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Review - Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion is just about the most generic and least original sci-fi film I’ve seen in the past ten years. It borrows from all the greats both big and small. Everything from 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Matrix, to Wall-E and beyond. Being the giant nerd I am I couldn’t help but pick out things that seemed like homages to things that came of as down right theft. That said, director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy) has created a stunning world visually and one that almost comes together. If only it weren’t for the giant plot holes and nonsensical twists.

As Oblivion opens we’re introduced to Earth in the year 2077. We fought a war with aliens and while we won, the earth is pretty much destroyed and now the remaining humans live on Saturn’s moon Titan. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) live together in a lavish Apple Computers inspired tower where Jack works as a repair man of high tech drones and Victoria works as his navigator and communications officer. Both have had their minds wiped in order to keep them focused on the mission. A caviate that seems odd as Tom Cruise’s Jack continually has dreams of a mystery woman in a New York of the past.

It’s when Jack’s mystery woman, Julia (Olga Kurylenko) suddenly crash lands in the wastelands of old New York that Jack starts to question his job, his reality and the people he’s working for. What unfolds is predictable, baffling at times and every single twist can be called from miles out. 

I enjoyed Oblivion for it’s fun visuals, it’s over the top action sequences and beautiful landscapes, but it’s plot meanders so much in the mid-section that by the time the film’s few actual plot points hit I had already started to not care. For a movie about alien invaders, the end of planet earth and with Tom Cruise in the lead, the movie can be quite a bit boring.

When the third act roles around and all the cards are on the table, the twists have been laid out and we’re expected to just buy into this world, everything becomes laughable. Sci-fi tropes that should have gone the way of the dinosaur rear their ugly heads and the film gets more and more generic with a finale that tests the audiences faith in everything that’s come before it.

I’ll be writing a fully in depth analysis of what really doesn’t work in this film as it’s mostly spoiler based later. Now I want to go to bed and imagine that this film was better. 

Oblivion is gorgeous, Tom Cruise sells his character as best he can and with as little as he’s given. His two leading ladies are both interchangeable and when the plot twists come they get giggles from the audience followed by “Really? I’ve already seen movies do this and better!”