The setting and plot seem familiar enough to provoke de-ja-vu: Earth has been devastated by a war with aliens. Tom Cruise and a female partner stay behind to monitor and repair the machines that are absorbing Earth’s remaining resources before they flee to Titan. They had their memories wiped, but Cruise dreams of his previous life.
The film is structured around a string of plot-twists that are more laugh-worthy in their predictable triteness than they're shocking. Oblivion is much like Joseph Kosinski’s last film, Tron: Legacy: long on slick, sci-fi visual style, and short on narrative, character, thematic substance, made worse here by the plethora of plot-holes.
It’s also terribly unoriginal, and has difficulty going 20-minutes without moments and scenes that call to mind its borrowings from better sci-fi films: the “memories make us human” from Blade Runner, the “clone” element from Moon, the wasteland characters from Mad Max, the pod/sperm + monolith/vulva from 2001: ASO, the “fly bomb into mothership” of Independence Day, the “agent on the run” of Minority Report, the “lost space exploration ship” of Event Horizon, etc. Even the relocation to Titan recalls the animated Titan A.E.
However, I must admit that these flaws are more noticeable in retrospect because the world Kosinski creates from a visual standpoint is extremely compelling, and like Tron: Legacy it's a triumph of imaginative production design. Even the cinematography is quite accomplished in the smaller moments, such as the midnight skinny dip in the glass-bottomed pool suspended high over the landscape:
The action sequences, if not terribly original, are quite well done too, especially the chase through the canyons, recalling the race scene in The Phantom Menace. Ultimately, a decent sci-film let-down by its sub-standard writing but somewhat rescued by its visual pedigree.
My rating: 6/10
Written by - Eva_Yojimbo - 15/10/2016