Beren (beren_writes) wrote,

Review: Oblivion - Not bad, but not great and with more holes than plot.

Title: Oblivion
Rating: 12A
Tom Cruise ... Jack
Morgan Freeman ... Beech
Olga Kurylenko ... Julia
Andrea Riseborough ... Victoria
Summary: Jack and Victoria are part of the clean up team on earth after there has been an invasion of aliens that has basically destroyed the planet's eco system. The invaders are still on earth, so Jack and Victoria maintain and protect the giant fusion generators that are using sea water to store energy. Almost everyone else has gone to Titan and soon Jack and Victoria will be going too. Only Jack's having doubts about wanting to leave.

Now let me start by saying this is not a bad film. I did not come out of watching it demanding I get those hours of my life back, but, I could also never watch this film again and still be perfectly happy.

For me it suffers from two main problems:

  1. Two hour movie syndrome - movies these days think they have to be two hours long or people won't take them seriously. This film has entirely unnecessary sequences and repeats of ideas that should have been left out. An hour and a half would have been perfectly long enough.
  2. It feels like a movie built on a premise to show off the special effects. I know it was based on an unpublished graphic novel (which I believe is now being published with the release of the movie), but I think there was a reason it was never published by itself. It simply doesn't make sense and the plot has more holes than a colander.

That being said, there are some good things about the movie and I am sure hard core Tom Cruise fans will think it is wonderful. If I'd been watching a movie with Tom Hiddleston or James McAvoy as the star getting that much screen time I know I would have been a happy little bunny (but then I could watch either of them read the phone book ;)).

The special effects are really good, in fact they are so good that I didn't question what was real and what was effect. It's a visually stunning movie with some breathtaking backdrops.

I enjoyed the characters. Tom Cruise is great as Jack. His portrayal is nothing revolutionary, you've seen him doing it before, but he's good at it, so no complaints there. 

The one I really liked, although my husband was not overly impressed, was Andrea Riseborough. She plays Victoria, who is just a little bit creepy. Where as Jack is the rebel, Victoria is the toe the line, by the rules half of the partnership. It clear that when talking doesn't work she's perfectly happy to keep Jack in line using sex, but it is also clear she really cares about him.

Morgan Freeman is, well Morgan Freeman, so yay :).

Then we have Olga Kurylenko as Julia, who I thought was a bit pathetic and way under used. Admittedly she was confused and lost for a good deal of her appearances on the screen, but she's supposed to be a flight officer and she never used any of that.

Okay, so onto the film's biggest problem: the plot. The thing about this movie is that when you get to the end you look back at the beginning and realise that it just doesn't make any sense. There are ways it could have done, but either they left out all the explanations or it just never held together in the first place.

It's utterly obvious what is going on. Talk about giving the whole plot away in the trailer. There was only one bit that was even vaguely a surprise and when I say surprise, actually, I mean, one of only a few possibilities and I was just waiting to see which one they were going for. For over the first half of the movie the plot makes sense; everything works and it could have been easily resolved, but then comes the big reveal and then it starts to fall apart.

When the original explanation of what is going on, works way better than the real explanation of what is going on, there's a problem.

It was all show without substance, premise without thought through plot.

Then there is the other problem with the film: the pacing. Throughout a large percentage of the film you get flashes of dream from Jack, all done in black and white and bitty. Then two characters talk about it and you get it in black and white, but more held together with their explanation over the top. Then, for some reason only known to the director, they insist on showing it all again in colour. Totally pointless. That was the worst example of pacing, but there were other bits that could have been cut down without affecting the plot while improving on the viewing experience.

So, all in all, if you like Sci-Fi and/or Tom Cruise and you have a spare couple of hours, go see it. If you don't, IMHO, you're not missing anything.

This entry was originally posted at
Tags: fandom: oblivion, type: review

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