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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 February 2016
VIDEO:

Oblivion storms into blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.39:1 encode. Photographed digitally with the Red Epic camera system, this video transfer is simply flawless and stunning. Director Joseph Kosinski's technically artistic eye is always present. Take for example the sky home that Jack and Victoria live in. That isn't green screen you're seeing outside. It's a modern take on front projection (see trivia below for detailed explanation). Those are real clouds and real sunsets. Many of his in-camera techniques lend themselves to making a spotless high-def presentation. Almost every scene is in stunning clarity. Colours are cold and sterile. Contrast is perfect, with deep and solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is sharp and clear, with detail mind-blowingly clear: everything from the tiniest reflection in the sleek futuristic surfaces of the sky home, to the majesty of Cruise's ageless hair follicles. There is no IMAX aspect ratio shifting like The Dark Knight, but using anamorphic lens, the realistic futuristic scenery fills up my entire 12 foot wide screen, which is simply awesome. (5+/5)

AUDIO:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is just as impressive. The electronic techno beat pulses, with an unmistakable and unforgettable bass, reminded me of a Daft Punk soundtrack, like Tron: Legacy. It rumbles passionately causing complete sensory enjoyment. The movie's action uses pinpoint directionality. As the bubble ship flies through slim canyons, it seamlessly transports its sound from speaker to speaker creating the illusion that it's flying across your living room. The added side channels provide a wonderfully enveloping ambiance that truly makes the presentation demo material. The overall effect is a very immersive experience. Fidelity is superb throughout. Dialogue is crystal clear and intelligible at all times too, and dynamics, directionality and separation are first-rate. (5/5)

TRIVIA:

Oblivion has an estimated budget of $120 million, and has a rather disappointing worldwide gross of $280 million, rather low using current standards. Tom’s last picture Jack Reacher made even less at 213 million.

Tom celebrated his 50th birthday on the set. To celebrate the milestone, director Joseph Kosinski presented the star with one of the futuristic motorbikes from the film. Tom also gave the director a present of his own: a die-cast model of the bubble ship in a glass case.

Joseph Kosinski' and Claudio Miranda didn't like the extensive use of blue screen mattes in Tron Legacy, that for this film, they wanted to use real glass, mirrors and shiny surfaces for the glass tower set. The sky footage was projected on a 500 by 45 feet screen consisting of 21 monitors taken from three weeks of footage of a volcano in Hawaii. The monitors took 10 technician weeks to install and fine tuning with floor-level rig support. In the end it had the actors complimenting the production team for that set design that as such Tom Cruise declared that the glass tower was one of his favourite film sets.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Oblivion did borrow a lot of its plot and twists from other sci-fi movies, but its look is wholly original. Kosinski has a keen eye for putting together a visually lush film. Cruise does exactly what he does almost every time he's asked to lead a film; he nails it. I am equally impressed by his performance on Jack Reacher and Mission Impossible 4 (my reviews elsewhere).

I found Oblivion exciting and beautiful. Both the video and audio is flawless and simply perfect, and demo-worthy. The cinematography and colour fidelity are simply superb. The entire picture is very enjoyable, and this set is highly recommended.
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Oblivion is a post-apocalyptic speculative fiction movie founded on Joseph Kosinski's unpublished graphic novel of the same name.

The is scene set as we are lead into an impressive post-apocalyptic Earth where the moon has been destroyed, the textures and colours are vivid and almost photo shopped; the remnants of Man's world are literally fused into the landscape, or disintegrating amphitheatre of an American football stadium, we are shown the pitiful spire of the Empire State Building. This is all the result of a Pyrrhic victory against extra-terrestrial interlopers called `Scavs'/`Scavengers', in principle the human race has essentially given up on Earth.

On this `barren' world there appears to be a couple who are doing their stint as caretakers as they are instructed by mission controller Sally (Melissa Leo) to protect the colossal offshore fusion energy generators, which are producing power for the colonists on Titan, they are harvesting the last of Earth's riches - water and when needed mopping up `Scavs'/`Scavengers'. What is left of Humanity lives on a large orbiting satellite while the rest have moved to mankind's' new home Titan? Jack, who does the maintenance has a partner called Victoria, who is a communications specialist and lover, they live in `Sky deck' or Sky Tower, high up off the ground, a rather amazing uncluttered structure and command centre. They even have a glass bottom swimming pool for tempting night dips. They are told that they too will join their colleagues on the satellite and will then be transported to Titan. Mission controller Sally always asks "Are still an effective team". However, the situation for these human caretakers what's left of earth is not all that seems.

If we look past the visuals of landscaping of the post-apocalyptic world, the interesting futuristic Sky deck residence, `bubble-copters' and amazing colour palette of photography. The narrative while interesting, the components that make up the whole have been borrowed from a number of other films and the ending while drawing together the story threads, was disappointing, because it based on the movie's perception of alien being having superior intelligence one minute, and then somehow lack it the next. That said, Oblivion is first and primarily a visual experience - while many have panned this film for being thinly scripted, for me faults and all it was good and entertaining film.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 May 2013
I liked this film. It is not an immortal master-piece, but it is well made. Below, some more of my impressions, with limited SPOILERS.

Year of Grace 2079. After a devastating war against alien invaders, Moon was broken in pieces and Earth was left a barren, poisoned desolation. The aliens were in principle defeated but what was left of humanity had to move to Titan, which is now being slowly terraformed. The ruined Earth was abandoned to two categories of inhabitants - the Scavs, a handful of alien survivors, stranded castaways barely managing to survive miserably one day at a time and the two lonely humans, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) and Jack (Tom Cruise) who supervise the last stage of evacuation of the planet, which includes pumping and carrying away what remains of uncontaminated water on Earth by robotic installations and automated cargo ships.

Jack does the most dangerous job by flying daily repair and maintenance missions, mostly fixing combat drones, which protect the installations from the desperate and aggressive Scavs. From their flying house, a safe refuge out of reach of Scavs, Victoria watches over him, warns him of dangers and if necessary musters drones to help him. It is a harsh and quite sad life, but they have one another for comfort - and also their task will soon be over.

But Jack is not well. He doesn't sleep well since some time and every morning wakes up more and more tired, exhausted by strange dreams which repeat themselves - dreams in which he meets a strange Woman (Olga Kurylenko), a woman he can not remember ever knowing, but who nevertheless seems surprisingly familiar... And then, one day after he wakes up for another day of work on the surface, the film really begins...

This is a good film, although it borrows heavily from many of older and better Sci-Fi movies (I will not name them, to avoid spoilers - but you will recognise them). Although Philip K. Dick didn't have anything to do with the scenario, he would probably recognise his influence in it - and I think he would have liked this film, for quite a lot of reasons... There is a good mixture of slow scenes setting the mood and of action. There is a mystery in this film, and the FULL disclosure is not given until almost the end - and it is done very, very well indeed. And the ending, always the most vulnerable spot for all Sci-Fi super-productions, is well done - and it is both moving and in the same time asking questions, on which we have to think a little before answering...

Tom Cruise, who notwithstanding some excentricities is a great actor, gives here a GREAT performance, both when talking and when shooting. Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman (who appears late in the film in a way which you will have to discover by yourself) are also very good. But personally I was MOST impressed by the character of Victoria and the way Andrea Riseborough played her. It is not an easy role and it is definitely not easy to outstage a looker like Olga Kurylenko - but in my personal opinion Ms Riseborough totally did it!

Another personal favorite in this film are combat drones - they are really cool, both in their visual aspect (shape and especially this SPEED!) and in the sounds they produce. Those are really some bad@ss military robots, infinitely more dangerous and cooler than most of such things in recent Sci-Fi. And just to be clear - do not expect any cute Transformers-like machines... Those things were made to fly far, find quickly and terminate with extreme prejudice, not to sell action-figures...)))

There are of course plot holes - but well, come on, without plot holes all heroes would always die and bad guys would always win. And who would like that?

Bottom line, I liked this film very much and I am very happy that finally I was given the opportunity to watch a GOOD big budget SciFi film. Try to catch it in the cinema as long as it is still playing - me, I think I will buy the DVD when it is available, because it is worth another watching one day. Enjoy!
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In the year 2077 Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are a working couple who live in a tower on the planet earth. We are given the background: Aliens called Scavengers or "Scavs" destroyed the moon. The earth went into turmoil. We managed to defeat them through the use of nuclear weapons. With our planet uninhabitable, our people went to live on Titan. An orbiting triangle space station gives orders to Jack whose mission is to maintain an army of drones used to hunt the remnants of the scavengers.

Jack's memory was erased in case aliens capture him. He has dreams of a woman (Olga Kurylenko)in NYC from a time long before the invasion. About the time Morgan Freeman shows up, things tie together, we get the twist, and the film takes off in a different direction.

The characters in the film are dry. The dialogue was boring. The action moved slow with the film definitely being too long. I enjoyed the one early scene where Cruise attempts a "Mission Impossible" type of escape, one that fails. The cinematography was great with a decent story line. If you love science fiction and are tired of those SyFy films, this is a welcomed change with neat killer drones and landscapes.

I am sure Cruise didn't have to beat himself up too much to accept the role of Luke Skywalker, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith, Independence), and Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis, Armageddon) all wrapped into one as he saves the world from alien invaders.

Parental Guide: One f-word (1 SOB) no sex, no real nudity. Brief sensuality. Brief Riseborough buttocks (?).
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on 22 September 2013
For those fans of Outer Limits (both the original and later series), this will be a treat.

The basics, I believe, everyone knows about - Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are both a couple and a pair of techs keeping Earth's automated recovery efforts into pulling as much resources as possible from a ruined earth in the aftermath of a successful defensive war, where humanity defeated an alien invasion. The film charts how these characters find that nothing is as it seems when they start investigating an odd signal set up by the alien survivors. Game on.

I don't want to spoil it, but suffice to say what happens is a fairly original story set against some of the most spectacular imagery this side of Avatar. Tom Cruise does a great job of his role, as does the rest of the small cast. The storyline shifts between sad reminders of Earth's past into intense action, the art style is amazing (anyone who's played Wipeout or Sanctum will see some parallels) and it comes to a satisfying conclusion, with a brilliant musical score.

As for the Blu Ray, it's functional. There's a decent set of featurettes that cover various aspects of the making the film (all of which are HD), and the film itself is presented in truly fantastic resolution (particularly important given how much emphasis the film puts on imagery).

Fabulous piece of cinema.
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on 9 October 2015
A surprising success. Reminiscent, in style and manner, of the sci-fi films of the 1970s, 'Oblivion' is full of energy, ideas, and philosophical concepts. Many of the below-par reviews it's been receiving have attacked it for being derivative of previous films, in that 'we've-seen-it-all-before', but they've been missing the point, as, in this case, it works, in fact, as a function in beckoning you on, with the comfort of you knowing what you are seeing and experiencing, to watch further and be enthralled - and if anything, in a world of unnecessary sequels, reboots, prequels, and needless superhero-films, this little film, with a story all of its own, be it that it has a big Hollywood star, comes across as a shining light. Tom Cruise, who's excellent in the lead role (not something you could easily say of the actor, from his recent outings), plays 'Jack Harper', one of the last survivors of Earth left stationed on the planet as part of an operation to extract vital resources, after a war with a 'threat' only known as the 'Scavs' has ended. However, when he rescues a stranger he seems to have deep-rooted memories of, everything he believes in, including his very existence, comes into question. From the offset, the film is beautifully shot, with spectacular scenery and environment, exposing a futuristic world that has undergone an apocalyptical disaster; it is literally spellbounding, the sheer detail and vision that has gone into it (which includes the advanced technology the world of the film exposes) - almost like a piece of art. For those wanting mindless action-sequence after mindless action-sequence, this will be a disappointment, as the film works more as a novel, in that the tension and intrigue build at a gradual steady pace, an intellectual pace, as the plot starts to unfold. The narrative, as all great sci-fi films, is very existential in its portrayal, and very adult-like in it's depiction - which, in this day-and-age, where most films are generally marketed towards children, is a breath of fresh air. If you think along the lines of films such as 'Solaris', 'Sphere', 'Moon', you won't be far off. So whilst the film may not offer themes and ideologies overly original (but then, what films do?), this doesn't deter from what is a very engaging and imaginative offering that dares to put questions to the audience in regards to humans and their existence. Long after watching it, you'll find it residing in your mind. Rather like a comforting flavour. And that surely can't be a bad thing.
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on 27 April 2014
There's something potentially great about this film, that is not developed as it might have been.
Let's say the beginning and the end let you think it could have been a little big scifi gem. Pity that all the central part is weak (too much action, like they lost the existential and almost philosphical aspects shown in the beginning).
Despite that, I enjoyed it and wanted to watch it through to the end. Maybe it's because there some visual stuff that's very good and Tom Cruise still puts himself 100% into each role he plays so he makes you believe the film is worth watching and even makes the ending quite emotional.
I just hope they won't make a sequel or a prequel: part of its charm lies in the fact it's an uncomplete movie, in its not fully expressed potential. Both the audio and video quality of this blu ray are very very good.
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on 20 May 2016
I must admit that I originally listened to the critics and the Tom Cruise haters and believed this film may be tosh. Don't believe them, it is quite simply one of the most stunning science fiction films of all time. It is not fast paced, but instead a slow and beautifully looking film. It is not however boring as some would suggest, unless that is you have a short attention span. If you do, watch something else.

Just like Edge of Tomorrow, it is visually spectacular and should have been a colossal hit. The script might be a mixture of other films and as such, it is better not to know the plot beforehand and just watch the film to marvel at the visuals on screen and listen to a superb score by M83. This film could have had no script and would still be a visual treat. The real scenery in Iceland is out of this world and the visual effects, just beautiful.

This is not an action film, although there is enough to satisfy most people, but an epic visual experience like the science fiction films of the 60’s/70’s. It is definitely not Star Wars, but if you like 2001, Silent Running, etc., you will like this film, but if you hate Tom Cruise, avoid as he is in virtually every scene. Tom Cruise is of course playing a variation of Tom Cruise as usual, but that is no bad thing. I doubt there is any other actor around who could have pulled off this role. Forget his age, he is still one of the very few ‘Movie Stars’ left who genuinely deserve that title, with the others possibly, Hanks, Ford and Stallone.

Maybe the script could have been better and I would acknowledge that Olga Kurylenko is one of the film's weaknesses, as is the fact that Morgan Freeman could have had more to do, but that said, these do not detract from the visual experience and that is what this film is all about.

I have now seen this twice, the first time I saw it I was merely impressed, after watching for a second time, I realised that it had however become one of my favourite sci-fi films of all time. Well worth a second viewing. Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow are two of the best sci-fi films of the last decade and both deserved all the credit they can get, as both for different reasons are two of Tom’s best films.
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on 10 May 2016
Quite simply, an amazing, exceedingly atmospheric film that is both thought-provoking and refreshingly different to the usual sci-fi fare. The story line is gripping, if a little complicated, so you may need a couple of viewings to take it all in. However, for those of us that thoroughly enjoy immersion, depth and cinematic perfection, this will not be a problem for you - if anything, you'll welcome that second, or even third, viewing. Yes, it's that good.

In addition to the dystopian, bleak world that the main characters inhabit, here we have a well-conceived love story that is cleverly handled, though (thankfully), not overly sentimental in its execution - but it is suitably touching nonetheless. In short, the balance is just about right, and does not detract from the overall experience. Indeed, it's an absolutely essential part of the plot.

We also follow one man's fight to not only save a dying planet and its few remaining inhabitants, but we are also intrigued as he sets out find himself (in the truest sense of the words), as his memory has been wiped for 'security reasons'. The man concerned is Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), a security repairman, tasked with protecting giant 'hydro rigs' (machines that suck up vast quantities of ocean water for reprocessing), from 'Scavs' - the remaining remnants of an invading, but ultimately defeated, alien force. The cost to humanity, however, is a nuked, almost barren planet that is expertly portrayed and realised in glorious colour - or, should I say, the lack of it. Basically, we are treated to an impressive, suitably grim backdrop that perfectly conveys the desolation and hopelessness of the situation.

There are many twists and turns for the viewer to enjoy, plus excellent performances from Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough. Admittedly, I'm not a massive fan of Tom's, generally speaking, but I doff my cap to the gentleman in this instance. His performance must rank as one of his best, if not the best. As for Morgan Freeman...well, we all know he's a class act, and once again that's the case here, even though he doesn't make an appearance until halfway through the film. Top quality actors doing their stuff - you can't get batter than that.

Incidentally, the film's soundtrack really is something truly special and adds immense presence to the unfolding story - just as it should. Be sure to leave the DVD/Blu Ray disc running (and turn the volume up!) when you reach those closing credits. The song, 'Oblivion', performed by French band, M83 (featuring Susanne Sundfor) is nothing short of awesome. It's possibly the best track you'll have heard in years. Inspiring stuff and very, very fitting indeed. In fact, don't be surprised if you find yourself buying the OST, too....

Overall, this is a simply fabulous, atmospheric film that fully warrants a 5-star rating. If you're a fan of Ridley Scott's classic 'Blade Runner', then I'd suggest this will be right up your alley. At the ridiculously low price the DVD is on sale for, you'd be a fool to miss out - I got a copy for just £2.80, so bought a second copy for my eldest son. he thought it was a great film, too....and, as neither of us are easily pleased, I guess that's the greatest recommendation I can make. BUY IT.

To sum-up, it's fabulously entertaining and thought-provoking. It's near perfection, in my humble view. I just wished I'd seen this wonderful film at my local multiplex. Oh, well........
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 October 2013
A race of intergalactic nasties (who obviously didn't watch the War of the Worlds remake) has only gone and waged war on Earth. However, despite the fact they trashed our planet, our man Tom stands defiant against their hordes. C'mon, they don't stand a chance, do they?

I may be being flippant, but I actually really enjoyed this film. I won't go into details about the story, as there are a few cool twists and turns along the way. All you need to know is that aliens are trying to mix it with Tom Cruise. When will those xenomorphs learn?

You have cool space ships, decent CGI effects, mean-looking robots, space-age costumes and quite a novel spin on the (somewhat tired) alien invasion movie. All in all, the two hours goes by pretty quickly. I did get a bit confused around the midway mark, but I must have been being a bit dim, because, by then end of the film I knew the hows and whys of the movie (and enjoyed them).

My only major gripe was that (for the most part of the film) there are only two characters - Tom and his onscreen other half. Having such a small cast means you really do have to invest in both of them completely. Tom does tend to overact on occasion and his female partner is a little `too cold.' By that I mean Tom goes around thinking with his heart and she's all `head.' Therefore she's the polar opposite of him in every way. And, being Tom Cruise, he's always right.

However, that's a minor gripe. It's still a cool sci-fi film. If nothing else, it will act as yet another warning to other aliens not to mess with Earth while we still have Tom on our side.
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