Wednesday 17 April 2013

Movie Reviews - Oblivion

Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Universal Pictures
In Cinemas Now - Rated 12A
Review by Rob Wade

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, Jack's mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the skies from thousands of feet above, his existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a 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.

Say what you like about Tom Cruise (and hey, this is the Internet - you can and will say what you like about whatever you like), but personal life aside I'd be hard pushed to find one of his movies that I've watched and didn't enjoy. Even movies like Tropic Thunder, which wasn't an amazing movie by any means, boasted an amazing cameo by Cruise. It was with cautious optimism, then, that I approached Oblivion, particularly as the movie included a number of my favourite things, namely:

  • A name shared with an awesome game.
  • A post-apocalyptic setting
  • Pew-pew sci-fi violence, especially involving lasers.
  • Olga Kurylenko
(It sort of goes without saying that Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise find their way into my list of favourite things as well, I would hope).

Visually, this movie is absolutely stunning in motion, albeit incredibly heavy on CG effects, and without meaning to sound like one of those "dur hur shiny" people who are sufficiently influenced by CG to the point of excusing a bad film (like those people who justified the final two Matrix movies as cinematic masterpieces rather than, say, "alright"), I would go as far as to say that if CG is the future, films like Oblivion show that this doesn't have to be a bad thing.

There are some good solid performances in the movie. Tom Cruise plays a good likeable Tom Cruise character (because let's face it, most actors play themselves in various forms), but the star of the show in my estimation is Andrea Riseborough who plays Victoria, Harper's team mate. The soundtrack to this movie is also excellent, and is especially recommended here at E14 if you're into a few of the sci-fi game soundtracks of recent years (it brought to mind memories of playing Mass Effect 2, to give you an idea).

The CG is also well utilised in the action scenes, with the few flight scenes and the smattering of laser battles coming out really well, but having said that it would have been nice to see the film include a little more action, considering that the volume of special effects is so considerable.

The story is a strong one, but if I have one criticism of this film (and it's most certainly a complaint that finds itself in a very small list), it's that the film takes a long time setting the scene, and could very easily lose a few minutes here and there which wouldn't detract from the film's story explanation, and would improve the flow of the movie. As it is, the movie doesn't come in at much longer than two hours, and it's not like that's long by modern film standards, and the movie feels like you get a large chunk of fairly important story in one piece, which could have easily been spread out over a few previous scenes. These, however, are minor gripes, in what is otherwise a mighty fine motion picture.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: A fair bit of sci-fi violence, with lasers flying about the place and people being vapourised.
Sex/Nudity: One of the female characters swims in the buff, but it's tastefully obscured.
Swearing: One strong instance, a few mild curses.
Summary: Further proof that try as one might to discredit Cruise for being a bit weird, his movie legacy is one of the finest. Most definitely one to check out if sci-fi is your bag. 8/10

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