Last night I finally got to see the newly released Oblivion on blu ray after missing it on its cinema release. It was a “blind buy” but I thought it was worth taking a chance on as I am a big fan of director Joseph Kosinski’s Tron Legacy. I was not disappointed and enjoyed the movie very much.
Tom Cruise narrates an opening bit of exposition. It is 2077 and the Earth is (officially) uninhabited after a war with alien invaders. The aliens smashed up Earth’s moon and the resulting shifts in gravity messed everything up. Now after vanquishing the alien invaders humanity is leaving the ruins of Earth and is migrating to Saturn’s moon Titan. Cruise’s character Jack Harper and his wife Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, are overseeing maintenance of some drones. The drones in turn watch over big water sucking behemoths that are draining Earth’s oceans for the raw materials that will make the trip to Titan possible.
We first see Cruise and his wife live on a gravity-defying house miles above the Earth’s surface and then see Cruise flying around in his nifty little bubble plane. I did initially wonder at how humanity was supposed to gain such high-tech hardware in the relatively near future. But in the end it all made sense. But that would be telling…
We are quickly launched into a visually stunning world as Cruise goes on patrol of the ruins of Earth. I actually hate typing “visually stunning” as it is such a cliché but I can’t think how else to describe how this movie looks. The words visually stunning were invented for this movie.
Later on Cruise finds the wreck of a human space craft from the NASA era with its crew still in suspended animation. One of the aggressive drones starts shooting the life pods and Cruise has to intervene to prevent the last pod being destroyed. Just as well he did because the pod contains Olga Kurylenko’s astronaut character Julia and more to the point she remembers being married to Cruise back before the aliens invaded. And confusingly Cruise has fragments of memory of meeting her on top of the Empire State Building decades ago.
Also in the mix are a bunch of human survivors led by Morgan Freeman who appear to want to capture Cruise for their own purposes.
Without giving too much away it is apparent that something is not quite right with Cruise’s world and he goes on a journey to discover what the truth is. It’s perhaps no accident that the NASA spacecraft that Julia was on was called Odyssey.
There are some nice little plot twists. Some I semi-predicted but one in particular took me by surprise and I enjoyed very much.
I’m not the biggest Tom Cruise fan in the world but I have to admit that he is very good at what he does. (I was also tremendously entertained by his Jack Reacher despite myself.) It’s also always nice to see Olga Kurylenko appear in a new movie and transcend her Bond origins. (I like Olga, she’s pretty.)
But the big surprise for me was Andrea Riseborough. I somehow have not seen her in anything yet and I thought she was pretty damn good. Her role was possibly the trickiest to pull off and she did very well. I shall presently be checking out her back-catalog of movies.
I’m quite keen for Joseph Kosinski to get stuck into Tron 3, or even the rumoured The Black Hole remake, but if he turns out other movies of this quality in between then I won’t be complaining.
Interesting (or not) piece of trivia. Olga Kurylenko has also made a movie called Land of Oblivion about the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.