being lazy & copying what’s below from Wikipedia. You can click on the link if you want to see more of the plot description but it tells you the plot of the entire movie. I think you’re better off going to this movie knowing only the following basic information – to discuss the plot further gives too much away:

2077: Following an invasion by alien Scavengers (Scavs) sixty years earlier which destroyed the Moon and nearly destroyed the Earth, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is Tech 49, one of the last few humans stationed on earth. He lives thousands of feet in a work tower above the Earth where he and his communications officer and lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are part of an operation to extract the planet’s remaining resources, especially water. Jack and Victoria supposedly have no memory of the past, having undergone a mandatory “memory wipe” five years prior. They now maintain contact with civilization via a video link with their commander, Sally (Melissa Leo), and are due to join the rest of humanity on Titan in two weeks. Jack suffers from recurring dreams and flashbacks of New York before the invasion and an unknown woman. Assisting Jack in his work are weaponised ‘drones’, airborne machines that scour the landscape to destroy the remaining alien resistance.

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My opinion:

I saw this almost a week ago & have been putting off reviewing it as I didn’t know how to go about it & also still haven’t fully decided what I thought of it. First of all – Tom Cruise. I don’t tend to watch Tom Cruise movies much these days. I haven’t been a fan since, I suppose, the days of Top Gun. To me he’s become one of those actors that I just always see as himself – I don’t see him as the characters he’s playing in movies. Tom Hanks has become this way for me too although I still like him fine. And Nicolas Cage! As I said in my review for The Croods, Nicolas Cage can be too Nicolas Cage-y. Likewise, Tom Cruise is far too Tom Cruise-y in Oblivion. 😉

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But this is a sci-fi movie. I love sci-fi – it’s possibly my favorite movie genre (even though the concepts are more than my little brain can cope with half the time). So I wanted to see it despite Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise-y-ness. The movie starts out good and I was thoroughly enjoying the first half. The look of the film is great. The drones and the work station where Cruise and his assistant live are very sleek and cool and… science fiction-y looking! (Yes, I’m great at descriptive words – I just add a “y” to the ends of things. Should really work on my writing skills someday!). I totally want to swim naked in the pool in their work station and wear the dresses & high heels Cruise’s assistant wears for work every day (although I did wonder why she didn’t just stay in her pajamas every day – surely that’s one of the benefits of working from home!). Um, am I talking about dresses & high heels? Sorry – I don’t go girly-girl TOO often! Back to the movie…

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Like I said, the first half is good and I was thoroughly enjoying it. Unfortunately, the second half does NOT live up to the first half. It turns into a combination of every classic sci-fi movie you’ve ever seen. Which SHOULD work. But it doesn’t. I just didn’t want to see something I’ve already seen in other, more superior sci-fi movies. I found the ending disappointing & predictable. Now, I’m not saying the movie is BAD. If I was new to the genre & hadn’t seen so many classic 70’s sci-fi films, I’d think Oblivion was very good. So it might be good if it manages to get a new generation into sci-fi but I can’t see that happening as this movie doesn’t seem aimed at a slightly younger crowd, especially with its choice of stars. And for those who love Morgan Freeman, like I do, you may be disappointed in how little he’s actually in the movie. He was wasted in this.

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AND… I’m sorry but is New York City the ONLY city that exists in our future?! (Even in a “totally destroyed” way except for a few pieces of identifying landmarks). I have nothing against the city but why is it used so often in these types of movies? There are lots of other big cities around the world & in America, right? And Tom Cruise wearing a baseball cap & reliving some Super Bowl game he read about or whatever isn’t going to really appeal to a worldwide audience or keep the movie feeling very sci-fi & timeless. (I’m not being anti-American as I’m American – I’m just being anti-sports. I hate sports! Especially football. So I’m sure it’s just me who was annoyed by this bit). And… Led Zeppelin? Again? Didn’t Argo do that already (and more effectively)?

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Um. It’s not a bad movie, really. I don’t think. But my thing against Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise-y-ness & slight snobbishness about already seeing and loving lots of classic sci-fi films makes me think I’m possibly judging Oblivion a little unfairly. I was entertained, especially in the first half, and it looked fantastic. And it was totally science fiction-y! 😉 I’ve gone back & forth on the rating I’d give it – was going to go with a 6 but that’s what I gave Trance and it’s definitely a better movie than that is. And at least it’s reminded me that I really need to watch some of the sci-fi classics that I’ve been meaning to watch for years.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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19 thoughts on “Oblivion (2013) Review

    • Thanks! I impressed you with my big descriptive words like science fiction-y then. 😉 Yes, I wonder if I’d have liked this slightly more with a different lead actor. But probably not as the predictable ending was the main problem…

  1. Good review. I didn’t mind the conventional and similarity to other sci-fi flicks here, as much as I minded the fact that nothing really grabbed me. It sort of just went on and on, without any feeling or emotion at all whatsoever.

    • Sorry – I totally missed your comment or I’d have replied sooner. Yes, I know what you mean – I didn’t feel anything for the characters. They really weren’t very well developed and I didn’t feel a connection between Cruise & Kurylenko. In a way I think the character of Victoria was the most well developed.

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