run time: 124 mins
considered: Action, Adventure, Mystery
director: Joseph Kosinski
starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell, Abigail Lowe, Isabelle Lower, David Madison
movie summary: Extraterrestrial Scavengers attack earth, they destroy the moon which causes natural disasters across the planet. In an attempt to gain the upper hand humans decide to employ nuclear weapons to end the war. Humans have left the planet and now live on a different moon out in the galaxy. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) works with his partner Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) to protect gigantic fusion vessels that are stationed on earth that help provide natural resources back to the moon where humans live. Jack begins to experience dreams of a past life when those dreams become reality when Jack gets kidnapped by the scavengers.
Jack spends the majority of his days flying around the lifeless lands fixing droids that malfunction or get shot down by scavengers. When he finishes his mission for the day he tells Victoria that he’s gonna do a perimeter check which causes him to go in and out of communication with her. He goes off grid down into a ravine where he lands his chopper and takes a short hike to a little cabin he built. In this little retreat Jack takes off his suit, throws on a baseball cap, shoots some basketball, takes a nap in the grass, and drinks clean water from the lake. This is his little heaven, he can breathe and relax like humans used to before the 50 years war. While dozing off he dreams that he’s on top of the Empire State Building with a beautiful women, it’s always the same dream at the same particular moment with the same beautiful girl. When he wakes up he still can’t figure out why he keeps having the same recurring dream.
A few days later while Jack is on patrol he watches a space ship crash down into the middle of a field. He radios to Victoria that he is going to go check out the crash site for survivors, she warns that he shouldn’t because he could get killed. Jack lands next to the burning wreckage when he finds bodies frozen in tubes. The droids show up and begin to blow up the tubes when Jack prevents the shooting of a tube with a girl in it. After securing the tube Jack realizes it is the same girl from his dreams. He drags the tube to the chopper and brings it home so Victoria can help wake her up. Julia (Olga Kurylenko) finally wakes up and gets cleaned up before having her first real meal in over 60 years. She convinces Jack to bring her back to the ship to retrieve the flight data box, Victoria doesn’t want him to get in trouble with command so begs him not to go. Jack wakes up in the middle of the night to take Julia to the ship against orders. While scouting the crash site for the black box scavengers attack and kidnap them both.
Jack is brought to a cave deep in the earth by a group of ruthless scavengers led by Beech (Morgan Freeman), he wakes up an unconscious Jack to explain the situation. The scavengers surprise Jack in the fact they are human and not alien. Beech explains that when the war started they hid underground and wore their outfits to block the telepathy abilities of the aliens. They have been secretly waiting in the shadows for their moment to shine, now that they have Jack and Julia they can launch a droid equipped with a nuclear bomb back to the Tet. Jack doesn’t believe a word Beech or any of the other guys say until Beech tells him a story about the “radiation zone” and what he would find there if he ever venture across the line.
Jack and Julia are released so they can make their own decision whether or not to help them out. When they return home Victoria has reported Jack to command for not listening and a droid comes to kill them and burn the house down. Julia saves Jack and the pair fly off with three droids in hot pursuit. After avoiding being shot down the pair decide to check out Beech’s story about the radiation zone. As they enter past the point of no return they are shot down by a droid. When they crash-land, someone shows up the crash site and scares the heck out of both of them. After a fist fight between the two men Jack realizes what he must do and begins to set his plan in motion.
my thoughts: Oblivion is a love it or hate it kind of movie with both the audiences and critics. I saw the movie last year on opening weekend because two friends wanted to go, I wasn’t sold on the movie from the trailers and never really been a fan of sci-fi movies. I remember liking the movie and wanted to see it at least one more time before I decided to buy it. I had a coupon for a free rental from the Cineplex store and thought it was time to revisit Oblivion.
My second time through the movie I can say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first time but still agree with my rating from last year. There are a handful of action scenes, good characters, and a story that keeps you guessing until the credits start. The writing is really good for a sci-fi flick despite the fact it is all over the place at times and kinda confusing at the end…at least for me that is. It tries really hard to be an apocalypse kind of movie with a little sci-fi and romance thrown in. The movie focuses on six main characters which amazingly will keep you engaged for the full two hours.
Tom Cruise does a great job as Jack Harper, a man who loves his job and life but questions his past and future. When he begins to realize everything around him is not what it appears to be, he is smart and brave enough to take matters into his own hands. It would be really tough to be Jack in a world without humans, he just flies around all alone and his only contact is Victoria, but there is a silver lining to his job and that is his little safe haven in the woods. He knows that he is risking everything to make those trips to the house but those few precious moments of peace and quiet is worth everything to him. Underneath his wiped memory and military like skill set is just a guy who used to be an astronaut who loved his life and his bride to be. Luckily for him he gets a chance to relive those few bright moments in such a dark world.
I’d like warn everyone who picks up this movie and notices Morgan Freeman on the cover. You will probably think “oh wow Cruise and Freeman, this will be a great movie” but don’t hold your breath. Freeman doesn’t show up for about an hour and despite having a big part at the end is rarely used during the movie. Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko’s characters have more screen time and lines then him.
The last thing I wanted to share was my favourite part of the movie which isn’t a scene or character but the musical score by M83. It is amazing thanks to fast beats and exciting rhythms that help the story along as the action unfolds before our eyes. My favourite track is #18 the Canyon Battle, if you have a chance to listen to it on YouTube or iTunes you’ll understand why I love that song.
I enjoyed both screenings of Oblivion and would recommend it to someone who was interested in this kind of story. I made the decision that I will not buy this movie and be happy I saw it again before committing to purchasing it. It will be up to you to decide whether you like the story and characters or that this movie is a just another bust.
my star rating: 7 out 10
imdb.com: 7.0 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 54% out 100
rogerebert.com: 2 out 4