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!
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.
on 12 April 2013
I saw Oblivion recently as a preview to the main release. This review is about the film rather than the (as yet) unreleased DVD/Blu-ray.
This is a film with a cinematic feel - sweeping panoramas of a devastated world turned mostly to desert, contrasts with the futuristic vehicles, droids and living quarters of the technicians left behind to act as caretakers of a barren world.
As has been said by other reviewers, the world has been ruined by a war with alien invaders and now the last humans prepare to leave the earth forever; their spaceship orbits the earth and all that remains is for the seas to be used to provide energy for spaceship and future colony.
Unfortunately the earth still has remnants of the invaders left who try and disrupt the energy conversion and it's up to Tom Cruise and his fellow technician to prevent the remnants of the invasion force interfering with the conversion operation. That's the opening premise and the film develops from there.
The film moves from action sequences to slow deliberation and takes the time to "breathe". I like the changes of pace and the contrast that this brings. The dialogue can be slow in places and this hearkens back to older sci-fi films. I like it - a complete contrast to the "cowboys in space" that we often see.
The visuals are fantastic, desolate world with ruined artifacts scattered around. The futuristic transport and living quarters, etc are wonderfully realised.
As can be imagined, the original premise isn't all the story to be told, but no spoilers here.
The film doesn't feel like a Tom Cruise vehicle and for someone who doesn't particularly like him in films, he didn't get in the way.
The film has been pretty much panned by the critics for being a melange of sci-fi ideas and plots and for a stulted performance by Tom Cruise & co. It's true that the film has nods to past films, a definite nod to an old Cruise film and one sequence in particular where deja-vue will definitely set in. I don't care.
I loved this film and will buy it on Blu-ray when released. I'm already looking forward to watching it again.
on 14 February 2016
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)
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)
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.
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.
on 4 May 2013
I went to the cinema to see this twice last week - very refreshing to see something without all the clutter of CGI that we get so regularly. Beautiful imagery, amazing music score, and perfect characters. Sit back and enjoy it, stop criticizing everything that exists and you will realize how engrossing this film is. I want more stuff like this, lots more.
on 24 July 2013
***** PLEASE NOTE THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS *****
As a fan of almost anything science fiction based, and having been lured by the trailers, I really wanted to like this film. Not just like, but rave about it. Unfortunately It didn't quite hit the mark for me.
The premise of the movie is that it is approximately sixty years after the earth was destroyed by a war against alien lifeforms. The moon took a hefty hit and lies in the sky like a partially crushed sphere, trails of it's debris leaking across the atmosphere. Down on the surface earth has been affected by the change in the moons gravitational field, causing earthquakes to ravage the planet and leave it uninhabitable. Naturally we used nuclear weapons during the war so that left it pretty knackered too. After we won, humans migrated to Titan (a moon of Saturn) and teams of two technicians have been left on earth to maintain some high level technology which provides benefit to Titan.
The movie revolves around Tech 49, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), who maintains the running of the equipment, aided by his partner Victoria played by Andrea Riseborough.
The opening visuals are slick and effective, capturing the contrast of the gleaming, sterile human environs and the devastated planet. To further enhance this divide, the Technicians live up in the clouds on a high rise platform home, with only Cruise descending to fulfill his task of repairing the aerial weapons (called drones) which protect the vast machines from the alien threat still on Earth.
And here is where the story starts to slip, with too many unanswered questions that come from trying to fit too many good ideas into one movie.
The visuals are superb and beautifully executed, reminiscent of some of the best sci-fi illustrators of the 70's and 80's (Syd Mead and Moebius to name two) with minimalistic interiors of grey and white and an outdoor transparent pool that almost seems to hang in the air. The destroyed earth is equally beautifully depicted without the usual wasted cities so familiar in many movies. Time has softened and eased the earth back to a more natural state with the remnants of civilisation only seen in brief pockets. It is quite breathtaking in places.
Unfortunately instead of capitalising on this simplicity the story starts to morph into something altogether heavy and overburdened with ideas. The idea of stealth technology being used in armour to hide the resistance (there had to be one), the presence of an all knowing leader figure who sends Harper off on a quest (instead of just telling him the news), mass cloning, cryogenic sleep, vast machines that I didn't quite grasp the purpose of, a predictably jealous woman, post apocalyptic survival, a cabin by a lake (yes really), sentimentality for the past, living a huge lie, ............ the list goes on.
What could have been a beautiful new foray into science fiction simply turned into a quagmire of well trodden paths and because of that it became sadly predictable. Right down to the last scene.
I feel bad for not liking it, maybe thirty five years of movie watching has made me jaded. I have no doubt some may adore this film (and I can understand that), and there are positive aspects to it. Morgan Freeman being one. For me though it was all style and little substance and a bit too long winded with acting that never felt quite believable. It was almost as if the actors knew it was flawed.
Worth a rent to see it, if you are a die-hard fan of Tom Cruise or Sci-fi then buy it. For me though it missed the mark in the same way Prometheus did. A great shame indeed.
on 11 April 2013
I saw this this morning,and wasnt sure quite what to expect.I love all good sci fi,of which there has not been much recently.I am very pleased to report this was better than i expected.Most importantly the story is great with many unexpected twists.(No big spoilers here) it is set after a war with aliens,which we won,just,but the earth is left near useless,and Tom Cruise is helping make preperations for final planet evacuation.His performance was very good,without it looking like the TOM CRUISE SHOW ! I cannot say any more plot without spoiling it,but there are plently of surprises,and i would call this a classic,which will be on peoples favourites lists for decades.I did not feel ive seen it all before,and cant give you any films to compare it with,but i would pitch it maybe as this years i robot,but i feel this film may stand the test of time better.
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.
on 28 February 2016
Well I purchased this film after seeing it on the telly, I loved it so much! If you love Sci-fi you will most definately love this film, it does get you thinking from time to time, but with a star studded cast including:Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman etc you just can`t go wrong! My advise just settle down and enjoy the film?!!
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.