Oblivion: Or Wall-E with Tom Cruise…. And Occasionally Morgan Freeman

Oblivion_01.jpg

photo:mediagirl.areavoices.com

The first thing I thought of when I saw the trailer for Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, was oh great, they’ve made Wall-E, only with Tom Cruise instead of a cute robot.  After watching the movie I’ve changed that assessment a bit, although the opening premise and some moments are eerily similar to Disney’s heroic Robinson-Crusoe robot.  (There’s even a moment when Cruise brings back a flower from Earth’s surface only to be told it’s probably contaminated, much like in Wall-E, and various moments where the last man/robot on lonely Earth idea is toyed with, usually in scenes depicting nostalgia embodied in trinkets found in mankind’s rubble.)

Oblivion is set in a fragmented, post-apocalyptic future in which Earth is a shell of its former self.  Civilization as we know it has collapsed after the invasion of Earth by aliens known only as the Scavs, aliens so jerky that they blew up our Moon to mess with Earth’s oceans.  The human race was able to fend off the Scavs but at great cost to the planet and have now decided to recolonize on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, as Earth is now too toxic for human habitation owing to the nuclear weapons used to fend off the Scavs.  (Never mind that Titan has a surface temperature of -179.2 Degrees Celsius, a surface that only receives 1% of the sunlight of Earth, and a dense, opaque atmosphere made up mostly of nitrogen and nitrogen rich organic smog with the remaining 1.6% being methane, apparently it’s still a better place for human habitation than nuclear fallout Earth. Go figure…..)

We learn this through Cruise’s character Jack Harper, who works as a repairman for the giant, floating machines draining our oceans of water to convert to energy to help mankind’s colonization of Titan.  Harper lives in a very nice looking sky condo above the ruins of what was once New York City with his love interest/helper Victoria and uses various technology to repair the guard drones damaged by the remnants of the Scavs who are still fighting on the surface of Earth, although Cruise’s Harper lets us know that the humans won the war.  Oh, and Cruise and Victoria’s memories have been wiped of their previous lives for “security purposes”.  Cruise is the only one who actually goes down to ruined planet Earth as Victoria functions as his eye-in-the-sky operator/link to the Tetra (floating spaceship waiting to whisk mankind away to it’s new abode in the stars) and she’s also the go-between with mission control in the Tetra.

As you may have guessed, all is not as it seems and Harper discovers this through a series of events including his recovery of the lone female, human survivor from a crashed spaceship whose hibernating crew his own guard drone seems eager to destroy, capture by the Scavs, a pow-wow with Morgan Freeman, and eventual discovery of the all elusive “truth” which has been withheld from him.  I don’t want to give away too much of the movie, but one unintentional moment of comedy involves the thought of spaceships full of  remorseless, killing-machine Tom Cruise clone-armies landing on Earth to destroy mankind.  I’m sure this will send shivers up the spines of all those Sun-belt, Bible-thumpers who have always regarded Xenu loving Scientologist Cruise with distrust after learning of his interesting religious views.

The film has the usual flair to be expected from director/story originator Joseph Kosinski, who also helmed Tron: Legacy.  The special effects are excellent, the futuristic gadgets all have a certain wow factor to them, although the off-white of Apple products seems to be the color of choice of post-apocalyptic civilizations everywhere, and Cruise does a fine enough job doing his usual savior-of-makind routine without being too off-putting or schmaltzy, but something ultimately seems to be missing from Oblivion.  Unlike Wall-E, which this critic thoroughly enjoyed, Oblivion just seems to lack the heart necessary to make it a great film.  Yes, the audience knows Cruise and therefore mankind will triumph in the end but somehow Kosinski and Cruise failed to make this audience member care.  The cautionary environmental message of Wall-E is missing here as is the connection and feeling for the hero of this story.  Mr. Cruise, you know it’s bad when a robot who barely utters more than a few lines is able to command more genuine concern or depth of feeling than a character you’re portraying with a movie’s worth of heroic platitudes.

MOVIE DON BOTTOM LINE:

CONSIDER if you like slickly produced movies with good visual acumen and you like Tom Cruise saving the world.

PASS if you’re looking for substance over style and actually want to give a shit whether the main character lives or dies.

FUTURE REVIEWS:

STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS (J.J. Abrahms rebooted/reinvigorated the Star Trek franchise through some deft screenwriting/directing,  a revelation in Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, and tremendous special effects, let’s see if his follow up also hits it out of the park with Brit Benedict Cumberbatch playing an unspecified villian.  Khaaaaaaaaan???????)

photo:schmoesknow.com

MAN OF STEEL (The 10-year old Superman fanboy in me can’t wait! And 300 Director Zach Snyder directing and Batman’s Chris Nolan producing, yes please!!!!)

https://i0.wp.com/www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/man_of_steel-HD.jpg

photo:hdwallpapers.in/walls/man_of_steel-HD

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: