Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hey, that's Tom Cruise! A review of Oblivion.

Now I'm not the biggest fan of science fiction in the world.  I think the last Sci-Fi movie I saw in theaters was Prometheus...and the guys at Red Letter Media pretty much sum up how I felt about that movie:

That isn't how I feel about all Sci-Fi, I loved the original Alien, the original Star Wars trilogy, and I'm a big fan of cyberpunk (but I love most things with a noir vibe), but I never give Sci-Fi the benefit of the doubt that I'm going to enjoy it the way I do other genre's.  Would I have seen this movie if my girlfriend didn't want to go?  Probably not.  Or at least I would have waited until it was on Netflix.  But she wanted to go, so I went, and...I enjoyed it.

Not a glowing review, I know, but I would recommend seeing it and would even see it again (though probably not in theaters as fewer and fewer movies seem to get me in a second time nowadays).

As far as an actual review goes, it's hard to talk about this movie without entering spoiler land, but I'll try and avoid actual plot points.

So let's talk about the plot in the most general terms.  It was both predictable and not.  What I mean is there are a few things that just don't sit right with you from the beginning.  Part of that may be because the trailer was awfully revealing (though possibly deliberately misleading), part of that may be because we have seen enough dystopian future movies to know not to trust what we're told at the outset.  For whatever reason, they feed you a bunch of information at the beginning and you don't buy it (none of us in our group of four did).

That being said, there were ways in which it wasn't predictable.  It's like if you were at bat in a baseball game.  You've seen a couple of fastballs, so you guess the next pitch is going to be a slider.  You get a curveball instead.  You knew it was going to be offspeed, you just didn't guess the exact pitch.  That's how I feel the plot twists came at you in this film.  You knew something was coming, and even had a guess that was close, but what really happens isn't exactly what you guessed.  I think that's a good thing.  It isn't enough to blow your mind, but it is enough to keep you engaged.  One thing I would like to point out is that I've heard people say the movie is confusing.  It's not.  At all.  It jumps around once or twice in an unexpected way and forces you to realize what you're seeing, but if you can't do that...go watch Avatar, I guess...

As far as the visuals go, the film is gorgeous.  No two ways about it.  There are a lot of visually striking scenes ranging from platforms in the clouds, flights through deep canyons, gorgeous desert wastelands, and lush forests (which I wasn't expecting but I'm not revealing anything major).  The scenes are pretty, the people are pretty, everything is pretty.

The people...the acting in this movie was...adequate, I guess.  At first it's all Tom Cruise being very Tom Cruise and letting you know Tom Cruise is in this Tom Cruise film.  Tom Cruise.  I didn't mind.  That's what I expect from a Tom Cruise movie.  As far as the rest of the acting, it's okay.  It gets the job done.  You understand what they're feeling, you understand what's going on, the plot advances.  Everyone does a fine job, but no one really adds anything special to their role, nor do they detract from the movie.  I guess what I'm saying is anyone, even Morgan Freeman, could have been replaced, but no one felt like they needed to be.  It was people reading lines and emoting.

So what I felt left with at the end of two hours was a film that did it's job telling an interesting story, one that I could even be bothered to see again, one that left me entertained, but not one that blew my mind or left me wanting more.  The group I was with didn't talk too much about the film after it was over, and not in the Star Wars Episode 2 kind of way in which we were struck silent with the horribleness we had just witnessed, but in a this movie is a neat little film in a neat little box with a neat little bow on top.  Enjoyable, just not much to talk about.  Like I said, I would recommend it as a fun summer flick, just don't expect it to change your world.


  1. Good review. There are saving graces that will make me recommend seeing this in the cinema for the full visual experience, but there's not too much outside of that unless you just adore anything futuristic or post-apocalyptic.

    1. I agree...although I love post-apocalyptic films like Mad Max, Book of Eli, etc., and this doesn't really scratch the same itch.