¨60 years ago, Earth was attacked. We won the war, but they destroyed half the planet. Everyone`s been evacuated and nothing human remains.¨
Joseph Kosinski broke out as a director in 2010 with TRON: Legacy and before continuing his work on the sequel he took a break to direct his personal project, Oblivion, a sci-fi film which he had previously worked on as a graphic novel along with Arvid Nelson. He successfully adapted the screenplay and has created one of the most visually stunning films of the year. Oblivion looks great and has some terrific sci-fi action scenes with a strong charismatic lead role played by Tom Cruise. The supporting cast is also pretty strong, but the film focuses almost entirely on Cruise. That means that Cruise fans will probably love this film because he pretty much plays himself, while those people that can`t stand him will want to stay away from Oblivion. The best thing going for this sci-fi film are the great visual effects, while the weakest part is perhaps that it takes too many elements from dozen other sci-fi films and kind of meshes them altogether. On the positive side I was overall pleased with Oblivion considering at least that the studio took a risk at creating an original premise (and when I say original I mean that it wasn`t a sequel, prequel, or reboot of a previous film) and turned it into a fun and cool looking film. I actually enjoyed this movie much more than Kosinski`s previous film and hopefully this marks a great year for sci-fi film considering the upcoming After Earth and Elysium. As much as I liked Oblivion, I still have to admit that I felt Prometheus was a much superior film (thanks in most part to better performances).
The film opens with a narration from Jack (Tom Cruise) explaining how the Earth was devastated 60 years ago by a war between humans and an alien race known as Scavs who wanted Earth`s resources. We won the war, but the planet was devastated after the aliens destroyed part of the moon`s mass which caused several natural disasters. The population that managed to survive moved to one of Saturn`s moons known as Titan. It`s the year 2077 and the only humans on Earth are Jack and his partner Vica (Andrea Riseborough) who live in Tower 49. Jack is a technician in charge of repairing drones which are responsible for guarding the planet from attacks of surviving Scavs. Vica stays in the tower serving as Jack`s eyes and maintains communication with Sally (Melissa Leo), the mission commander living on the Tet (a large space ship in orbit around the Earth). They are in charge of safeguarding these giant machines that draw up water from the ocean to process it as energy in Titan. The few surviving scavs try to disrupt this process, but Jack and Vica are only two weeks away from parting from Earth to Titan. However, Jack is feeling nostalgic and is constantly having memory flashes of a woman (Olga Kurylenko) and he can`t quite figure out who she is since he has had his memory wiped after the war in order to serve his planet. Everything changes when a shuttle crashes on Earth carrying the woman Jack has seen in his dreams. Her name is Julia, and all of a sudden he begins to question everything that he has been doing.
I wasn’t too pleased with the way Kosinski decided to open the film having Cruise narrate the present situation, but the visuals won me over, and once the action begun I had a great time with the film. Like almost any other sci-fi film I felt there were some plot holes, but didn’t make much of them since the film kept me entertained throughout. Oblivion is a little over two hours long, but it has decent pacing and you never feel like the story drags. Morgan Freeman has a supporting role, but really doesn’t have much screen time. This is almost all about Cruise`s character, which is good although I thought Andrea Riseborough gave probably the best performance of the film. I like Kurylenko, but she doesn’t do anything memorable or ground breaking here. Oblivion isn’t a perfect sci-fi film, but it is an entertaining one and I had a great time at the movies. If you enjoy science fiction movies you will like Oblivion unless you are picky or expected a totally unique film. There are several moments where you will be reminded of some greater films which this movie was probably inspired by in one way or another (2001, Blade Runner, Moon, Logan`s Run, Independence Day, etc). A lot of credit has to be given to Kosinski however for making a somewhat original sci-fi film and making it entertaining. I would recommend this film!