Review: Oblivion

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Oblivion is the kind of film that if you reveal anything major about the plot you will give away a good portion of the movie. Since that is the case I will not be giving away plot details. However, if you have seen any of the below listed films you already know partially what is going to happen in Oblivion. In no particular order:

The Matrix

Moon

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

2001: A Space Odyssey

Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones

District 9

The Road Warrior

I could go on but you get the idea; Oblivion is not a very original film. It’s based on a comic book by Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson, so that might explain things a bit. They took bits and pieces from films that are well known within the post-apocalyptic and sci-fi genres and made their own story. I’m not going to knock them for that since writers of comics and novels do that every single day. However, the ideas that have been lifted are very, very obvious. I don’t know how much the screenplay was changed from the comic, since I haven’t read it, but Kosinski was involved in that as well so I’m thinking that the film isn’t too far off from the original source. If the screenplay was more original I wouldn’t have been thinking of a whole list of different movies while I was going home last night.

The screenplay may be unoriginal but it really is a gorgeous looking film. With major studio money behind it the CGI effects are very top notch and nothing looked really badly rendered. The landscape of a wasted Earth seemed suitably dead and wasted. The Washington DC area reminded me of the video game Fallout 3, but that’s just because I’m a bit of a gaming nerd and hold a great affection for the ruined landscape of that city. I really liked how old skyscrapers were rendered to become a semi-permanent part of the environment. It was as if the buildings became useful to nature, which makes sense since that is what would happen to abandoned structures in the wasteland

Now, I was originally very torn about whether I was going to see this film or not because I think Tom Cruise is a total nutcase. I have a hard time watching films that he stars in without thinking about how he is very publicly brainwashed. However, I know it’s not fair to totally judge an actor’s performance on what happens in their private life so I decided to give him a chance. Cruise is pretty good in it but there are love scenes in the film which seem really added on. It’s like they are trying to prove that Cruise is a man’s man or something silly like that. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he has something in his contract that stated that he must be portrayed as a sexy beast so that people can’t question his sexual orientation. I may sound like a conspiracy theorist but those scenes do seem pretty unnecessary in terms of forwarding the plot. If a man and a woman are going to be living in isolation for years of course you’re going to think they’re going to have sex, you don’t have to be shown it.

Towards the end of the film there is a MAJOR mistake that I immediately caught. It is so obvious that I can’t believe that Kosinski, who also directed this, didn’t catch it. It’s like he couldn’t quite figure out how to finish the film so he tacked on an ending and said fuck it. Either that or somebody majorly messed up in the editing room.  The only clue I’m going to give you is ‘the pod’. Unlike the director I don’t think you’re stupid so I know you’ll figure it out if you decide to watch it. One other thing, that may seem small and unimportant to others, that bothered me was the clothing of the non Tom Cruise characters. How the hell do characters find advanced tech clothing that fits them perfectly in the wasteland? Is there a wasteland store that sells new looking clothes? If you watch something like The Road Warrior, which is among the best post-apocalyptic films, you notice that characters are wearing clothes that look scavenged from different sources.

Loving both the post-apocalyptic and sci-fi genres I can appreciate the effort put forth when a director decides to make such a film. I know I have bitched about Oblivion quite a bit, but that’s because I think it could have been so much better. The screenplay is weak while the film itself is very nice to look at. I think that if you love sci-fi or post-apocalyptic genre type films you should see it because you’ll be entertained, but in the end I don’t think you’ll be overly impressed.

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