Review – Oblivion

Posted: February 11, 2016 in Film, Post apocalypse, Sci-Fi
Tags: , , ,

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I started watching this film knowing little about it. I didn’t know it was based on an unpublished graphic novel, written by the man who ended up directing the movie – but I’d love to read it. Nor did I realise I’d see Tom Cruise fight a cloned version of himself and win via triangle submission* – but it was one of the most enjoyable combat scenes I’ve seen in a while. And, though I had to watch it over two days (making the most of my son’s nap time) it was a hugely atmospheric and engaging film.

Another title on my catch up list, Oblivion set an intriguing tone from the outset. The sleek design element coupled with the stark and empty post-war landscape created a wonderful dichotomy that furthered the atmospheric battle at the heart of the film. It’s not just a battle between the perceived good ‘humanity’ and the bad ‘scavengers’; it’s the battle within Cruise’s character (Jack Harper, Tech 49) between his own self, his reality and his future.

This isn’t a sci-fi story that breaks much new ground, if I’m honest. However, the plot line was dealt with very smartly, slowly revealing that the baddies were actually the goodies and vice versa. That reveal, and the consequent clone fight between Cruise (Tech 49) and Cruise (Tech 52) then set the scene for some epic heroics from the lead protagonist. Yet, it also tested the water with the concepts and philosophy of what makes a human. Is it belonging? Is it memory and shared experience? Is it love and the desire to live? That fight is the spark behind these questions as both clones, though apparently memory-wiped, continue to have visions of a woman – the real Jack Harpers wife, Julia (played by Olga Kurylenko).

All these questions were brooked but ultimately they were answered with a very entertaining and explosive set piece finale. The aliens were vanquished and humanity once more showed it’s strength through sacrifice and solidarity. Once again, Tom Cruise puts in another solid sci-fi performance in a thoroughly enjoyable film. Atmospheric and brilliantly designed, it might not dig too deep but Oblivion is a great slice of sci-fi action.

(*To an actual grappler, this wasn’t one of the best executions of the famous triangle choke, in fact it was nearly all wrong, but it is nice to see the continued inclusion of the submission based martial arts in movies.)

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