I didn’t have high expectations going into Oblivion. The premise seemed derivative, and the trailer felt like a mishmash of every other sci-fi flick known to man. So imagine my surprise when the film turned out to be not only quite entertaining, but highly engrossing and thought-provoking.
First off, Oblivion is visually staggering. Joseph Kosinki, the director, does an impeccable job of bringing Earth in 2077 to life. From sweeping landscapes to magnificent CGI that never pulls you out of the story, the entire production is a thoroughly immersive experience. And that mansion in the sky? Well let’s just say I’m somewhat hopeful Earth gets wiped out soon if that’s where I’ll be living.
It’s fascinating how Tom Cruise still manages to be so likeable as a movie star. The guy’s public persona has endured a lot of hoopala over the last decade, so it’s a genuine achievement that he can still carry a movie so proficiently. Cruise is relatable (and charismatic) in the most extraordinary of circumstances, and that really makes you root for the guy. In addition, he deftly balances the role of Jack Harper with the required badassery and a number of poignant emotional beats.
As for the rest of the cast, Andrea Riseborough as Victoria is a revelation. She’s both gorgeous and extremely capable of handling the film’s weightier moments. Less fortunate is Olga Kurylenko who was the weak spot in Quantunm of Solace and is equally unmemorable here. Unsurprisingly, Morgan Freeman assumes the same role he’s been playing for years. The proof: this is my second movie review in a row with Freeman playing yet another insightful-yet-determined leader. Seriously man, you’re an icon… expand your talents! People literally started laughing when his voice first blared through the speakers (or maybe they just remembered his Visa commercial)
The film’s most impressive accomplishment is that fact that it tackles some powerful themes and doesn’t stumble while exploring them. Is love rooted in a tangible presence? Or can it live past the corporeal form if the memories survive? Oblivion‘s script raises and tackles the question with a hopeful and strangely uplifting perspective. No spoilers here (for once) but the film’s twists are certainly surprising, and supply the narrative with some truly unexpected turns.
I do have to mention that trying to unravel the film’s mysteries is a bit of a confusing ordeal, and I had to Wikipedia the plot afterwards to make sure I was connecting everything properly. Nevertheless, the ride is well worth the investment.
Remarkably ambitious and often quite affecting, Oblivion is an effective blockbuster with real heart to boot.