Not The Elder Scrolls ‘Oblivion’ – Movie Review
Written and media by Jake Cannon.
I hope I’m not the only one who got excited for about half-a-second when I saw that a movie was coming out titled Oblivion. Alas, my excitement was dashed upon the sharp and cold rocks of reality when I realized that this movie would have nothing to do with The Elder Scrolls. Looking past that, in my article that I co-wrote with Austin Schumacher, we dissected the third Oblivion trailer. You can check out the article here because I’ll be referring back to it at the end since numerous predictions were made on my part about the film.
Anyways, what in the world is Oblivion about? It’s set in the dark, depressing, nuclear wasteland called Earth in 2077. Sixty years before, a war was begun with an alien race known as the “Scavs” and Earth was basically destroyed by nuclear weapons. “We won the war but lost the planet,” reminisces the main character Jack Harper, played by Tom Cruise. Harper is one of the last drone repairmen on the planet. He goes around and fixes the drones that kill remaining Scavs and protects these giant machines that are extracting earth’s vital resources. These vital resources are being sent to a massive, triangular shaped space station named the Tet. Harper and his romantic partner Victoria are expected to leave Earth in two weeks to join the other humans on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.
But there’s something not quite right with Harper. You see he’s having these dreams of a woman in pre-war New York City. It’s impossible to think these are memories because Harper and Victoria’s memories were wiped five years ago as a precautionary measure just in case the Scavs captured them. To add to the confusion, a pre-war ship named “The Odyssey” crash-lands while Harper is out on patrol. To his shock, the ship contains humans in Alien–like deep-sleep chambers, one of which is the woman Harper has been dreaming about. Her name is Julia. Suddenly, drones appear and start killing the humans. Harper is able to save Julia but what is really going on here? Why does he know her? Why are the drones killing humans?
Oblivion tackles some pretty hefty sci-fi material in two hours, but does it do it well? Sort of. We’re told in the trailer that there are other humans led by Morgan Freeman but they only make a brief appearance and all the emphasis is placed on Cruise. It’s almost like you go to visit your long lost relatives and only see them for five minutes. This is where the movie was the weakest. Where the movie was strongest was in its sci-fi origins. We’re taken on a twist halfway through the film (one I didn’t see coming) that grabbed my attention. From there, the movie really picked up its feet and carried it into a strong finale.
The acting, especially from Cruise, was exceptional. From what little we saw of Freeman, he did fantastic as well. Even Adrea Riseborough (Victoria) and Olga Kurylenko (Julia) did a great job supporting Cruise. Director and screenwriter Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) also did a marvelous job. He’s certainly created a niche for himself with sci-fi and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him.
Finally, Richard Roeper can sum up all my thoughts about Oblivion:
Truer words have never been spoken. While Oblivion is a solid sci-fi film I recommend you see, there are plenty of other sci-fi films that are way better. But back to the article I helped co-write.
The movie inevitably did not turn out to be a human vs. human war. But, a main character did end up dying and I turned out to be partially right when I said, “maybe Tom Cruise is a droid.” I’ll let you see the movie for yourself to decide.
In the end, Oblivion turned out to be a lot less predictable than I imagined. The story was well supported by the cast and director (even if the script itself lacked some zest) and I feel it deserves more credit than it’s getting on Rotten Tomatoes.
Director: Joseph Kosinski.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Adrea Riseborough.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity.
Run Time: 124 minutes.