Oblivion: New Twist to the Post-Apocalyptic World

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Movie Reviews, New Releases
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rating: 3/4

If there is one thing I hate about movies that try to deal with the post-apocalyptic world, it is that they all show us more of the same.  Earth is a complete wasteland.  The protagonist is usually searching for other signs of human life, be it by himself or with one or two other people that have survived whatever struck Earth.  Of course, they usually find a group of humans that are living in a small, hidden community they have created, and together, they fight off whatever attacked them, giving Earth a new chance to be what it once was.  This is what I was expecting when I was about to watch “Oblivion“, more of the same.  Turns out that I was wrong.  “Oblivion”, while following parts of the usual simple-minded plot of post-apocalyptic movies, is able to give the plot some unexpected tweaks that make of Oblivion a pretty good movie.

In ” Oblivion”, directed, produced, and co-written by Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper, Tech 49, one of the last few humans stationed in the 2077 Earth.  Along with his work and romantic partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), his job is to extract all of Earth’s remaining vital resources, which had been almost completely destroyed after the Scavs (short for Scavengers), an alien race, invaded it.  Victoria and Jack only had two more weeks left in Earth, after which their commander Sally (Melissa Leo) had promised them a place in Titan, the lunar colony where civilization had moved to after the war tore Earth apart.  However, when he saves a strange woman (Olga Kurylenko) from a crashed spacecraft, he starts questioning everything that he knows, for this woman had been haunting his dreams for as long as he can remember.

“Oblivion” is one of the most beautiful looking movies of recent times, with Joseph Kosinski, who already showed his eye for creating beautiful imagery in Tron Legacy, showing beauty in what is supposed to be a wasteland.  In the beginning of the movie, Jack looks at the New York Giants Stadium, the Super Bowl Champions of 2017, the last Super Bowl celebrated.  He is able to remember hearing about this game, and remember the last play of the game that gave the Giants the title: a Hail Mary.  Remembering this, one can see how Jack Harper finds hope in the things that he sees in the wasteland that Earth has become.  Kosinski is to thank for being able to create such beautiful scenery.

Where “Oblivion” falls flat is in the structuring of the plot.  For the first half of the movie, the audience can easily follow everything that is happening, with one of the best and simplest introductions that a movie can offer.  However, in the second half, the movie has its ups and downs.  The ups definitely come from the “what the f…” moments that the movie smartly offers.  I can count from the top of my head three of these.  Now, when the plot tries to actually explain these moments, there come the problems.  “Oblivion” tries too much to overwhelm the audience by jumping from the present to the past through flashbacks.  These flashbacks are useful for some plot points, but at other moments, they just create confusion.  These create some plot holes that are never entirely explained in the movie – or at least not explained in an understandable way.

However, the movie is able to make people forget about  these plot holes, thanks to outstanding performances by all the actors that take part in it.  Tom Cruise, who has been showing what a great actor he is in his recent movies, once again gives a performance to remember.  Morgan Freeman, as always, administers his character to perfection.  But the biggest surprise yet, in my opinion, is the acting of the two female leads, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko.  Andrea Riseborough gives a great performance as that perfect worker who does not dare break the rules.  She is able to transmit through her character Victoria a sense of complete seriousness, a seriousness that, as one figures out throughout the movie, is due largely to her worries and her anxiousness to be able to reunite with civilization in Titan.  Olga Kurylenko gives the best performance I have seen from her as the character who wants Jack Harper to remember the past, being able to show how her character transits from shock, to sadness, to desperation, to happiness.  She is the actress who transmits emotions throughout the movie without any doubt.

It is true that “Oblivion” will not go down as one of the best post-apocalyptic movies.  However, the fact that “Oblivion” tries to give a new look at these post-apocalyptic movies by twisting the plot a little bit, even if a little bit too much, is what makes this one stand out from other movies of the same genre.  And any script problem that “Oblivion” may have, is easily overcome by its beautiful and striking visuals and its outstanding performances.

Oblivion Trailer:


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