Everytime seeing the trailer for this one I thought that it’s surely a good looking film and at least entertaining. But it didn’t capture me and made me think that I would definitely have to see this. It’s been out in theaters for a while now and probably in its closing weeks. Just for fun I decided to go see a movie and since nothing else really interested me I picked this one. And I think I’m not the only one who had the mindset of “Sure, looks good… but meh, I’ll wait for the bluray.” I’m certainly glad I decided to go see it on the big screen. Now the movie gets often labeled as a ‘Live-action Wall-E’. Understandable. But only if you haven’t seen the whole movie and know the full story.
We enter this world where the human race got heavily decimated by an alien attack on Earth. In that battle the moon got torn apart and the aftermath left Earth in ruins. The humans won but Earth is pretty much a wasteland. Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are a team that is stationed on Earth to maintain drones. These drones protect gigantic towers that convert water into… I don’t know… atmosphere maybe. Which is then brought to a moon near Titan where the rest of mankind is trying to survive. The only contact Jack and Victoria (who are also a couple) have is a giant station that orbits Earth. Both of them are two weeks away from having done their duty and their chance to get back to a normal life. When suddenly drones disappear and go down, Jack tries to find them, which starts a chain of events that will eventually lead him to a truth he always kind of suspected or had a feeling of. Something is wrong with all this.
I could write much more about the movie’s plot but that would lead me into spoiler territory. Let’s just say that there are a couple of twists that manage to give the plot quite a turn. And that’s exactly what the movie does right. Most movies tend to have a straight line that leads the viewer through the movie. Other movies have plot-twist overload and manage to completely confuse the audience. Not this one! It does have its twists but these are placed and written good enough to keep the viewer on track. And it does that nicely until the end credits play. That is something I cannot stress enough. We are talking about a movie that has more than 2 hours runtime. The movie is so cleverly written in its timing that it presents you answers at always the right time. And no, it’s not one of these movies that leaves questions open. At least when it comes to the main plotlines. Everything you have to know is answered when the film is done. Which makes the movie a really satisfying experience. It’s no sequel bait.
There are a couple of things that bugged me. Mainly about how the Earth’s environment looks. I understand that a war and a devastated moon would leave Earth quite stressed out. But they talk about how the war ended 60 years ago while the story plays 2077. There is a certain point in the movie where they could have placed the happenings in the movie a couple of thousand years in the future. Which would have added a completely new layer to it all. Especially in engaging the viewer to think about what all happened in the meantime. It would also have worked better (at least a little bit) in explaining what happened to Earth’s environment. But they stuck with the easy explanation of 60 years. That’s probably the only part that really bugged me.
The acting was solid and all characters believable. You may think about Tom Cruise’s private life what you want… but this guy can act. In that field he’s certainly one of the best we have. And he’s in top shape for this movie. Some of the VFX shots can only be described as beautiful. No shaky cam and no quick cuts. The movie knows its strengths and plays its cards well. Every scene has exactly the right amount of screen time it deserves. Like I said earlier… just great timing.
The feel, look, design, sound and music works well too. Both the music and sound strongly remembered me of Mass Effect. Same goes for the polished look of everything. So if they ever want to do a Mass Effect movie they should watch this one. The director Joseph Kosinski did only one other movie (Tron: Legacy) and pulled off quite some work with Oblivion. Especially since the story and plot was written by Kosinski and Arvid Nelson. Makes you wonder what he can do in his future. Definitely someone to keep on the radar.
If you are a Scifi fan you will probably notice a lot of elements Oblivion borrowed from other stuff. May it be movies, games or books. I’m a Scifi fan and enjoy movies with a great atmosphere. If you like movies that take you by the hand and make you explore a mystery along with the main characters in the movie. Then this one is perfect for you. It certainly has it’s flaws but all of them forgivable.