Josh Wilding Reviews: OBLIVION (IMAX)

Is it a sci-fi masterpiece or is the movie, ahem, Cruise-ing for a bruising in this spoiler-free review of Joseph Kosinski's (TRON: Legacy) Oblivion? And is it worth seeing in IMAX?! Well, you can find out by hitting the jump to check out my verdict!

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By Josh Wilding - 4/10/2013

Oblivion marks Joseph Kosinski's first movie since the polarising TRON: Legacy back in 2010, and while I really enjoyed that for the most part, I walked into this one very unsure as to what to expect. However, this beautifully shot and masterfully directed sci-fi thriller couldn't be any different. The world created by Kosinski is incredible, not only from a visual perspective, but also for just how easily it draws you in and how very convincing it is from start to finish. The special effects are flawless and Oblivion separates itself from similar post apocalyptic fare by showing us a barren wasteland with only a few notable reminders of what the Earth once was rather than any heavy handed iconography. Kosinski also has a fantastic handle on action, turning even the most normal and mundane of sequences into pulse pounding, real edge of your seat excitement!

So, from all the praise being heaped on Oblivion so far, you might be thinking that we're talking about a modern classic in terms of the genre. Sadly not. While the movie IS original in some respects, there are far too many familiar elements borrowed from other films that worked far better in those than it does here. However, that can be easily forgiven when compared to the many faults that plague the screenplay. The film features a lot of clever twists and turns, but waits far too long to turn over all its cards, meaning that the final act becomes a slog to sit through as you struggle to remember everything and how exactly it all fits together. In fact, Oblivion strikes me as the kind of film which will be far more rewarding on a second viewing. The happy ending also feels unnecessary and tacked on, ultimately lessening the impact of what came before.

Oblivion hinges on Tom Cruise's performance and he is as fantastic as ever here. He goes through a lot during the course of the movie and never struggles to make 'Jack' a relateable and likeable lead who it's easy to root for. Andrea Riseborough is also fantastic as 'Victoria', and it would be great to see this lead to more appearances in similar big budget blockbusters. However, the rest of the cast don't impress anywhere near as much. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is completely wasted in a role which should have been considerably more fleshed out for such a brilliant actor. Morgan Freeman completely phones it in and Olga Kurylenko is ok, but just a very poorly written character.

M83's soundtrack has been one of the most discussed aspects of the movie so far, and it's easily as epic and superb as the hype has made it out to be! It works perfectly with the world that Kosinski has created here and elevates Oblivion to a whole other level of "epicness" as Hans Zimmer's work did on The Dark Knight Trilogy. Seeing the film in IMAX is also a must, and while the fact it wasn't shot with those cameras means you probably won't miss out on all that much if you aren't able to make it to one of the plus sized screens, it really does look incredible up there on the biggest of big screens. Dare I say it, but it's almost a shame that they didn't decide to do a good 3D conversion of this release as there are a lot of scenes which would have genuinely benefited from it.

Intelligent, visually stunning and led by an excellent performance from Tom Cruise, this flawed sci-fi epic adds up to a good (but not quite great) movie.





2013 Reviews So Far...

The Last Stand (3/5)
Bullet To The Head (1/5)
Wreck-It Ralph (4/5)
A Good Day To Die Hard (2/5)
Warm Bodies (4/5)
Mama (3/5)
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D (3/5)
Oz: The Great and Powerful 3D (4/5)
Evil Dead (4/5)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation 3D (3/5)







Tom Cruise stars in Oblivion, an original and groundbreaking cinematic event from the director of TRON: Legacy and the producer of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

Jack Harper (Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack’s mission is nearly complete.

Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautifulstranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.


STARRING:

Tom Cruise as Jack Harper
Olga Kurylenko as Julia
Morgan Freeman as Malcolm Beech
Zoe Bell as Kara
Andrea Riseborough as Victoria
Melissa Leo as Sally
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Sykes

RELEASE DATE: April 19th, 2013


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30 Comments
Vadakin - 4/10/2013, 12:15 PM
Not bad. Very predictable though. I saw pretty much every twist and turn coming...though maybe I've watched too many sci-fi movies. There's nothing really new here so it's all about the execution of things we've seen before and in that regard the movie does well.
95 - 4/10/2013, 12:19 PM
I figured that was going to be the case. I'll Redbox it, the bigger summer blockbusters have my money already.
Tony93 - 4/10/2013, 12:24 PM
this means great news!
Alot of audiences then will see that 3rd MOS trailer!
knocturnalzen10 - 4/10/2013, 12:26 PM
the big question is "did lightening come from his hands" ?
themcdougalbugle - 4/10/2013, 12:30 PM
Faults in the script? But Michael Arndt reviewed and re-wrote the final draft. IMPOSSIBLE!!
sephiroth211 - 4/10/2013, 12:32 PM
Why do I get a Cowboy Bebop vibe from this? This dude might be the perfect director for a live-action Bebop movie.



Loved that freaking show. I may have to give this movie a chance.
TheKingsHead - 4/10/2013, 12:33 PM
Had Josh ever gave something a 5?
Ocelot - 4/10/2013, 12:38 PM
The only thing that was very good about this film imo were the visuals. The acting was decent, Risenborough was good. However the movie just felt so dull and underwhelming. Quite a few bland characters,
To me it felt like the film had too many ideas which were crammed into the movie. As a result the narrative at times was confusing and to implicit. Not really a memorable sci-fi flick, but a decent film

6.5/10 for me
RobLiefeldFan - 4/10/2013, 12:49 PM
@IM53 That Hand...
marvel72 - 4/10/2013, 1:01 PM
@ Gusto

nope they don't sell beer but you can sneak them in.
Greengo - 4/10/2013, 1:22 PM
@gusto: you'd get drunk either way
charlie2094 - 4/10/2013, 1:23 PM
I'd give it a 3 IMO. I was personally really disappointed by this. Visually it was incredible, and the music and acting was great, but felt a lot of it was a bit of a mess, people I know were very confused. I struggled through just by having seen similar ideas done before, only better. Worth a watch, but I'd be in no rush. Freeman was hardly in the film too. Definitely had the potentially for greatness, but feel that it got too bloated and messy :/
marvel72 - 4/10/2013, 1:23 PM
@ gusto

XD hahahahaha
Nick56 - 4/10/2013, 1:34 PM
can't wait to watch it
GeekyCheekyChic - 4/10/2013, 1:37 PM
nice- guess I'll give it a look probably in its second week of release.
KingPatel - 4/10/2013, 1:50 PM
Yes.
Marxman12 - 4/10/2013, 1:55 PM
So is Oblivian this year's Prometheus?
Ocelot - 4/10/2013, 2:09 PM
@Charlie2094 people in my cinema and myself at times were also confused by the movie towards the end, it was just too implicit and vague with the plot in the second half on the movie. Too many ideas crammed into the film
dnno1 - 4/10/2013, 2:17 PM



Tom Cruise approved.
SomTingWong - 4/10/2013, 2:28 PM
Thank you Mr. Wilding
AC1 - 4/10/2013, 2:48 PM
I just got back from watching it and the last thing I'd call it is 'intelligent'. I'm not saying it's a dumb movie, but it's not very clever either. Story-wise, it's pretty run of the mill, and quite clunky in places. Throw in a few cliches, a couple of plot holes, and a few easily predictable 'twists', and you have the story of Oblivion.

At this point in his career, Tom Cruise seems to play the exact same character in every movie, it's like he's not even trying any more, which is a shame, because he used to be quite enjoyable to watch. Actually, most of the acting is pretty much phoned-in.

It's very impressive visually though. It's a very nice film to look at, but there's fairly little going on beneath the surface. It's not bad by any means, but it's not exactly good either. It's one of those "3 out of 5 Star" movies - the pseudo-serious popcorn flicks you watch when you're bored and want something interesting to look at, but doesn't require any thinking or intelligence.
AC1 - 4/10/2013, 2:50 PM
@Marxman12 I guess you could say Oblivion is this years Prometheus, but it's easier to follow (although it has it's share of plot holes), and the visuals aren't as impressive.
Swiftsword777 - 4/10/2013, 3:00 PM
Nice review but damn it sucks I have to wait A whole 9 days til its release.....
Marqy47 - 4/10/2013, 3:03 PM
Aaahhh ... the thetans are stroooong in this one ... he must be OT 7
NostalgicYouth - 4/10/2013, 4:48 PM
I feel like the more movies Joseph Kosinski works on the more he's going to make more sci-fi movies, and they are either going to become cult hits or science-fiction classics. I mean he definitely has the visual style down pact like Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick. I just think we have to give it time, and probaly in a couple years he'll make a sci-fi hit.
Scooby - 4/10/2013, 5:27 PM
Cool might check it out next month
DukeAcureds - 4/11/2013, 12:08 PM
Kosinski has proven himself to be a very unique director. He's perfect for the die-hard geek puritan. Though he is, perhaps, too niche for general audiences.
Kosinski for Green Lantern!!! That would be perfect. And if Tom Cruise can manege to look even younger, he would make an awesoem Hal Jordan.
Loved this film, myself. Like Tron Legacy, the drive was pure emotionality. More of that philosophical exploration, too.
Galactus + Hal 3000 + Death Star = Sally.
M83 were awesoem, too. But not quite as A-Ballz as Daft Punk were.
exe - 4/11/2013, 2:52 PM
Will give this movie a try.
staypuffed - 4/12/2013, 4:44 PM
I thought it was pretty cool, unpredictable and I was very suprised by the twists and turns.
brazilianbatman - 4/13/2013, 2:22 PM
good review! I am still thinking about if I should go watch on the movie theathers or not. the movie looks good but not great. I would definitely had watched this movie in 2009 or 2010 where most of the movies sucked, but since 2011 we started to get a lot of good movies, 2012 was very high quality and 2013 seems to have many great movies coming out too.

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