Because I’d heard a few bad reviews of Oblivion, I thought I should share my opinion. I actually saw the film nearly a month ago, but haven’t had the chance to finish my review until now. So here it is.
The story follows Jack Harper who, with his not-wife, is one of the last people on Earth after a bunch of aliens came along and fought humanity for the place. The humans “did what had to be done” (nuked Earth to bits), but at least they “won”. Their job, like all those left on the planet, is to act as a cleanup and maintenance crew for the bots who are harvesting the last of the Earth’s usable resources, before they join the remaining humans who exiled to Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
The whole story was very focused on America, and was particularly preoccupied with what became of New York. They don’t give you a glimpse, or even make a passing mention of the state of the rest of the world. For all you know, life continues as per usual in Australia. More than anything, this was disappointing because it was a lost opportunity, especially with the amount of money that clearly went into this film. Everything was done on a really big scale, and much of the landscape, while clearly CG-enhanced, was stunning viewing. From the cliffs to the desert to the waterfalls, it all looked spectacular and convincing.
Every minute of Oblivion marches out another sci-fi trope or cliché. It’s hard to go into much detail without spoiling a lot of the movie, but even from my little plot summary above, you can see some common plot points from the likes of Wall-E. There are also countless twists in the plot, most of which you can see from miles away, but nearly none of them are so obvious that you could guess the WHOLE plot without seeing ANY of the movie. This is thanks to, in part at least, the sheer ridiculousness of said twists.
That said, Oblivion is still an enjoyable sci-fi film, with lots of big action, thanks to its big budget. And despite the somewhat lackluster storyline, it felt really good to see someone putting so much into a solid sci-fi film.
One thing I don’t usually think that much about is sound design. However I did watching this movie for two reasons. The first is because they did such a beautiful job of it, creating believable soundscapes that really enhanced the feel of the movie. Except for much of the movie when everything is drowned out by random bits of music. It totally obliterates any other sounds. The music itself isn’t bad; It sounds like it was stolen from Tron Legacy or some 80’s action sci-fi. But it comes and goes at a whim and is always at full blast. It’s as if they edited the whole movie without any music, and suddenly realized “We need music!” so they just added it over the top of the ready-edited film, with no consideration for volume.
The other thing that annoyed me about this movie was the way it acts like it’s explaining or has explained everything but doesn’t really go into all that much detail, and so hasn’t really explained very much. I think this comes from the fact that the whole thing is based on a graphic novel. In its original form, the story would have been done better justice, because of the slower pacing and chance to explore some of the story’s more interesting nuances, which, while hidden, are there.
#Spoiler-ish# There were certain scenes and ideas during the film which reminded me of other thing like Dollhouse, Portal and Metro 2033 (I’m playing through it at the moment) but I don’t think they were stolen so much as they were just misinformed to think that they were original ideas. They weren’t even that overt, but you’ll get what I mean if you compare Jack and Echo. I don’t think that spoils anything too much…
Oh, and I just had to mention, there’s only one swear in the movie, right at end. Now I’m no fan of swearing but it’s perfectly timed and a simply fitting end.
Like I said earlier, Oblivion is a big action, big budget sci-fi film. If you can accept that that’s about all it is, I think you’ll enjoy it. In fact, you might even be pleasantly surprised. Even though the movie itself may not want to admit it, there is substance buried away in the story worth thinking about after it’s over.
Have you seen Oblivion? What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comment below.
- Oblivion, The Review – Is Earth A Memory Worth Fighting For? (nerdlikeyou.com)
- Movie Review – ‘Oblivion’ (worthplaying.com)