Director: Joseph Kosinski
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Film Pulse Score: 6/10
Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion is not an easy film to review. There are plot twists abound in this science fiction/adventure that even mentioning the films that seemed to have inspired said twists will have given too much away. There is more to this film than the trailer shows. We’ll leave it at that.
When the film opens Jack Harper, through voice-over, brings the audience up to speed and describes the invasion. An alien force destroyed most of the moon and that had thrown the earth into a series of natural disasters. Earthquakes and floods ravaged the planet. The invaders took advantage of these disasters and attacked the planet. In time mankind defeated the invaders but in the process rendered Earth uninhabitable. Man has established life off-world and have set up processing plants to harvest water from the oceans. Jack and his partner/girlfriend Victoria are in the home stretch of their tour of duty to monitor and repair the drones that patrol the sector. That pretty much sets up the film. In the film it does feel like clunky exposition but it is certainly necessary.
Tom Cruise is great as Jack Harper. He pretty much carries the film. The rest of the cast, which is rather small, does what they can with what little they have. Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo are uniformly good with Freeman and Leo having the least amount of screen time.
While the twists and revelations were interesting the film did seem to lack a sense of fun. It takes itself very seriously and it could have used some humor. There are some action set pieces but they weren’t all that exciting. The visual effects are top notch. The desolation is nicely realized. Some of the CGI shots probably could have benefited from the use of practical models. They really stand out like a sour thumb if seen in IMAX.
Kosinski has fashioned an okay science fiction/fantasy that does have a certain level of familiarity when it comes to certain aspects of the story. There are plot points that really could have used some fleshing out but in the end it raises some interesting ideas. Unfortunately these cannot be discussed since it’ll spoil the movie.