Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: ‘Oblivion’

By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

The summer movie season has started early and “Oblivion” knocks it out of the park.

This sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise is 126 minutes of heart-pounding, plot-twisting fun. Seeing it on an IMAX screen makes the experience even better.

Joseph Kosinski, director of “TRON: Legacy,” adapts his own unpublished graphic novel into a screenplay — with help from Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt and a few others — and directs this sci-fi set on post-apocalyptic Earth.

It’s 2077 and Jack Harper (Cruise) is part of the mop-up crew in charge of securing an evacuated Earth. An alien threat invaded and the battle for Earth raged on for decades.

“We won the war, but lost the planet,” he says during his opening narration.

Now, survivors have fled. Soon, Harper and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) will join the others once their mission is complete. All remaining resources are being taken from Earth and it’s the pair’s job to protect the machines doing the work. Some of the aliens, called Scavs or Scavengers, remain in hiding and are working to disrupt the operation.

As audiences watch "Oblivion," elements from other great sci-fi movies are apparent. And this is not a bad thing. Think “The Matrix,” “Independence Day” and “Wall-E” all rolled into one. Others come to mind immediately, but this reviewer will omit them as to not spoil the plot. These borrowed elements infuse a solid plot, making this movie enjoyable all around.

The pulsating score is reminiscent of “TRON: Legacy” and features bombastic beats similar to Hans Zimmer’s score for “Inception.”

This great score only adds to the fantastic production design of the movie. Every detail has been thought out, from the costumes, the set and stunning visuals similar to last summer’s “Prometheus,” an equally impressive sci-fi feature.

“Oblivion” was filmed in digital 4K resolution — the highest projection quality available, four times the standard projector’s pixels — and on location across the United States and Iceland. The cinematography by Claudio Miranda, who recently won an Oscar for his work on “Life of Pi,” complements the visuals very well. Even though Earth is uninhabitable, it looks like a beautiful place to live.

The acting is also spot on. Cruise slips into his normal action shtick. Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo deliver some memorable lines. Look for great performances from Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko.

“Oblivion” was originally scheduled for a July 10 berth. Luckily, audiences don’t have to wait that long and benefit from a great sci-fi summer blockbuster a little early.

/ 5

Official trailer:

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity.
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