Manic Movie Magic: Oblivion

Oh Tom Cruise movies! The majority are schlockly crap made to promote him. Honestly, he only had one good film with A Few Good Men, maybe Jerry McGuire and Tropic Thunder if you stretch it. I have nothing against him personally, but his movies don’t tend to be very deep, compelling, or interesting to me (all a matter of opinion). But I’m nothing if not an almost fair and impartial judge of films, so when I saw this movie was going to be out in theaters, I thought “Well, it could be good for a laugh, at least.” After all, I wasn’t going to turn down the only major sci-fi flick coming out this year besides the sequel to Star Trek. But the movie I got was certainly not the one I expected.

Let’s take a look at the newest sci-fi release this year, Oblivion.

oblivion film

The plot is the weakest part of the film by far. That’s not to say that there aren’t interesting ideas, but overall, the plot comes off rather muddled and and with plot twists thrown in for the sake of surprises. I’ll give you a quick recap for those interested in the film before diving into plot-hole territory in the next paragraph. The film follows Jack Harper, who along with his lover Victoria, run the maintenance crew for drones that protect giant hydropumps which are sucking all the planet’s water for the human colony on Titan. However, when Scavs threaten the safety of these pumps, Jack is forced to interact with them and slowly discovers that maybe something is not quite right with his mission and the higher ups in the mission control known as the Tet, a giant upside-down pyramid in the sky.

Though I have the sneaking suspicious that the Kubrick estate should sue.

Though I have the sneaking suspicious that the Kubrick estate should sue.

So, spoiler time, you have been warned!

Skip to the next paragraph to avoid them. Now, if you couldn’t figure it out from the trailers, the “Scavs” are in fact humans left from the war and the Tet is not human, but rather an alien force that is sucking the water out of Earth for its own energy needs. But here’s the thing – we later find out there’s a whole bunch of clones of Jack and Victoria, likely positioned all around the world. So problem one, why use human workers? I get not wanting to get your hands dirty, but we humans are pretty unpredictable with the whole emotions thing. Not to mention our fragility to both physical attacks and diseases, you’d have to replace them with new clones all the time.

Problem two, Morgan Freeman’s character says that the aliens have been sucking out water for 50 years and are still not done. How does that make any sense? Yes, the Earth is 70% percent water, but realistically speaking if you have about 50 or so Jack/Victoria clone pairs with at a minimum ten high powered suction machines, they should be done in 20 years tops, 30 if you wanted to be safe about it.

Problem three, wouldn’t the aliens want to get out of there as fast as possible? And are there actually aliens on the Tet or is the Tet the alien being in question? Cause all we see is another pyramid, which is what communicates with Jack when he enters the Tet. Is that what the aliens are? Where is their home planet? Why do they need the energy? What’s the point of this entire endeavor? Never answered.

The movie itself looks great. It’s a very classy, streamlined look that does feel more futuristic and less iPod-Apple-takeover. The scenes which show the gritty underground feel dirty, not just the stylized grime of lots of other sci-fi and horror films have been trying. In fact, the best parts of the film (visually speaking) are when they are in the underground society, or in Jack’s secret hideway. Why? Because sometimes the film is overwhelmingly, exhaustingly grey. I understand why they used the white-grey-greyer-greyest-black color scheme but it really makes the movie feel dull and sluggish. I honestly think the only reason they chose the colors because they wanted bleakness and dread. They overdid it by a lot.

Let it be known that the entire future of Earth will be in greyscale.

Let it be known that the entire future of Earth will be in greyscale, so it is written, so it shall be.

The acting is quite strong, even from Cruise himself despite what his last few movies would suggest. He actually tones it down in terms of turning on the superstar action hero to play a more subtle and thoughtful character with mixed results. Both Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough do good jobs as Julia and Victoria respectively, though their parts are merely those of love interests and don’t get in as much on the action. Though, as always, the actor who steals the show is Morgan Freeman. I seriously believe that every movie would be a hit if Morgan Freeman was in it – anything he’s in gets a bonus of 30 points. As the resistance leader Malcolm Beech, he mostly acts as the exposition machine and the face of humanity but if he doesn’t milk those 20 minutes for all the greatness he can.

The world would be a better place is Morgan Freeman starred in everything.

He could be my grandfather and yet he still looks super badass in this movie.

Oblivion is by no means a great film, but it is relatively good if you’re in the mood for an action sci-fi. The pacing is strong, the ideas are solid, the acting is good, and while there are holes in the plot a mile wide, it somehow holds together. And hey, it even has a Lays of Ancient Rome literature reference if you’re tired of hearing the same popular-but-cliché sources quoted in movies over and over again. I’m not sure whether to tell you to see it in theaters or not, but if you’re up for a gamble, I can’t advise you against it.

Pros:

– Good acting.

– Great cinematography.

– Some interesting plot choices.

Cons:

– Plot twists only for shock value.

– Parts seem a little drawn out for no reason.

– Color scheme can be visually draining.

Rating:

rating30

 

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Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

Latest posts by Starshine5050 (see all)

Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

3 Comments:

  1. Another ignorant comment that adds nothing of value. I suggest you learn to properly criticize and critique work rather than just hurl insults. Have a nice day.

    • I can't have anything serious against this article, but if you want someone to properly criticize this work, I may help you. The author needs some grammar lessons, or just read carefully the article before publishing it.

      "And there actually aliens on the Tet? Cause all we see is another pyramid which talks to them. Is that what the aliens are? Where is there home planet?"

      I see some issues here. Anyway, honestly, I find this review a bit weird. In my opinion, plot twists are for shock value, and saying it was only for it is just guessing. Color scheme wasn't visually draining, I think that was exactly what they meant, to make such impression. Give us the feeling. I can't tell how it was, or could, be draining. Since you've told "Great cinematography" is a pro, the color scheme belongs there too. Thus making the color scheme great. These colors just emphasized the moment when we saw that green area. Also, the author asked some weird questions in the article. Wasn't that obvious that there were no aliens? There was just the Tet, that pyramid thingy in the big pyramid thingy on orbit. Also, where did the question about why they needed energy came from. Tet needed it to survive. Also, all the questions where and why it was created were not the plot of the movie. Another thing, questioning the fact that they were sucking up the water for 50 years. Well, on what facts was he stating what was the efficiency of the machines. Since it was getting power from the water, it could have been a time-taking process. Why did they use human workers? They needed humans to fight against humans, probably. Also, I think the Tet might have not expected to find on a planet life capable of destroying his(her?) drones. No one knows humans better than a human. The only thing I found weird in the movie was: why didn't Scavs show their faces in the library down there? He would see they are human and instantly rethink everything.

      I saw the movie today, it was great. Many things were ripped off from other movies, but overall it was quite original.

      PS "it even has obscure Greek literature references", wasn't it Roman?

      ~nik

      • Sadly, sometimes I don't pick up on mistakes due to some vision issues/dyslexia but I try to go back and find those that there are. Thank you for pointing them out, and they have been corrected. And you're right, it is about a Roman, that was an oversight on my part, in part because almost none of the research I did mentioned the title of the book or the quote he recites, and I forgot it (though, if we are going to be exact, I think the author Thomas B. Macaulay, lived in 19th century England, so I might just pull that line out all together). Again, thank you for pointing it out.

        As for the rest, I respectfully disagree but you do make some good points. I didn't think it was obvious that there were no other aliens but the Tet, though as an entity it is pretty interesting since we know next to nothing about it. I do agree that the energy processing with the water could be time consuming, or perhaps the Tet wasn't in a rush to leave the source since it will take time to conquer another planet if there are lifeforms, or to find one with water if that it is the only way it can obtain energy. I agree, I hadn't thought about why the Scavs didn't reveal themselves in the library but perhaps it was because they knew about how Jack clones had been used to conquer the Earth 50 years prior and thus believed he was brainwashed, or simply a killing machine. Otherwise, it really makes no sense. I thought the cinematography was great with the exception of the color scheme but again, that's only my opinion. It's still a great looking film. It was pretty original, and I did enjoy to a degree but I probably wouldn't watch it again which is why I gave it a lower rating.

        I thank you for your constructive criticism. It is always a great help, as writing is a learning and improving process. Please feel free to leave me any other suggestion, or just debate about the film – it's nice to have someone to discuss theories and opinions with.

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