Oblivion IMAX review
Tom Cruise Stars In Personal Sci-Fi Pastiche
Oblivion is the first of several post-apocalyptic science-fiction films to be released in 2013; the closest example of which would be After Earth. It’s too early to notice a pattern after one sci-fi film, but it cannot be denied that Oblivion is a film we’ve seen before. Despite its predictable twists, Oblivion is still an enjoyable adventure best told in an IMAX theater. Director Joseph Cosinski proves that despite his mainly CGI-created film (TRON: LEGACY) that he still has a distinct, unique directing style (mainly his choice and use of music). Tom Cruise’s performance is yet another notch in the movie star’s acting career in terms of mediocre plots made extraordinary by his unmistakable charisma.
First off the bat, that-New York Yankees-hat-wearing Tom Cruise stars in a film that contains his face is almost every scene. Oblivion had progressed well into production when actress Katie Holmes (not The Dark Knight) filed for- and finalized her divorce with star Cruise — who was left shocked and alienated following the surprising news. Finding no other way to make lemonade with those lemons, Cruise put the personal struggle occurring in his current life and flawlessly translating it into the film’s lead, Jack Harper. Harper and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough- Never Let Me Go, Happy-Go-Lucky) are commissioned to observe, maintain and repair drones and towers on an Earth left devastated following an war involving an alien invasion that looked like the opposite of the end of Independence Day. Their chemistry is believable and is not at the heart of the film as it would seem in the first act. His chemistry is also unmistakable with co-female lead Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Max Payne). I believe this shows the duality of his real life in moving on from a life with Katie Holmes and back into the single life. His intensity never wavers and he shows that Jack Reacher was no fluke — he still has a good time making movies.
The supporting cast doesn’t give any particularly memorable performances and the two female leads play their parts admirably in roles that seemed too undeveloped for Riseborough and too rushed for Kurylenko. Morgan Freeman proves that “South Park’s” political commentary is still as sharp as ever in his role as the well-spoken, wise man that shows up to explain the painfully obvious plot (Moon and the novel Ender’s Game seem applicable here especially). I waited for the scene where Morgan Freeman’s new freckle would show up, but it must not have made it past the cutting room floor. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”) and Zoe Bell (Grindhouse) also contribute as surviving humans sworn to Freeman’s cause.
Director Joseph Kosinski helms a film that solidifies his name in a list of talented new wave of post-9/11 filmmakers on the Hollywood scene. After all, Disney gave him north of $200 million to helm his first ever feature film with TRON: Legacy. Kosinski’s unique eye for CGI landscape lends itself well to a film shot Iceland: a country on the hot list for sci-fi filming locations (Prometheus, “Game of Thrones”). However, it’s implantation of- and stylistic ear for- music. Daft Punk’s soundtrack for TRON: Legacy amounted to nothing short of epic and the same is to be said of M83’s score for Oblivion.
While Oblivion is an entertaining, intense science-fiction-action-drama, its narrative is directly reminiscent of both Duncan Jones films (Moon, Source Code). However, Cruise’s performance, M83’s soundtrack and the technology of the IMAX theater make Oblivion a solid trip to the movies.