A barren wasteland. A lonely tech following a daily routine. Futuristic drones. On the face of it, I wouldn’t blame you for mistaking Oblivion for a grown-up version of Wall-E. And like that Pixar classic, Oblivion is also a visually sumptuous feast for the eyes, with slick, production values and a seamless mix of CGI and practical effects.
The story revolves around Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), and his colleague/lover, Veronica, who are the lone inhabitants of the planet Earth. Their main purpose is to repair guard drones that protect giant water harvesters that are regularly attacked by alien scavengers. When the story opens, there’s only two weeks left before Jack and Veronica end their lonely vigil, and head to one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, where the rest of humanity have made their new home.
It is the chemistry of these two characters that really glues the film together, the two contrasting personalities playing off each other, Jack’s inquisitive nature and his attachment to Earth, as opposed to the cold dismissive nature of Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), who can’t wait to get to Titan. As the story progresses, there are twists and turns that are thrown at the viewer that will give you something to puzzle over during the course of the film. Some of them have a predictable outcome that you can see coming a mile away, while others have a genuinely unexpected resolution.
I’d have to say that the special effects, cinematography and breath-taking vistas are the real stars of the film, pulling the viewer into a world that is unbelievably cool while at the same time being stark and sterile. Director Joseph Kosinski has already proven that he is capable of jaw-dropping imagery in his debut film Tron, and he has honed his skill even further in his sophomore effort. The clean, sterile aesthetic of the tech used by Jack and Veronica would be right at home in an Apple store, and the bubble copter was definitely a highlight for me in the movie.
Kudos also goes to the score and the sound design in the movie. The background music caught my attention immediately, ranging from dark and foreboding, to triumphant and uplifting, but the powers that be weren’t afraid to cut the music all together in scenes where the dialogue alone was enough to carry the emotion needed. The deft use of ambient sounds used when Jack was nostalgically reminiscing of moments in Earth’s history almost painted a picture of Jack’s memories without actually showing them on-screen.
All in all, Oblivion is a very pretty movie filled with science-fiction clichés, but still a very entertaining flick. If you like Tom Cruise, action and a little bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure, then check this movie out.
I give Oblivion 7.5/10