Genre Grandeur – Oblivion (2013)


Surprise Folks!!!

Here’s yet another review from the great Niall of Ragingfluff for this month’s Genre Grandeur-Aliens.  This time he has reviewed Oblivion (2013).  If you don’t already follow his blog, I urge you to do so.

It’s still not too late to submit a review for this month’s Genre.  Just send me an email to aliens@movierob.net by Friday with your review of an “alien” related movie and I’ll post it.

Niall has also chosen next month’s genre which will be War movie, so start thinking about what you want to submit.

Here’s what Niall has to say about…..

 

 

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Niall McArdle

 

Summary: Decades after an alien invasion, the only two humans left on Earth patrol the ruined planet and protect energy-making hydro-rigs from alien scavengers.

 

SPOILERS!!

 

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Here’s an interesting question for Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur for July: is Oblivion a film about aliens? Well, yes and no. There is much mention of the alien ‘scavs’ that have blown up the moon and decimated the earth, and we do see glimpses of them and their destruction, but after about an hour of watching Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough as Jack and Victoria, the last two people on the planet, we discover that the scavs are just as human as they are: more so, in fact.

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Oblivion is derivative science-fiction, borrowing ideas and imagery from Silent Running, Planet of the Apes, several episodes of The Twilight Zone, and 2001, and it has a chase through a canyon that will probably make most people think of Star Wars. For all that the film is unoriginal, though, it has a look all its own. Yes, it’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, but almost the entire film takes place in daylight, which is refreshing, and Jack and Victoria live in an exquisitely-appointed house high above the clouds. The production design and location filming in Iceland’s barren, volcanic landscape are enough to warrant a viewing. You may not want to watch the film more than once, but you’ll probably want to fly in Jack’s bubbleship and have a dip in the swimming pool.

 

cruise-ship-oblivionAs I mentioned, Jack and Victoria are the last two people on earth, and they have a mission: protect the hydro-rigs: giant machines which suck up seawater and convert it to fusion energy. The Tet, a giant ship that looks like a piece of Toblerone, orbits the planet. It’s the mission control and a jumping-off point to Titan, where what’s left of humanity supposedly is. Jack is a technician assigned to monitor the rigs and repair the drones that patrol the area. Victoria is his communications officer. Their boss up on the Tet is Sally (Melissa Leo), and she is very concerned that Jack and Victoria are an effective team.

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In some ways Jack and Victoria are the ideal couple. They have it made, really. Their memory has been wiped ‘for security purposes’, so they’ve probably forgotten that they don’t have much in common anymore; they have an enviable view out the window of a house that looks like interior-design porn; and they have lots of peace and quiet. The fly in the ointment for this impossibly good-looking couple is that Jack has troubling dreams of a beautiful woman (Olga Kurylenko), so when she shows up in real life, it ruins their domestic harmony.

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I’ll let you discover what happens next. There are aliens, but they don’t show up for ages (or is it more accurate to say that they there the whole time?) You’ll probably figure out what’s going on long before the characters do. Sometimes that’s okay, though. Oblivion is an entertaining sci-fi adventure flick that is by no means terrible; it was made with conviction, and it’s rather well-acted. Cruise does what he does best: be cocky, look bewildered, get angry. Riseborough is very good as an immaculately-dressed, ice-cold corporate stooge who can turn on her sexiness and charm at the flick of a switch.

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The film actually proposes an interesting variant on the old ‘if you were the last person on earth’ scenario. What would you do if you thought the sexy redhead in your bed was the last woman on the planet, and then one day this Russian babe showed up? At one point Cruise tries to get both of them to come with him to his little sanctuary. Cheeky devil. As for Olga, she thinks the Cruiser is the last man around. He is … and is not. Don’t worry: it’s not as confusing as it sounds.

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Thanks again to Niall for ALL of his reviews for this month’s Genre – Aliens!!

11 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Oblivion (2013)

  1. It certainly looks good Niall. Style over substance perhaps? I don’t usually have a problem with that. I might wait until it is £3.99 on DVD, or shown on Film 4 though.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    • cara, i knew nothing about it before i saw it. i hadn’t seen the trailer or read any reviews. i only heard about it because while it was being filmed, katie holmes suddenly divorced cruise and he was apparently “oblivious” …. when the film was released Cruise and Kurylenko went to Dublin for the premiere and Cruise was in all the papers because he got a certificate of Irish heritage (that’s a real thing: you pay about $40 and the Irish government gives you a little piece of paper that proves your ancestors were Irish. What a moneymaker that is.) But i digress. Anyway, my point is I watched the DVD without any expectations, good or bad. I watched the trailer after I’d seen the film; I think the trailer gives too much away. It’s by no means a classic sci-fi, but as I wrote, it’s well-made and the production design is superb. also, they used front projection for the clouds outside the window instead of CGI, so the light and shadows are reflected in the eyes of the actors. It’s a little thing but it’s a nice detail.

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    • that it is man, I remember liking the soundtrack by m83 most of all from this movie. but the movie itself, meh. . .it didn’t do anything for me at all. It looks terrific though! Solid review man

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      • i didn’t know who M83 was until I saw the film, and you’re right, it’s definitely one of the high points of the whole film. I remember thinking in the first 3 seconds of the film ‘oh, no, it’s a bloody Hans Zimmer score’, but then after about a minute I really got into it. i sometimes throw the movie on just to listen to the music

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