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Movie Review: Oblivion

May 12, 2017

Right, where to start with this one? The mere mention in the Urban Industry office that I was going to see Tom Cruise’s latest movie elicited that special kind of hatred reserved solely for the pint-sized thethan. It appears Tom Cruise is universally loathed; at least within the confines of UI headquarters. Take a seat Anne Hathaway – Cruise was bouncing on couches long before you were even on the public’s hate radar. Even Mel Gibson at his lowest ebb seems to come out better than poor old Tom. So why is one of Hollywood’s top paid actors so disliked? Surely it can’t be the movies he chooses; most seem like steady box office draws. Personally, I don’t hold any grudge against the man. Most recently I thought he made ‘Jack Reacher’ an enjoyable enough thriller, but unfortunately ‘enjoyable’ is not an adjective I’d use to describe ‘Oblivion’.

Director Joseph Kosinski was handed a gift of a debut when he was given the task of reimagining ‘Tron’ back in 2010. Updating the iconic visuals for the 21st century accompanied by a Daft Punk soundtrack made for an easy win for the first-time director. However, as amazing as the film looked it all felt a bit flat. The central characters seemed a bit lifeless and I wasn’t particularly fussed about any of them. ‘Oblivion’ looked like an altogether more personal affair, drawing on Kosinski’s own graphic novel as source material. The story of Cruise’s character ‘Jack Harper’, one of the last caretakers left on a long-deserted post-apocalyptic Earth, is designed to strike a chord about memory and identity in a sci-fi setting much like Duncan Jones’ ‘Moon’. ‘Oblivion’ doesn’t come close to touching on these themes though and feels quite shallow in comparison. You could probably make Jones’ movie a thousand times over with ‘Oblivion’s $120million budget too. Much like ‘Tron:Legacy’ my main issue lay with the characters. I honestly did not care about any of them, from Cruise’s charisma-free performance to Olga Kurylenko’s permanent blank stare throughout. Even Morgan Freeman ain’t classing things up here.

The plot-swerve about three-quarters way through is head-achingly convoluted and makes the two hour running time really drag home towards the finish line. Sure, the movie looks pretty but most things costing that much these days come with weighty expectations to do just that. The much-touted M83 soundtrack seems like he was given a specific brief to ‘do a big Hollywood score’ with a flourish of synths peppered in for good measure. Look, I’m as a big a sci-fi fan as the next guy but I honestly did not enjoy this movie. I actually had a much better time watching GI Joe go about their lunk-headed business in 3D the previous week. Sorry Tom, but ‘Oblivion’ ain’t the one for me.

4 futuristic Ikea flats/ 10

by SeanM

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