OBLIVION: A Review

OBLIVION Review by Colonel Kernel, JK

I am a HUGE sci fi fan, it is easily my favourite genre and any opportunity to see a sci fi film and I get all excited, especially when it is being directed by Joseph Kosinski. I was obsessed with Tron Legacy and I was excited about this. Add to it the fact it is starring Tom Cruise, who doesn’t always have superb films but they always make money, they are always budgeted well (by well I mean the budget of small countries) and his films always have something, well, successful about them. BUT, and the BIG BUT, the film has had pretty much NO marketing, and to top it off the reviews were embargoed until 6pm today, literally 15hrs prior to release. So the mind boggled, were they holding off reviews because this film was pure shit? I went to the press screening on Monday night to find out.

 

Oblivion starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman - film out now
Oblivion starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman – film out now

 

And fuck me was I wrong!!! One obvious reason why they held off the reviews?? – they didn’t want anyone ruining the reveal of the of the film and why no marketing? My guess is probably because of the leads salaries, the budget that was poured into making one of the best sci fis I have seen in years. I was literally like a school kid again entering a whole new world that was so visual it was mind altering. It was like seeing Avatar for the first time, or seeing Tron Legacy for that matter, it was entering the love child of Moon and Gattaca after a little affair with Star Wars and 2001. I LOVED THIS FILM! My quick text to fellow film adulterer, Big G from Cinefools.com, at the end of the film stated thus “A-Grade Sci Fi is Back Bitches”.

And the next two years see Hollywood shift a strong focus on Sci Fi. we are going to get a sci fi fill and I am going to be like Homer Simpson in a doughnut shop, insert droooooooool.

 

Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

Oblivion is all about Tommy Boy and his partner, manning a clean up station on Earth following a big nuclear war with aliens. We won the war but totally screwed up the planet and so everyone had to leave and are now living on (I think) Titan, one of the moon’s of Saturn. Those who have not yet gone to Titan are living on this huge floating mammoth of a thing over the planet. Jack Harper (Cruise) and his teammate/ partner fix drones that protect the planet and the huge water processors from the Scavs. In two weeks their mission will be complete and they can join the others for the journey to Titan. But something happens and the world they come to know is about to be shattered……… and that is all I am saying as I entered this film knowing little and I think it will benefit you if you enter the same.

Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

 

Kosinski brings us something very close in style and epic stylings to what he brought us in Tron Legacy but this one is stronger on script and shows us a more sculpted tale. The plot is muscular and the characters stronger and Kosinski brings us a film that has abundant on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments where you are holding your breath at the gravity of the action and balances them with touching plot developing moments that suit the flow. Do not be mistaken – this is a Hollywood film through and through but the pacing of the film mixing a bloody awesome story with superb action and visuals is well maestro’d. He seems to have embraced the sci fi genre (thank Apollo) and I hope he makes many more. In Tron he remade and strengthened the original while giving us a brilliant sequel and in this one it is like he found all of his favourite sci fi’s and placed them in a film-processor on pulse with Mad Max and created Oblivion – an awesome title I might add. And one huge success of Tron Legacy that no one can deny is the music and use of Daft Punk – they literally set a tone for the entire film and he does it again in this one using M83 – in fact I am sitting here typing this interview while streaming the soundtrack and I love it. It is like the Daft Punk soundtrack but M83 have made it more score worthy.

 

Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

 

Then there is the actors, and seriously, this film, it is all about Tom Cruises, aren’t all his films? But if you are a Tom Hater then haters gonna hate. I, myself, have found some of his films of late quite mediocre, especially when he is the blockbuster king and capable of greatness. BUT, I honestly think this is his best character since Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder, do not be mistaken, this is no comedy but I found no irritation in his performance and while a sci fi have never been so swept up in one of his performances. I can be proud and admit to being a huge fan again after this film. Andrea Riseborough is brilliant as his other half of the “effective team”. It was borderline Stepford wifing. Loved her. I wasn’t overly taken by Olga Kurylenko in this one and found her a little out of place but it was made up with brief moments with Melissa Leo, as Sally, who I just wanted to punch in the face by the end of the film . Morgan Freeman is basically Morgan Freeman and you can’t have a negative thought for him, it was like Nelson Mandela was taking on Aliens for crying out loud! And I have to mention a nice surprise for the film, finding Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) playing Sykes in the film. My god he is tall. I wish they used him more as he eats the film (or should I say kilobytes these days) and he was a little under-utilised.

 

Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

 

The film is so beautifully styled and shot, special mentions must go to Claudio Miranda, one of my favourite cinematographers who shot Life of Pi, and also Supervising Art Director, Kevin Ishioka, who was part of a successful team in bringing this visual spectacular to life, Ishioka art directed such things as The Chronicles of Riddick, Gi Joe, Avatar, Tron Legacy, Men in Black 3 and the upcoming part two of Captain America – legend!! These guys and the entire crew created an entire different world and made it cool, it had a lot of Gattaca-like beauty to it and I mean, who can not love Tom’s Helicopter Jet thing, I freaking want one – if I was about 5yrs old now I would be flying through the backyard in one of those in total make believe. It is awesome!!! And the living quarters and the pool, hit me in the face it is so awesome. For a planet destroyed they seem to live the life of dreams.

 

Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

 

If you hate Cruise I still say give it a shot but if you are one of the Tom loathers then avoid it. If you love sci fi then fly to this you damn fools. It is a sci fi epic beautifully sculpted that is very balanced. Everything looks amazing and it is a good 2hrs well spent. I give this film 9.5 out of 10 effective teams.