Movie Review – Oblivion

WARNING: Spoilers. There are plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)



IMDB Rating: 7.2 out of 10 (34,595 votes)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

The poster for Oblivion.

The poster for Oblivion.

The more I think about Oblivion, the less I want to like it. The story was amateurish to say the least, and having unreal visual effects doesn’t make you a good director – it makes you blind.

Oblivion was very much a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of film. Every tiny detail was counted. But in the end, all of that counted towards nothing. Because, put basically, Oblivion was visually appealing – but the story was very, very bad.

I think Joseph Kosinski has a fair idea how to direct a stunningly good film to look at. But what Kosinski brings in visuals, he lacks in story. His other project to date was TRON: Legacy – featuring a lacklustre narrative to say the least. Kosinski plans to direct another TRON film in 2014, and god knows I won’t be seeing that. He has little to no idea how to summarize elements of a film into one coherent plot – perhaps Oblivion’s biggest failure.

Everything seems irrelevant in this film. The cloning, the alien attacks, the ship flight recorder – something so desperately needed by Julia, only for her to not use it…ever. Things just didn’t add up.

Yeah, that looked nice. Not sure why the plane had to backflip when taking off, though.

Yeah, that looked nice. Not sure why the plane had to backflip when taking off, though.

Oblivion didn’t have a whole lot of taste. Producing incredible visuals isn’t something to marvel about. Not nowadays, at least. Nearly every Sci-Fi movie in the last 3-5 years has had some pretty sensational landscapes and cool little machines. Oblivion turned out to be just one more of those movies.

If I had to compare this film to another, it would definitely be to the latest Total Recall. It was identical in some ways; little to no character motivation, zero emotional investment from the audience, and direction to show less of the goings-on and more of the venues where the goings-on was occurring.

Yeah, I was disappointed. I don’t know why. The premise didn’t get me going, really. I was just waiting for Morgan Freeman to come in. And here’s the thing about that:

His arrival – basically ruined by the trailer – builds up, and then disappears for the next half an hour, only for it to reappear in the final stages of the film, acting as some sort of an escape from the manic storytelling unfolding on the dying Earth.

THAT was your plan?

THAT was your plan?

Kosinski’s screenplay was weak, and I’m not quite sure, with all the plot holes, how it got made. He’s not alone, either. He co-wrote it with Karl Gajdusek – writer of the axed TV Series ‘Last Resort’ – and Michael deBruyn. The dialogue was okay for the most part, besides the corniest line ever, being blurted out of Tom Cruise’s mouth – a resounding “F*** you, Sally”, before dying. Come on, guys. Give me a break.

I hopped straight on to Wikipedia when I got home after watching Oblivion, to see if they could clear a few things up for me. Well, the plot outline just added to the confusion. Morgan Freeman’s character’s name was Beech? And Julia was PREGNANT? WHAT?!

The script fancied taking way to many cop-outs for my liking. This wasn’t a real sci-fi movie. It was a big budget, visually appeasing film that seemed to have no substance whatsoever. I’m sure Tom Cruise appreciated the pay check, Universal. Even he knows this movie stinks.

Cruise was pretty good in the movie. I’ll give him that much. Freeman was solid. Andrea Riseborough was pretty good, too. But Olga Kurylenko was weak in my opinion. Her line delivery wasn’t that good, and her job was made a little easier seeing as half the time she was either dying, or sleeping. I just didn’t feel connected with her character at all, besides the Empire State Building flashback – a very well-directed sequence, may I add. I just thought that Julia was a pretty bad character, and her motivation for everything was invisible.

I seriously don't know how anyone survives on this planet, seeing as those things are sucking everything up.

I seriously don’t know how anyone survives on this planet, seeing as those things are sucking everything up. Seriously. How do Morgan Freeman’s people eat!?

Wikipedia describes ‘Sally’ as: “…a huge monolithic, amorphous, sentient tetrahedron-like being.” Okay – that pretty much sums it up. What the hell is that?

I liked Jack’s little hideout. It brought the tiniest sense of a relatable structure to one of the blandest films I’ve seen. Oblivion had no cultural relevance or significance, besides the fact that the main character had a small spot that he liked to go to in case things got rough. That’s a pretty strong indication that Oblivion has a muddled and confused story.

I can’t believe I actually liked the first 20 minutes. How wrong was I to think that things would stay the same? How wrong was I?

Lots and lots and lots of things in Oblivion didn’t make sense, and anyone who believes this is a sci-fi masterpiece needs some serious schooling. Nothing really ended up fitting. The music was average, and didn’t end up doing the film any favours.

Sci-Fi films aren’t just supposed to be visual treats. They’re supposed to bend the mind, and fashion a basic principle of blurring the line between real and fake.

Give me Prometheus over this any day. Bring on Pacific Rim.

MY RATING: 3.5 out of 10.

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2 responses to “Movie Review – Oblivion

  1. I totally agree with you. Just like Tron, Oblivion is great from a visual point of view, but it totally lacks substance. Kosinski recently said in an interview that he started working on the story in 2005. Really, 8 years for this? Kosinski should start to work with the right guys. With his talent as a visual artist, he could make great films… Or maybe he should just stick to making commercials.
    some are actually very good.

    • Agree. Imagine if he worked with a Scorcese, a Boyle, a Darabont, an Abrams (especially Abrams – does great visuals AND tells a great story). All those guys are fine storytellers. Could really help Kosinski out. Can’t believe he worked 8 years on that crap.

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