mills review Oblivion Two Disc Combo Pack UltraViolet
Over the course of the last few years, the science fiction genre of film has either provided major hits or complete misses. Depending on who's acting and who's directing, movie-goes appear to be fairly picky about which sci-fi films they're willing to spend their money on. In 2012, Prometheus took us back to the Aliens universe with critical and commercial success, while at the same time, Battleship and John Carter sank - ultimately drowning in a sea of misery. Speaking of sci-fi success, Tom Cruise has been a part of a handful of lucrative sci-fi endeavors, including Minority Report, Vanilla Sky, and War of the Worlds. Now, Tom Cruise is back once again with another pre-summer box office smash, Oblivion.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Lecacy), Oblivion stars Tom Cruise as Jack Harper, one of the few remaining survivors of the planet earth - half of which has been destroyed and deemed uninhabitable after a nuclear war with an alien species, known as Scavs (Scavengers). Harper, along with his partner and love interest, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), are in charge of an operation to salvage and extract the last of earth's natural resources, prior to leaving earth and rejoining their fellow humans on a massive space station, called Titan. However, everything is not as it seems when Jack saves a woman, Julia (Olga Kurylenko) from the wreckage of a crash-landing - the same woman whom he has been having recurring memories and dreams. And, after making contact with the Scavs, Jack must uncover the secrets behind the organization for which he has been working and the reasoning behind his absent memory (which was mandatorily removed) . Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo also star in supporting roles.
First and foremost, do not leave the theater when you see this film - and you absolutely should see this film. Oblivion is one of the films that will require your attention at all times, because it's extremely easy to miss a giant piece of the puzzle during a bathroom break or popcorn run. The film's plot is relatively easy to decipher by the conclusion of the film, however, there's more going on in this film that you can possibly interpret in one sitting. The introduction of the film crams a whole lot of information into your head to set up the present conundrum being tackled by Cruise's character, Jack Harper. Clearly, he's involved in a snatch-n-grab job, hastily attempting to remove earth's resources, while attempting to avoid any difficulties or interaction with the supposed villains, the Scavs. However, it's impossible to get specific about the majority of the film's plot points without spoiling the film.
Oblivion's cast is one of the most impressive features in this film and remains tremendously authentic from beginning to end in this enigmatic drama. Tom Cruise hasn't been this enjoyable in quite a long time and really finds his groove with his character. Reminiscent of the character from War of the Worlds, Jack Harper is mostly in the dark about the majority of the occurrences in this film and is often in over his head - yet somehow always manages to come out of each dire situation unscathed. On the other hand, his partner (Victoria) constantly finds new ways to be jealous in a world where she has absolutely no competition. At times, she can become an annoyance, but that's mostly due in large part to lack of her unwillingness to think outside the box (which is reserved solely for Tom Cruise's character). Finally, let's face the fact here - everything is better with Morgan Freeman.
By far and away, the most enjoyable moments of the film revolve around the CGI action sequences - which include some very intriguing and well-designed drones. These drones are the main agitators in a rather Empire Strikes Back-like flight batter which is also a nice flashback to Tom Cruise sitting in a cockpit in Top Gun. It's unclear whether or not the filmmakers meant to create a throwback sci-fi Top Gun-style chase scene, but regardless, this specific flight chase will have you wishing for a Top Gun sequel (which was sadly cancelled after the death of its original director, Tony Scott).
Overall, there's absolutely nothing in Oblivion that hasn't been done in some other sci-fi before it. Sure, it would be easy to say this is just another post-apocalyptic film with alien invaders, ultimately forcing humanity to unite for a greater good to defeat them. Yet, this film is much more complex than your average space-invaders film. It provides a busier (occasionally confusing) than usual plot (in Prometheus fashion), so if you look away, you'll most likely miss something important. But, if you play close enough attention to the plot points, you'll be able to tie everything together in a nice, pretty bow when the credits role - hopefully coming to the conclusion that Oblivion is a perfectly fun and enjoyable sci-fi film.
Overall Film Grade: A-