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article imageReview: ‘Oblivion’ is recycling more than just drone parts Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Apr 19, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘Oblivion,’ the last man on Earth confronts his past to discover a shocking truth that leads to mankind’s final stand to save the planet.
It's almost human nature to cling to history and past civilizations. In a world that no longer resembles Earth as we know it, it would be natural to yearn for what once existed. But we are also inherently obedient and designed to operate within set parameters. In Oblivion, when these two ideals conflict, only one can triumph in directing the main character’s actions.
Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are Earth's "mop up crew." After a fierce battle with an intergalactic invader, the planet was left largely uninhabitable and evacuated. To power the human race's new off-world home, giant machines are harvesting the globe's water. Remaining enemies sabotage the equipment, which Jack then repairs while Victoria assists from their central control. In a few weeks their duty will be complete and they'll be able to retire with the rest of the population. But new traps and an unexplainable connection to an unexpected survivor (Olga Kurylenko) push Jack to question his loyalties and fight for his home.
Having cut his teeth on TRON: Legacy, director Joseph Kosinski emerges for his sophomore film with a great picture and unoriginal ideas. Bizarrely, the latter is not as much a detriment as you’d expect. It’s unquestionably irksome to predict major plot points or watch key scenes be lifted from other movies (2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, Independence Day, and WALL-E to name a few). Familiarity in a theatre is not always your friend. But if you push past the annoyance, the film is still well made. And more importantly – it works.
Kosinski began conceptualizing the post-apocalyptic picture before Disney gave him the helm. The writers’ strike forced him to let Oblivion evolve as a comic book, but while TRON was in post-production he shopped it around as a film treatment. The graphic novel was never published, but the movie arrived in its place.
The Bubbleship rests 3 000 feet in the air at Skytower in  Oblivion
The Bubbleship rests 3,000 feet in the air at Skytower in 'Oblivion'
Universal Pictures
Screened in IMAX, the images are worthy of the enormous screen. It enhances the viewing experience to be enveloped in this imaginary, detailed environment, and led around by Cruise. Even though Earth suffered mass devastation, it isn’t dusty and dark. The awe-inspiring bubbleship that high-dives off the Skytower port and transports Jack to damaged drones, the compact bike that unfolds to assist in ground missions, and the see-through swimming pool suspended below their apartment are just some of the remarkable constructions. The remnants of New York landmarks haunt Jack's memories in spite of mandatory wipes for security. But his preoccupation with the past and rebellious instinct are a threat to his and Victoria's classification as "an effective team."
Cruise is made for these types of movies, which is probably why he helped Kosinski develop the script and get it into production. Always the hero, Cruise is comfortable in the role of carrying an entire picture on his shoulders. Uncertain of his place in the universe, Jack remains positive by attempting to preserve the world he once knew. The impact of the reality-shattering truth is smeared across his face, only to be replaced by gallant determination when his new destiny is revealed. The one major performance flaw occurs during an air chase in which Cruise’s and Kurylenko’s acting in the simulator is really unconvincing; but the actual pursuit is thrilling.
Even though the film appears unaware of its derivative storyline, that may actually work to its advantage as it stitches it all together with striking visuals.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko
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