Monday, April 22, 2013

'Oblivion' Is Oblivious

Oblivion sucks.  Well, no, it's just...wait.  No, I was right the first time.  Oblivion sucks.  I will try to be brief, but I just might go off.  Bear with me.

Jack (played by everyone's favorite Scientologist, Tom Cruise) is just a regular Joe Schmoe.  He's a maintenance man in the year 2077.  Years earlier, Earth was attacked by "scavs" (I assume short for scavengers) who destroyed the moon and caused everything to get all jacked up.  Nukes and tectonic shifting are a lethal combination, yo.  A colony has been established on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, and the majority of the population is housed in a large vaginally-shaped triangular craft known as the Tet.  Jack keeps in contact with his commanders via video chat (Skype has survived a nuclear holocaust, apparently), and he is guided on his missions by his live-in lover and communications officer, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough). 

Five years ago, Jack and Victoria submitted themselves to memory wipes and now Jack suffers from recurring dreams of a woman on top of the Empire State Building.  She's a dark beauty with severe features and Bond girl qualifications (she's played by Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko).  The scavs continually try to destroy drones that patrol and protect the Earth's surface.  These drones kind of look like Eve from Wall-E if Wall-E was assassinated and Eve went all Terminator.  It would make sense, because Cruise is basically a hunky Wall-E.

As Jack is about to finish his mission, a ship crash lands and the only survivor is...the woman from Jack's dream.  Who is this woman?  This hottie won't answer Jack's straightforward questions, but I am pretty sure you can guess who this leggy brunette is.  What I thought was really interesting (and I am sure I am the only one who picked up on this) was how it made Cruise's character basically dump the redhead Aussie Brit and go for the younger...American.  Life imitating art here? 

Oblivion dodges questions that no one asked in the first place.  Cruise has never really been a genuine actor, in my opinion, so it was very hard to get on board with his character from the opening monologue.  It comes across forced.  Kurylenko might be the worst part about the movie.  She's a commanding officer from another ship, but she is the meekest character in the movie.  It feels like they took lines away from her and just told her to pose this way...pose that way...look pouty.  Maybe she's still groggy from hypersleep.  Who knows. 

Andrea Riseborough is a more interesting character, and I would have liked to have seen more interation with her and Cruise.  She basically has to sit behind a CGI desk and act by herself.  Sort of like how she acted alone in W. E.!  BAM!!!  I went there! 

Can someone also just make a science fiction movie that doesn't hinge on the visuals of famous buildings and skyscrapers?  If I had to see one more iconic New York structure just to distract the audience from lack of originality I was going to flip out.  Just go watch Wall-E.  At least you won't have Tom Cruise driving a penis-shaped aircraft into a spaceage vagina. 

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