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Oblivion serves as a great opener for the summer film season, containing the kind of big budgeted sci-fi thrills that popcorn munching movie-goers would expect with a twisty plot that will keep many chatting about the picture long after it’s over. While the plot has its flaws, the movie is still enjoyable to watch from beginning to end.

The Players:

The Plot:

In the far-off future, Earth in no longer inhabitable. A group of alien invaders has destroyed the moon and ruined the land as we know it. While everyone else resides on another planet, very few stay behind to clean up what valuable resources are left. Repairman Jack Harper (Cruise) spends the remainder of his days on Earth doing his job, but begins to question what else is out there. When captured by the mysterious and dangerous group called the Scavs, Harper begins to uncover his unknown past that may be the key to saving humanity.

The Good:

  • Kosinski’s Sci-Fi World: Joseph Kosinski had to deal with re-sculpting a new science fiction world with TRON: Legacy, but in Oblivion made it all from scratch. The latter is more difficult to do just because you have a seemingly never ending amount of options on how to make your own version of a deteriorating Earth, and a future in general. You want your environment to be habitable for your characters yet not be a visual rehash of a previous incarnation of a post-war torn Earth. Kosinski greatly succeeds in creating a world that contains it’s own unique look that also doesn’t make the Earth look disgusting or completely bleak. At the same time Kosinski’s directing style, his love of wide shots works to his advantage as we’re able to completely soak up this beautiful CG sci-fi world in each scene. And yes, we do recommend you see this in IMAX in order to get the full experience of it all. It’s the equivalent of being immersed in a 3D movie, minus the gimmicky effects and heavy glasses that comes with it.
  • Our Sparkling Cast: Actors like Tom Cruise get a lot of slack for supposedly just acting like the same person throughout a number of films. Don’t worry, none of that is here in Oblivion. Cruise plays a quieter, more reflective character that can also demolish anything that stands in his way from finding out the truth. The two leading ladies at his side, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko, both do a great job countering each other when it comes to capturing the attention of Jack Harper. The only bad part is that we wanted to see even more Morgan Freeman in the film. He feels criminally underused in the picture and we would’ve loved to have seen him go back and forth with Cruise some more, since the two are such superstar actors.

The Decent:

  • That Score Everyone Is Talking About: While the score does serve it’s purpose as one of the many ways to propel the narrative further, it doesn’t particularly stand out. M83 does a fine job articulating the feeling and moods that are within each scene, and that’s about it. Nothing wrong with that, but the score isn’t particularly amazing.

The Bad:

  • Our Story’s Surprises: Jack Harper is struggling to remember his past. At the same time we’re trying to figure out more about the future they live in and these strange Earth creatures that continue to threaten him from doing his job. As time goes along, twists are revealed but lead into more questions about how certain characters got to this point. It’s difficult to go into great detail about this without spoiling a few key twists in the narrative, but after a certain point it appears as if the surprises planted in the story are there just to have something to shock the audiences. And so instead of being shocked, it’s more like “really?” That doesn’t mean that the entire story is awful, it’s not. It’s just trying too hard.

Overall:

Oblivion may not be an absolutely perfect science fiction film, but it’s entertaining enough to keep your attention.

Rating: 6.5/10

Oblivion opens in theaters everywhere this Friday.

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Trailer: