Apr 112013
 

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When Earth is all but gone and you’re holding on to a small handful of beliefs; what do you do when those beliefs are shaken to their very core? Oblivion review after the jump.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last humans left on earth. 60 years earlier aliens invaded, blowing up half the moon, which subsequently triggered a series of catastrophic natural disasters. Those who managed to survive the quakes and devastating tsunami were almost all wiped out by the aliens who came down and attacked soon after. Somehow the soldiers managed to fend off the aliens; but Earth was lost and the survivors travelled to one of Saturn’s moons, where they resettled.

Jack is on Earth for drone maintenance. Along with his assigned partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), the two look after the drones and protect the precious hydro-towers which are sucking the Earth dry for the new colony. With only 2 weeks left of their mission, an old NASA craft crash lands on Earth, after 60 years floating around in space. The arrival of this craft and its lone survivor Julia (Olga Kurylenko) upsets the balance in Jack’s world. His and Victoria’s memories were wiped for the safety of the mission, but Julia knows everything – she was their when the aliens came and she knows what’s really going on.

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Writer/director Joseph Koinski has done an amazing job in creating a special big screen experience. As we saw in TRON: Legacy, he knows his visuals and he knows how to get the most out of them with a fantastic score. In his second feature film he has repeated this and so much more. Oblivion is quite simply, epic.

The world created in this film is beautiful and detailed. I thoroughly enjoyed following Tom Cruise’s character around as he initially carried out his duties and tried to enjoy the last remaining beauty that Earth had to offer; and then as he began to unlock the secrets and understand what was really happening. It felt like I was experiencing his confusion and his helplessness alongside him. It was tense, atmospheric  and quite literally edge-of-your-seat stuff, that had a surprising amount of emotional resonance; for as well as being a thrilling action film (with some fantastic tightly-shot action sequences) , it’s also a character-driven drama.

For many people the fact that Tom Cruise is the leading man in Oblivion is enough to put them off seeing it – don’t let that stop you. Cruise does a great job at fully embodying the tough yet perturbed soldier. Cruise has fantastic chemistry with Olga Kurylenko, who has the challenging task of opening his eyes. Melissa Leo has a small role, but it’s enough to make me wish she hadn’t. I’d like to see her play against type and give us something new.

While I could continue to praise the film, I also have to acknowledge the massive catalogue of science-fiction (and otherwise) films which it borrows from. Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey; Star Wars; Moon; Wall E; I am Legend and the list goes on. This film draws extensively from many sources; and in my opinion, it does so to great effect. For some this will be an issue, but I was so engrossed in the compelling story unfolding in front of me that I didn’t mind at all. For me this film was a mystery that I worked with Jack Harper to solve – it bought me in and I loved the experience.

Oblivion is a big screen film – it’s the type of movie that you want to see in the biggest and loudest way possible. A true sci-fi epic that will take you on an unpredictable journey in fantastically crafted world.
 

4/5
 

By Sam McCosh

 

The Facts

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer(s): Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek & Michael Arndt (screenplay)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko Andrea Riseborough, Melissa Leo
Runtime: 126 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & NZ: April 11 2013; USA: April 19 2013

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