DOES OBLIVION LIVE UP TO IT’S OWN AMBITION?
I had a strange experience watching Oblivion. At first, I was stunned by how beautiful the film is. Next I was intrigued as the movie established Jack Harper’s (Tom Cruise) daily routine. For a time, the movie felt a tad long. Slowly the story added more and more layers to it’s mythology. I began to notice what many people have mentioned online.
Oblivion is FULL of big science fiction ideas but is that a good thing?
Minor Spoilers Ahead…
In a way, I agree that the film is almost too ambitious for it’s own good. By the time Jack encounters himself, I began reflecting on how much I loved the Duncan Jones’ Moon starring Sam Rockwell. The films share similar ideas and while the execution is different in Oblivion, I felt a stronger connection to Rockwell’s character in Moon.
When that happened, I doubted whether or not Oblivion would resonate once the credits rolled. That is, until Jack takes a ship into the station orbiting our ruined planet. As his small craft approached we are treated to a ton of exposition offering answers and peeling back the most intriguing layer the film has to offer. I didn’t mind the exposition. I’m happy there are movies like Oblivion that provide answers to balance out the vague and abstract tone of movies like Prometheus. As a result, I adored Oblivion’s final act.
Yet, as Jack’s ship approached the station I couldn’t help but reflect on how much I loved Independence Day. The films share similar ideas and while the execution is different in Oblivion, I felt a stronger connection to ID4’s heroes.
See where I’m going with this? We’ve seen all of the big ideas incorporated into Oblivion’s mythology before. Just not quite like this. The question is, can Oblivion bring them all together in one coherent story? Honestly, when I left the theater my answer was no… But…
As the day progressed I began reflecting on how much I enjoyed watching Jack learn about Earth’s true fate and his role in it’s future. I started reliving the film’s gorgeous visuals and intense action sequences. I felt a connection to the characters. I cared.
Like I said, I had a strange experience watching Oblivion. There was a time when I envisioned writing a fairly negative review. However, much like the movie, more layers were revealed as time went on. In the end, I highly enjoyed Oblivion and I’m really looking forward to the Blu Ray so I can delve deeper into the beautiful world director Joseph Kosinski created.
If you’re a fan of any of the films I mentioned in this review, there’s a good chance you’ll find something to love about Oblivion. You just have to give it a chance.