Review: Director Joseph Kosinski has already proven his prowess with settings and effects with Tron Legacy. In this case, one can call it scenery; Oblivion is a beautifully shot film. For a movie about Earth in 2077 ravaged by nuclear war, it sure looks amazingly picturesque. Everything from the destroyed remains of the moon to the spacecraft the protagonist flies (including the dirt bike he pulls out of the back), the attention to detail, the beauty of it all is astonishing. The scale of this magnum opus, will surely draw you in. This is one big budget visual extravaganza.
Based on Kosinski’s graphic novel, the long prologue delivers the setting of the movie and Earth 2077. An alien invasion caused nuclear war on Earth 60 years ago. We won the war but lost the planet. It was left in ruins. Whoever remains has now gone to begin civilization on one of Saturn’s moons – Titan. After draining out the required energy resources from the oceans, which is an ongoing process we are told, what remains now is the mop-up crew – Drone technician Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner and the strategic liaisons officer Victoria (Andrea Riseborough). She co-ordinates with a giant monolith-like object in space that serves as a mission command centre between whoever is now the authority on Titan and our mop-up crew. Jack and Victoria live on a state-of-the-art floating space station above the Earth. You might want to pay attention to details when you’re watching the film, it may be difficult to keep up otherwise.
After establishing the stunning setting and background of our story, is when the problem begins. The pace slackens as you watch Jack take out his spacecraft and fly down to Earth everyday to repair the drones that keep the planet safe from whatever remaining Alien activity there is. It is a bit of a drag till you get to see the required plot points arrive. When they do, they explode, leaving you confused (the ones who weren’t paying attention) and go back to a slow narrative once again.
Even when the emotional triggers were pulled, they felt oddly robotic. The movie as a whole, lacked soul. Tom Cruise delivers a mixed performance, somewhere in between his action-hero style we all know and an underplayed space technician. Olga Kurylenko’s performance is overshadowed by the excellent Andrea Riseborough. A cold ice–maiden that breaks only as her character falls apart towards the end.
An interesting factor of the premise includes, the fact that Jack and Victoria have their immediate memories wiped clean so no intel can be extracted by enemies. But Jack is still haunted by the dreams of his past. A past that suddenly comes crashing down one day and changes everything. What are the authorities not telling him? Are his suspicions true? Is everything what it really seems? A mysterious band of vigilantes might have answers.
I was disappointed on the whole, despite the stunning visuals and the intriguing premise. But you make your choice. The visuals may be worth the admission price to you.