Review: Oblivion

Oblivion surprised me. With all of the reviews I read ahead of time (io9, Escape to the Movies, Schlock Mercenary), I was expecting a pretty yet ultimately without depth, science fiction mystery/action piece1 What I got… was a pretty yet ultimately without much depth, science fiction mystery/action piece2

My first thought coming out of the film was that I wish I hadn’t seen the trailers. That’s not something that I generally think–and I can’t guarantee I would have gone to see the film in the first place without them–but in this case I think it holds. There were scenes in the trailers that made plot twists essentially obvious. Granted, they’re not exactly subtle about them, but I would have preferred at least a modicum of surprise when (beep beep beep). Nah, I don’t need to spoil anything this time.

That being said, the plot was actually pretty well done. It’s been said that the entire things feels like a mishmash of every half-baked sci-fi idea they could fit in, but I think that if that’s the case, they mishmashed them together pretty well. I won’t go into any details–since a lot of the details would be spoilers in themselves–but they seem to hit all of the notes.

That being said, there were a few issues with the plot / science in the movie. As mentioned in the Schlock Mercenary, what sort of disaster could bury entire cities yet leave the tallest (and most recognizable  buildings standing? Then for being set only ~75 years in the future, the technology seemed pretty advanced3. At one point in the film, there’s a ship obstensibly far out into space, but there’s absolutely no communication lag. Even the lag to the moon is over a second, as far out as they were supposed to be… they’d be far more alone. Also, what in the world were Jack and Victoria doing there in the first place4? And what was going on in the rest of the world?

Then there were the characters. For how (relatively) few there were in the movie, they did a pretty good job with the casting.  is Tom Cruise and I think they probably could have found a better Jack5678 though, was excellent as always and  was great as Cruise’s partner, although the (PG-13) nudity just for the sake of nudity felt out of place… The scenes with both women in them were awkward and I feel like there must have been more tension there, likely left on the cutting room floor. Also, it was mildly disconcerting to see Jaime Lannister ()–I really couldn’t see him as a separate character9.

In any case, like I said: I was surprised by Oblivion. I expected a bottom of the barrel sort of sci-fi flick. Instead, I got an enjoyable film that was well worth the price of admission. It’s a bit overlong, but the last scenes do a good enough job of making you forget about that. I’ll admit that I really do like sci-fi, which certainly didn’t hurt, this being really the first sci-fi I’ve seen this year. It makes me want to write some more of my own.

All in all, I’m going to put Oblivion as number 4 for the year. If you like sci-fi, go see it–it’s certainly not terrible. 😄

  1. Try saying that ten times fast…. ↩︎

  2. Two down…. ↩︎

  3. Although that’s actually explained, but it would have been nice for the main characters to ask about that ↩︎

  4. That will make more sense once you’ve seen the move. ↩︎

  5. Speaking of which, just how many Jacks has he played over the years? ↩︎

  6. Also, it’s really amusing to notice how they try to deal with how… vertically challenged he is. Sometimes within the same scene he goes from being just as tall as the other characters to substantially shorter with just a change of view. ↩︎

  7. Also also, I’m ignoring the more interesting parts of the Tom Cruise universe for a reason. ↩︎

  8. Also also also, footnotes forever! ↩︎

  9. I may have been rewatching Game of Thrones recently ↩︎