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Oblivion - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: C
Acting: B-
Writing: C
Cinematography: B
Editing: C+
Special Effects: B+

If you were to throw Independence Day, Contact, and The Matrix in a blender, adding just a pinch of Star Wars, and then keep only the frothy stuff on the top, you might get Oblivion. Given that this movie has no idea how unoriginal it really is, it might be more accurate to call it Oblivious.

The story of the actual alien invasion and subsequent war would have been a lot more exciting. But this is the late 21st Century, some fifty years after the fact. It's way post-apocalyptic -- so much so, in fact, that the Earth really isn't all that interesting. We do find New York skyscrapers buried conveniently to their roofs. Even considering the apparent destruction of the moon, resulting in massive earthquakes and tsunamis, how does that happen? Well, okay, nothing in this movie would ever actually happen.

The word "cloning" is never said, but it gets into the mix. Memories from the host transferred to the clone? That basically happens here. It's a science fiction idea as old as the idea of cloning, and it makes no sense. I'm all for science fiction if the ideas behind it are remotely plausible.

Spoiler alert! We never see any aliens. Not a single one. Just "mystery" and a ship exchanging fire with drones while flying through a trench. Sound familiar? This movie would have worked better as a spoof. But it's actually earnest -- not too much so; just enough to be a would-be blockbuster that tries to take itself seriously. I had a hard time believing Tom Cruise actually reads classic literature. (Books play a semi-pivotal role.)

Except, of course, his name here is actually Jack. He and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) lead solitary but seemingly content lives as "the mop-up crew" repairing drones on the now-uninhabitable Earth as giant machines somehow convert sea water into energy so the last of humanity can flee as refugees to Titan and join the rest. Or so he thinks! Jack is not who he thinks he is! Can you feel the tension!

Oh yeah. There's another woman (Olga Kurylenko). She haunts Jack's dreams and also shows up in a ship that crashes to Earth. Did she know him before Jack's "memory-wipe" as a security measure? Oh, who am I kidding, I don't give a shit. You won't have any reason to either. I found other things distracting, like when a man Jack's age actually utters the words "Screw you," only because he says the word "fuck" later and that word is only allowed once in a PG-13 movie. This movie is all pandering, all the time.

Still, I was actually kind of engaged in this movie for a while. The actors frankly kind of phone it in (especially Morgan Freeman, as a sort of rebel leader with a surprisingly small part), but it's nicely shot, even if it is mostly of barren landscapes with buildings sticking up out of it here and there. A movie doesn't have to be totally original for me to be entertained by it. But hell, if it refuses to have any original ideas, the least it can do is be exciting. Oblivion, much more concerned with fundamentally anticlimactic plot twists, fails on that front.

Tom Cruise is slave to hackneyed movie concepts in OBLIVION.

Overall: C+
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