Just got back from seeing Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, et al. I’ve seen written that it heralds the start of a new age of cinema sci-fi, and being somewhat of a cinema sci-fi buff, I have to agree.
The films starts by getting the viewer up to speed by Tom Cruise’s character Jack Harper (not Reacher). A long time ago, Earth was invaded by aliens, they were nuked and the war was won, but at the expense of the planet. Harper’s mission is to look after drones which in turn look after huge hydro-reactors that generate power for the remaining humans on Titan. He’s aided in this by his partner Victoria, who communicates with him and a mahoosive orbiting satellite called the Tet(rahedron), who are basically mission control.
Harper, who lives and dreams among the clouds, flies around in a *really* cool craft and repairs drones that have crashed. Well, not really crashed, more like shot down, by some of the remaining aliens called Skavs. They seem to be fairly intelligent, as they are taking the drones apart for their own reasons. Early in the film, Harper has a run-in with some Skavs, and that when we are introduced to the drones proper. Basically, they’re just giant balls of death, making mincemeat out of the Skavs and doing a fine job of protecting Harper.
They don’t do such a good job of protecting the hydro-reactors however, and after one gets destroyed in a (very large) explosion and some humans turn up unexpectedly, the film really gets going and that’s all I’m going to say on the plot.
I found the acting, unsurprisingly, to be top-notch. A lot of people put Tom Cruise down (ha ha), but he does this role very well, he seems to be all over the place at the moment. The rest of the cast are also excellent, especially Andrea Riseborough in the role of Victoria. Olga Kurylenko also does very well, despite being a smaller character initially. The film packs a bit of an emotional punch as well, almost to Silent Running levels
But good god, the design of the film is incredible. Earth looks ruined, but in a way not seen before. It is truly desolate, with only some recognisable features left (half the Pentagon, Lady Liberty’s torch, etc). Juxtaposing this is the achingly cool sci-fi tech. It looks advanced, but believably so, i.e. there’s no magic sci-fi thingy to help our hero out. The flying craft holds a myriad of devices to help Harper in his job, and even a fold-out motorbike – but again, it’s realistically done. The drones look fantastic, Harper’s house in the clouds looks like something Frank LLoyd Wright would design if he was alive in 2077, it’s all just stunning.
I was going to link to a featurette about the look of the film, but it really is worth going into it blind, and just enjoy the spectacle. The score is also fantastic, will probably end up buying it.
All in all, a very worthy 9/10 for Oblivion. To explain why it’s not 10/10, my reasons (referencing other sci-fi films) may lead to deductions of spoilers, and I wouldn’t want to do that. It’s a crackers of a film, and you’d be mad to miss it. It deserves to be seen on the big screen, but not necessarily IMAX big…