TOM CRUISE: OBLIVION

4월 25, 2013 at 1:55 오후 , , ,
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By John Glynn

It has been a decent year for us veteran moviegoers and at the same time, inevitably, we have been forced to endure a generous amount of faecal excrement that Hollywood calls “entertainment”. But from Cloud Atlas to The Croods, I’d say that things are beginning to get progressively better. 2013 could very well be Hollywood’s seminal year. Real entertainment may actually be tangible, maybe we will start being entertained again!

Speaking of entertainment, Mr. Tom Cruise is always a man who provides plenty of controversy. Love him or loathe him, his latest offering is a masterpiece of a Sci-Fi movie, and trust me; I know what I am talking about, I’ve now seen it three times. Initially, when I was asked if I would like to see Oblivion, my first thoughts involved something along the lines of – Perhaps this is a follow up to The Hangover series.

I couldn’t have been more wrong if I wanted to be, there is not a decent Sci-Fi movie released in the last few decades that I’ve not viewed. Honestly, I absolutely love the ‘futuristic-look Sci-Fi flicks, one can’t help but feel a sense of optimism about the future when watching movies such as I Robot, The Fith Element, Total Recall (Yes, even the remake), Aliens, Blade Runner, A Space Odyssey, etc.

For quite a while now, I have been longing to re-experience some of that futuristic warmth that one longs for from Sci-Fi movie, only with big-budget special effects and modern-day cinematography. I am not a huge Tom Cruise fan, but I genuinely can’t imagine anyone playing the part of Jack Harper (the main character of Oblivion) better than he did. Cruise managed to capture the ‘still acting’ moments so well that I had to slap my face just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! An action hero Tom Cruise ain’t, but some inexperienced robot tech in ultramodern attire he certainly is! Oblivion begins by showing us a world ravaged by an alien attack. Apart from an imploded moon, it looks very similar to a world straight from the PC game Half-Life 2, in which aliens also attacked our wonderful world. The ocean levels have dropped drastically (something for you global warming alarmists), and what were once bastions of human originality are now mere piles of rubble.

From the token block-buster narration, we learn that humans staged a fight back, used nukes, and actually won the war. Nevertheless, what is left of humanity now has no option but to live of the moons of Jupiter, as Earth is too damaged, it’s basically broken, far too ravaged to support any population. Still swarming about the surface of the earth, those nasty aliens await. Stylistically, the post-apocalyptic Earth in Oblivion looks much less miserable than what we are accustomed to seeing.

With the intro out of the way, enter Jack Harper and his team mate. They are the last two people stationed on Earth and their job is to observe and defend the huge fusion reactors that turn seawater into raw energy, vital power needed to sustain the colony on Jupiter’s moon. These fusion reactors are a critical mechanism and if they fail, so does the remainder of humanity. Besides futuristic plasma / laser artillery, Cruise and his sidekick are assisted by drone robots to help them fend off attacks from the lingering extraterrestrial presence, something that mightn’t seem to alien (pardon the pun) to a true Scientologist.

Anyway, these robots are awesome, probably the coolest robots I’ve witnessed in quite some time. Even the T-800 from Terminator cannot compare to these floating orbs of obliteration. Any of you gaming-geeks who has played the Portal games on Steam will see an eerie resemblance between the robots in Oblivion and those in the highly addictive game.

So why exactly does a ravaged planet need a drone repair man, let alone drones, anyway? Jack describes the joint venture as a “mop up crew”, maintaining these weighty artillery airborne goliaths that guard vast hydro stations dotted around the planet. The drones require military muscle as they are attacked by Scavs, an alien species, supposedly, the cause of all this misery in the first place. Cruise ponders long and hard over why these pesky gremlins are still around some sixty years on. Initially, they destroyed our moon, and then they buggered up our tides and weather systems. Bastards!

On the topic of profanity, I only recall hearing “sh*t” once in the movie, but I am assured that there is stronger language used. As Oblivion is rated as a 12A, it does keep the bloodshed and canoodling to a minimum, but is generously compensated by pyrotechnics aplenty. Oh, and getting back to the moon, it was about an hour into the movie when I thought about Moon, the movie. You know the one, the maintenance guy with not long to go before a contract ends. Sound familiar?

Oblivion is luscious in its cinematography, the CGI Special FX are stunning and unassuming supporting actors serve the deep, fulfilling, stirring, and rather thrilling story. I shared empathy with the characters, came to despise the enemy, and enjoyed the overall ride on several different levels. Mystery man Morgan Freeman’s chilling delivery of the critical back-story elements makes you wish that subtitles could appear at any given time.

God, I love that man. Go see the movie, it’s rather good.

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