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IHC Movie Reviews: Oblivion (2013)

Tom Cruise. Science Fiction. Morgan Freeman. If at least two of those strike your fancy, you’re in luck. Oblivion, a science fiction flick with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman is in theatres now. But how does it do? Is it a note worthy scifi flick, or should it have remained in cryosleep?

Set on a post apocalyptic Earth in 2077 Tom Cruise portrays Jack Harper, a member of a clean up crew following a a nasty failed invasion from an alien species. He only has a little bit of time left before he gets to jump ship and rejoin the rest of humanity on Titan, but events unfold before him that put all of that into jeopardy. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. The story is easily the high point of the film, and it has a pretty solid twist. It’s an interesting premise, its executed well, and the last quarter of the film just throws the rest of it on it’s head. It’s not a super dialog heavy film, so the scripting is more than adequate. Cruise does what he does best, and it works for the character. What the character required was emotion without narration, and as silly as it sounds it could be hard to pull off. The supporting cast while not huge played well. All the right people had good chemistry, and it worked. 

The production value of this film is top notch. The futuristic looking stations Harper lives in, his plane thing, even the guns look ultra futuristic, but still look believable. Everything looks like something that is possible by 2077. On the flip side, the scavs (the alien race squatting earth) look 100% different, using scavenged armor and weapons, hence the name. The landscapes look amazing, and they really made Earth look reclaimed by nature. Just looking around in the action scenes to see what you can notice yields some interesting results. New York City is under massive amounts of ice, and DC is now a desert. The effects of the war are ever looming as well as a destroyed moon is always in orbit, always looming in the background. There’s a lot of CGI, but it never looks overdone. Combined with some practical sets, it’s just a good looking flick. 

I’m going to nerd out for a bit. Here be some spoilers, so skip it if you want to go in a purist. The story is awesome. The first bit of the flick you don’t expect whats coming at all, and when it starts it just flips everything over. There’s some subtle clues, but it’s honestly a surprise. But, I think part of the story was hurt in the marketing. It’s said several times in the first half hour that they are part of the only humans on Earth, yet in the trailers Morgan Freeman is sitting around looking all squatter like. So you’re always waiting for him to pop up, and when he does it just doesn’t feel like a surprise. The big unveiling of him as a character just isnt a surprise. It kind of takes away from parts of the story, but only a very small amount. The big twist has been kept under wraps pretty good, so there’s still a good surprise. It’s original, and it’s fun.

All in all, it’s a great flick. Really cool original story, decent acting, and it looks damned good. I’m sure there’s people that could find things wrong with this film, but I’m not one of them. 

5 out of 5. 

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