Saturday 27 April 2013

Oblivion Movie Review!!!

Oblivion meaning to be completely forgotten.  Will the movie follow its namesake?? Read on to find out!

Tom Cruise is one busy guy these days, following up his big hit Ghost Protocol with the pretty great Reacher movie and now word reaching us of his continuation in the sci-fi genre with All You Need Is Kill due out next year and the Manga space jet-fighter adaptation Yukikaze after that.

So how does Oblivion fare at the hands of Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski?  The answer is pretty darn well. 

It could very easily have been a Hollywood sci-fi by numbers generic crapfest but instead what we have on our hands is a well-crafted, thoughtful, involving sci-fi movie that I personally enjoyed very much.  Cruise really seems to be on a roll with his film choices these days.

The story goes that in the future, following a nuclear war with aliens known as Scavs, the earth is a barren wasteland.  We may have won the war but it has left the planet a shadow of its former self.  Mankind has relocated to Titan, the biggest moon of Saturn.  Cruise remains on earth to protect and maintain huge devices that use the oceans to provide power for our space station orbiting earth and for life on Titan.  Large flying spheres called drones help to fight off remaining Scavs who may be trying to attack these power generators and it’s Jacks job (Cruise) to maintain these things.  It’s a solitary existence if not for his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough).

Imagine something like Wall-E but with more muted and under saturated colours and you’ll have a rough idea of what this vision of future earth looks like.  From the way certain shots are framed, to the pacing, mood and the overall aesthetic of the movie, at times it’s quite obvious that this movie is made by the director of Tron Legacy.  There seems to be a palpable yet understated style to Kosinski’s filmmaking that lends itself well to sci-fi.

Life appears dull and highly repetitive as Jack and Victoria strive to remain an effective team reporting back to the people calling the shots from the space station in the sky.  

Part of the job description is that all your memories must be wiped before starting so that if you’re ever captured by Scavs they will not be able to get anything out of you.  There is only two weeks left before the job is complete and Jack and Victoria can return to Titan but Jack is haunted by visions, unclear if they are simply dreams or forgotten memories.  He finds solace in a hideaway he has made for himself, an old school cabin by a lake amidst lush greenery.  He is never able to venture too far from base for fear of entering the radioactive areas outside of his sector.

Things of course are never as simple as they seem and soon Jack is found questioning everything he thought he know about the past following the appearance of the woman from his dreams.

This is a real gem of a movie but it’s very difficult to talk about this movie and explain why I enjoyed it so much without giving away spoilers, so for those of you who wish to discover this movie for yourselves, and I strongly urge that you do, then please DO NOT read beyond my rating.

This is a surprisingly great movie that left me feeling content and deeply satisfied.  I didn’t see quite a few of the plot twists coming and when they hit me I couldn’t help but smile to myself.

Really really good stuff  - please check it out!

Rating 4.5 out of 5


Now let’s get into the nitty gritty that made me really love this movie.

It’s obvious from the get go that things are not going to be as they seem but it’s the way that these turns and twists are delivered that left me thinking about this movie for days after seeing it.

The mystery woman who appears in a crashed space pod turns out to be Jack’s wife Julia played by Olga Kurylenko.  She remembers him but Jack can’t remember anything besides a few fragments of broken memories.  Julia wishes to go back to the site where her space pod crashed to find out what happened to her ship.  The pair get ambushed by what we are expected to believe are Scavs.  But anyone that’s seen the trailer will already be expecting to see Morgan Freeman as Beech.  He presents to Jack the reality that in fact the humans did not win the war with aliens and evacuate to Titan.  In fact the space station in the sky from which Jack is taking commands turns out to be the real aliens and they’re sucking up all of the earths resources from our oceans using the giant generators that Jack has so far been protecting.  Jack isn’t expected to be just spoon fed such an alternative reality and accept it, as such, Beech sends Jack to go and see from himself.

Things however get much more confusing for jack.  In a bid to outrun some attacking drones he inadvertently finds himself in his jet flying into the dangerous radioactive zone, crashing his ship there.  He stumbles out of his jet to find an almost identical jet and then an identical pilot.  That’s right there’s another Jack who we shall call Jack 2.  Jack 2 sees Jack and Julia, the woman of his dreams.  He is bewildered, giving Jack an opportunity to take down Jack 2 and tie him up.  Jack slowly realizes everything Beech had told him was indeed true.

The space station in the sky was the alien ship and the real Jack years ago was part of a convoy that was sent to greet the alien ship.  What returned, however, were thousands of Jack clones as well as Victoria clones.  They were each isolated to a different sector and prevented from venturing out of their zone with propaganda that radiation lurked outside of their allocated zones and that they’d die if they ever ventured out.

The dreams Jack was having about Julia were memories from the real Jack’s real life.  Jack starts to think he’s not Jack but just a clone with someone else’s memories but Julia helps him to believe he is Jack.  He looks like Jack, has Jack’s memories, talks like him, walks like him and loves Julia.  He is Jack.

Jack and Beech plan how to take the aliens down and decide to go down the Trojan horse route.  The aliens agree to allow Jack to bring the woman who crashed in the space pod up to the space station, curious to see who she is.  Julia returns to the space pod and Jack flies into space with her, carrying in their payload a nuclear bomb.

In the space station comes our first twist.  When meeting the robotic heart and brain of the alien space station, Jack opens the space pod to reveal not Julia but Beech.  As Beech comes out of the space pod, on earth we see Julia come out of a similar space pod at Jack’s lakeside log cabin.  We realize that Beech switched places with Julia.  Jack and Beech have sacrificed themselves to save the world and Julia realizes this. 

I was pretty blown away by this unexpected switch expecting to see both Jack and Julia sacrificing themselves.  But Jack wouldn’t allow Julia to die; he loves her and has literally loved her for as long as he can remember.  Jack knows that had Julia been awake, she would not have allowed Beech to go in her place and that’s why the switch was done once she was asleep in her space pod.

The nuke successfully takes down the alien space station.

Jump ahead three years and Julia is living in the log cabin with her young daughter fathered.

This is where the icing on the proverbial cake comes.  Jack 2 tentatively appears at the cabin.  After seeing Julia whom he’d been dreaming about, he knew he had to find her.  He figured out who she was and who the other Jack was and in turn who he was.  He spent three years searching for Julia and now he had finally found her. 

So despite everything we have a happy ending.  Thanks to the beautifully crafted story that Jack was in fact cloned and that Jack 2 recalled who Julia was after actually seeing her, what we have is a story where the lead actor is able to sacrifice himself for the world and still get to be with the woman he loves and his daughter at the end.

It’s a beautiful twist that really gives the movie a touching completeness that left me very satisfied with this film. 

Although I loved how Jack did not bring Julia into space to kill the aliens, after Jack’s sacrifice I was left longing for a happy ending where the guy, in true Hollywood style, gets the girl and that’s exactly what we got.

Maybe I’m becoming too sentimental in my old age but this whole premise left me smiling from ear to ear.

This is a really good movie – but if you’re reading as far as this then I imagine you’ve already seen the movie and know this.

In that case, go and watch it again =) Great movie!!



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