Oblivion is Tom Cruise’s latest sci-fi film which seems him as Jack, a man left behind on a scorched earth to mine for resources for the new home of the humans on Titan. He is stationed with Victoria who are the last humans left on Earth protecting their machines from what is left over from the invading alien forces.
First I have to say that this movie is a technical marvel. It looks and sounds fantastic. The sound design is flawless with some unique noises coming from the ships and drones, and even just the sound mixing in general, whether its wind or rocket blasts, is great.
The visuals are awesome. Seeing the ruins of earth after 60 years looks different than how we are used to seeing it, providing us with some wonderful images, like the top of the Empire State building peaking out f a sand dune and even the moon being destroyed but with its debris still held in orbit. There are some great flares of cinematography as well, making this a treat to watch for both sight and sound.
Oblivion, while being unique in its own right in some ways, also borrows from a lot of other science fiction classics. There are elements and imagery taken from WallE, Moon, 2001, and even the ending is reminiscent of Independence Day. Heck, I even got a sense of Planet of the Apes when Jack was told to explore the radiation zone. I half expected the one guy to ask Morgan Freeman “What will he find out there Doctor?”
Now, all of these references could be okay if they are meant more as homages, but in order for that to work the movie has to have its own modicum of originality. Luckily this story has its own twisty, turny plot that is enough to keep you interested, but I do question how original it is.
To be honest, I wish that this movie would have been a little more ambitious with its goal or message. I felt that although the plot was interesting and the mystery of it all did have me wondering the whole time through, the film could have reached for a little more thematically. There was a sense of a theme of saving the best of humanity with the cabin and the idea of the books, but the movie never actually explored that concept much beyond surface level. I wonder if focusing on something like that would have made this a richer, better film.
Now, perhaps that is based more on my expectations, or perhaps on my desire to have another truly great science fiction film on our hands again. Nonetheless, despite being pieced together from other sci-fi concepts, the story still flows well as a whole and is certainly interesting. The visual look great and feel authentic, and the sound mixing is great, making this a worthwhile summer watch, though probably wont make any sci-fi pantheons.