April 12, 2013
I knew nothing about the story of "Oblivion" when I went in the theater, but when I came out I was completely awed by this movie. This is the first film this year that I feel is a real contender for Oscar nominee consideration.
The story is intelligent without being too "Inception"-like in its telling and development. The setting is the future after aliens have destroyed the Earth. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a technician who fixes drones or "Wall- E"-like flying robot police gofers of that time. He works with with his partner Vika (Andrea Riseborough) and they report to a talking head on their computer named Sally (Melissa Leo). He keeps having flashbacks of going around the observation deck of the Empire State Building with a woman. One day, he rescues a female crew member of a pod that crash-landed named Julia (Olga Kurylenko), who could be connected with his past. A band of human rebels (led by Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) gives Jack an insight on his real nature. I could not divulge anymore plot details so as not to spoil your enjoyment of this must-see film.
The technical aspects of this film were flawless. The cinematography by Claudio Miranda was breathtaking, and the director really takes his time with these beautiful imagery. The art direction for this futuristic setting, from the stylish tech towers to the ruins of Manhattan, were all very well done. That transparent flying machine they use is radical in design and movement. The visual effects, so integral for science fiction films like this, were very subtle, not obtrusive at all. The atmospheric musical score was awesome, from the big orchestral sweeping ones for grandeur to those small quiet rhythmic ones for suspense.
Tom Cruise does very well in this movie as the central character Jack. He does not overact this time. On the contrary, he was quite unusually reserved in his approach, underplaying, which was perfect for his character. I am not exactly thinking of an acting nomination or anything though but he is so right for the role. Freeman and the exotic Bond girl also do well in their smaller supporting roles.
OK, there are some derivative scenes which may remind you of "Star Wars" or "Planet of the Apes." But more important than those minor observations, writer-director Joseph Kosinski really had a good story and he tells it very well indeed. He knows how to maximize the talents of his crew to create this audacious yet reflective sci-fi masterpiece. Highly recommended! .