CJ tells us all about OBLIVION, a review from Built For Speed

With a name like Oblivion, you cannot help but question whether this refers to the success of the film, a plot device or the career trajectory of the film’s star.

Oblivion is an interesting but ultimately dull and confusing sci-fi drama that the more cynical will assume is a massive vanity project for its supernova star Tom Cruise. Directed by Joseph Kosinski – responsible for the Tron remake, he has a strong visual flair and the film looks fantastic, full of eye candy which will keep most sci-fi geeks distracted while Tom, preens, flexes and puts on the stylish wraparound eyewear.

The setting is 70 years from today in a post apocalyptic world in which planet Earth is no longer habitable after it has been destroyed by Aliens.  Tom plays Jack (not Jack Reacher) a supposed working class guy who is charged with the responsibility of repairing the drones that are sucking every last little bit of value from the Earth before they leave it for good.

Aliens named Scavs – who hide in the dark and look like Jawas, try to sabotage these drones where-ever possible making Jack’s life a constant challenge. He is essentially a robot/droid repairman but he does get to drive a cool looking bubble spacecraft – which looks better suited to underwater than flying, whilst engaging in shootouts with the Scavs. There are other gadgets aplenty in Oblivion, with very cool designer leather outfits, motor bikes and electronics – you really do feel like this is the future.

Jack lives in the clouds in a funky house with Victoria, his wife played by English actress Andrea Riceborough and their only other contact is with home base, on a Saturn moon with their boss Sally (Melissa Leo) who has a southern drawl and keeps asking whether they are an effective team.

Director Kosinski makes great use of the sparse landscape and that feeling of loneliness and isolation, something that has previously been used to great effect in sci-fi films such as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space OdysseyOblivion also references other films such as Top Gun, Star Wars and 12 Monkeys – particularly around a recurring theme of an unexplained past memory – this time atop the Empire State Building.

Despite the clichés, Oblivion is a cut above some of the other sci-fi fare and only resorts to excessive gun fire and shootouts on a couple of occasions. The story does tip over to being downright confusing on a couple of occasions and as soon as you think you have it all worked out there will be a twist or two to make you question it all again. Also, at over two hours, the story could have been more economical, particularly when it drags.

Ultimately, you may forget about the convoluted story and some of the safe performances but the look and feel of Oblivion’s impressive visual design will, I suspect, be copied in films for years to come.

CJ’s rating: Two and a half stars.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Joseph Kosinski.

Release date: 11th  April 2013

Running time:  124 mins


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