Monday, April 22, 2013

Movie Review - OBLIVION

We don't normally do movie reviews as a regular feature on our blog, but since I took a little time off this weekend for some R&R and went to see a movie I found entertaining, thought I would share some thoughts on it...

-Pat Morrison, Penumbra Publishing editor


2hr 5min‎‎ - Rated PG-13‎‎ - Action/Adventure/Scifi/Fantasy‎
Director: Joseph Kosinski - Cast: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Jack Harper is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack's mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. Of course I am a science-fiction junkie, so I will go see about anything that doesn't have blood-dripping monsters or chainsaws in it. I have seen a lot of sci-fi stinkers, but I felt that this particular movie was well-crafted, well-acted, and suspenseful, with an element of surprise I didn't see coming. That's always a nice bonus when I don't figure out the storyline right at the beginning of the movie. Of course I had suspicions, but didn't guess the extent of the surprise until the 'reveal moment.'

My background and take on the story...

The title of the movie, OBLIVION, is obscure enough to give no clue about the storyline and leave it wide open for anything to happen. However, a look at the meaning of the word 'oblivion' indicates 'a state of forgetting or being oblivious,' and that begins to make sense as the movie progresses.

The Earth's moon has been destroyed by an alien invasion force, causing massive tidal waves and earthquakes and other destructive natural disasters that wiped out most of the human population. After humans managed to win the war, survivors were sent to an orbital space station, awaiting transport to Jupiter's moon Titan to establish a human colony there. Jack Harper and his lovely female partner make up a team, part of a skeleton cleanup crew left on Earth to monitor and maintain water-extraction equipment that is draining ruined Earth of its last precious remaining resource, to be transported to Titan for use by the new human colony.

Jack and his partner are scheduled to leave in two weeks. But meanwhile they must continue to maintain the security drones that are stationed to protect the water-extraction units from Scavs, renegade aliens still prowling Earth and causing mischief after the war. 'Command' monitors the maintenance team and warns of impending dangers while in orbital contact. When the station is out of contact, Jack and his partner are left on their own in a sky-high fortress with all-glass walls, equipped with high-tech communication and monitoring equipment - and a see-through swimming pool!

Jack and his partner don't remember anything about the war, because their memories have been 'wiped' for security reasons so they can focus on their task before final transport to Titan. But Jack wonders why, if humans won the war, they have to leave their home. The destruction is massive in places, but he has discovered a hidden place that is an idyllic paradise. And then there are the bothersome dreams he keeps having of a woman he saw at the Empire State Building before the war, before it was reduced to a shell of rubble.

When a ship module identified as human in origin breeches the atmosphere and crashes, he goes against orders to investigate. And what he finds makes him begin to doubt everything he's been told by Command.

At the heart of this movie is a slowly unfolding love story. This is clearly a Cruise-focused movie, but Freeman makes a nice contribution in his small support role, and the storyline is surprising enough to hold interest. I highly recommend this film if you are a fan of Tom Cruise, or Morgan Freeman (as I am), or sci-fi (as I am). Even if you are none of those, I think you will appreciate this movie. It is not too 'techie' to turn off general viewers, but has just enough sci-fi to satisfy those looking for that fix. You'll see plenty of remnants of iconic images a la  Planet of the Apes - without the apes or Charlton Heston. Enjoy!


  1. It just was what it was, it served the needs of the film and that was it. Nothing special, but I guess fine for what it is. Good review Pat.

  2. Hi Pat :)

    Sounds like a good movie, I'm a fan of Tom Cruise (as an actor, not his beliefs and his strange actions) and of course Morgan Freeman. A movie that can keep you guessing is always a good thing. Thanks for the detail and thoughtful review :-)

  3. I see you're branching out!

    Sounds good. But then again, with a cast like that it would be hard pushed to be anything but.

    Good job :)

  4. Thanks to all for your comments.

    Charles, I think you will enjoy Oblivion. Cruise does an excellent job, as he usually does.

    Wendy, you're so right, it is hard to muck up a movie when you have some stellar actors carrying it. Of course, a bad script can always drag things down, but I don't think the film suffers from any of that.

    I realize not everyone will like everything the same (I get the hint was not too impressed by it), but I think Oblivion is a nice entertaining distraction for a couple hours...


  5. I have not been surprised by a 'reveal moment' at the end of a Sci/Fi movie since the half-buried Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes. I hope to see Oblivion soon.

    Morgan Freeman is a fun acctor to watch (has he ever been young in a movie?).

    The new Star Trek comes out in May. That is another event on my science fiction calender. I love movie reviews.


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