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Oblivion - Film Review

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by Robyn Townsend (subscribe)
BA English student studying at the University of Birmingham. Reviewing theatre, films, books, local events. My Twitter is @robynwithayuh
Published April 11th 2013
Stunning sci-fi spectacle, but no emotion & too many twists


Oblivion is a terrific looking sci-fi film, rated 12A, adapted from the graphic novel by Joseph Kosinski, by the writer himself. Tom Cruise stars as security repairman Jack Harper, tasked with patrolling what's left of Earth in 2077, after decades of war with an alien threat. Along with the stunning and efficient mission controller Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), he oversees the extraction of essential resources from the planet, while avoiding but sometimes having to face 'scavengers', the aliens who began the war against humanity. Despite being memory wiped before the mission began, Jack is haunted by dreams which seem to be memories of a former life on Earth, featuring a beautiful woman (Olga Kurylenko). And then, two weeks before he and Victoria are due to leave and join the rest of the evacuated human race, Jack saves someone who appears to be the very woman from his dreams, from the wreckage of a spacecraft that crash lands. It is here, that his world begins to unravel.

Aesthetically, Oblivion is sublime. The barren yet beautiful dystopia that Cruise soars across in his helicopter-spaceshippy craft (sci-fi language) is dotted with partially destroyed landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The setting is engaging and convincing; the effort put in to creating this fantasy world is clear to see. There is even a tranquil spot where nature has prevailed, and without giving too much away, this too is flawless in design and a thoughtful contrast to the dusty wasteland that makes up the rest of the planet. The space station where Cruise and Riseborough live, high above the planet, is sleek and suitably futuristic. In addition to the spectacle, Oblivion delivers in exciting 'shooty moments' - chase sequences and shoot outs, despite not being the most original plot points, were still engaging and tense. I found myself longing for it to be a video game at moments of intense action.

Personally, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Oblivion. I knew little about it before viewing and was genuinely intrigued by the plot. It proved to be more than a 'sci-fi shoot out', with a good dose of mystery, however it was hard to follow the numerous twists. At times, the film lacked warmth and the script left a little to be desired, but despite this, the impressive visuals managed to engage and thrill the audience. The world created by Kosinski felt real and believable, if unsupported by the narrative, and is sure to delight audiences. As a rainy day activity this Easter holiday, I consider it a success.


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Why? A stunning sci-fi spectacle, with a plot that includes classic features of the genre
Where: A cinema near you
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