Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Allan Brown4
Movie Review: Oblivion 3D (2013)
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Olga Kurylenko
Plot: Following the Alien invasion and subsequent nuclear war on Earth, Jack, who is assigned to extract and protect Earth’s remaining resources, begins to question his mission when a chain of events opens his eyes as to what is really afoot.
Director Joseph Kosinski whose last venture was Disney’s long awaited follow up to the 80s cult classic Tron. This time Kosinski brings us another science fiction, epic, adventure headlined by none other than Hollywood powerhouse, Tom Cruise.
Our story begins in the year 2073. A full 60 years have passed since an alien invasion nearly destroyed the planet. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) one of the last drone technicians stationed on Earth, who, along with colleague and wife Victoria, (Andrea Riseborough) must complete their duties as “An effective team” on the cleanup operation of grid 49. Their duties are to project and extract the planets remaining resources, whilst keeping the remaining threat of the invasion at bay. Jack and Victoria have little more than two weeks of their operation left before they too can join the rest of the human race on Saturn’s moon, Titan. All is going to plan until a chain of events trigger uncertainty, unlocking lost memories as everything Jack once believed begins to unravel.
Even a Hollywood blockbuster with all its bells and whistles must merit a storyline with interesting characters to anchor it and unfortunately this is where Oblivion strays off course.
Oblivion starts with promise and is driven with pace. The opening 20 minutes offers plenty of intrigue and visual wonder, as we follow jack on his daily duties across the vast and barren landscape that is now Manhattan. One of the first striking details you are met with is the sheer visual scale and art direction of the film, which is undeniably epic. The clean, sharp, crisp, clinical CGI touches, depicting the advancements in technology of our future, blend seamlessly with the real life and very rugged landscape. The marriage of real location and CGI restraint is beautifully balanced, for once, and is again testament to the wonderful art direction on show.
Kosinski pays homage to many Sci-Fi classics throughout which are seen in the visual, sound and story element of Oblivion. References range from, HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, ED209 in Paul Verhoeven’s 1974 cult classic Robocop, The Matrix, Moon, Independence Day and of course Mad Max. Even the odd set pieces are clear influences and nods to the directors peers (Death Star trench sequence in Star Wars IV: A New Hope).
Even a Hollywood blockbuster with all its bells and whistles must merit a storyline with interesting characters to anchor it and unfortunately this is where Oblivion strays off course. What is missing here is any respective character development, substance or even the existence of a script. Conversations last no longer than a few minutes and give very little insight into any of our characters. The almost always reliable Tom Cruise (last seen in Jack Reacher – review), does what he can with the script but at times looks lost, without any real material to get his teeth into or to build on. This unfortunate missing element plagues all the characters of the film. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Mama – review, Game of Thrones) and heavyweight Morgan freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) provide nothing more than extended cameos and are utilized only as fleeting plot devises, devoid of any depth. Cruise and co are unfortunately only footnotes in Kosinski‘s hazy vision and are used as nothing more than pawns by a director whose main concern is the visual and aesthetic look of the film.
From its intriguing start to its weary and shallow climax, the movie progresses slowly but surely into a brainless action film, complete with tactless one-liners. Any intrigue, tension or mystery built in the first act soon vanishes and makes way for a mediocre, no brainier, seen it all before, mash up of action set pieces that offer nothing original or exciting, and in fact only further highlight the directors sheer laziness to what matters……Story!
Summary: Director Kosinski spends more time here focusing on the aesthetics than the things that matter, A script, characters……..A pulse! I can’t help but feel this Sci-Fi blockbuster could have been so much more in the hands of Steven Spielberg or a JJ Abrams...Sigh