[Late Review] Oblivion (2013)
It’s been almost a month since my last review. It was a really busy month and I had very little to no time to go the movies. So to finally be able to see a movie and to make this writing are such a joyous occassion for me. And ‘Oblivion’ is a movie you won’t feel regret watching. Let’s get into details.
‘Oblivion’ is an ambitious project of a Joseph Kosinski, which co-wrote and directed the movie. Who is Joseph? He’s the guy who brought you ‘Tron:Legacy’. Well, ‘Legacy’ may not be something to be proudly written in one’s portfolio, but you can’t deny Tron is quite an ambitious project as well. And ‘Oblivion’ has something ‘Legacy’ doesn’t: a well-known Hollywood persona in the form of Tom Cruise. Cruise is the show’s single protagonist, just like Will Smith’s character in his ‘I Am Legend’.
Let’s begin with the premise: a ravaged Earth whose inhabitants had all migrated to another planet due to invasion from some extra-terrestrial being deemed as ‘Scavengers’. The war was won by the Earth fighters, but the damage was so massive it rendered Earth uninhabitable. Tom Cruise’s character, Tech 49 Jack Harper was stationed on Earth in order to ensure the extraction of Earth’s remaining resources (which is the seawater) goes smoothly. Harper has to protect the extraction from disturbance by the remaining Scavs. Along with Harper acting as the “watchtower” is Victoria (played wonderfully by British actress Andrea Riseborough) who also regularly updated their progress to the Tet, the space station orbiting outside the planet. Regardless of the fact that Earth is no longer habitable, Harper still misses his old home, as he stated at the beginning of the movie that “Earth is still his home.”
Joseph Kosinski brought nothing new to the table. A dystopian future in which humanity no longer exist (or at least, was forced to move out) on Earth has been the genre’s favorite, and often revisited topic. If you’re a sci-fi geek, you’ll notice the similarity of premise with the original Total Recall (which is one of my favorite classic). However, there’s no denying ‘Oblivion’ is something worth to see, geek or no geek. It’s in fact a damn good sci-fi thriller. It starts with a given premise, seemingly like there is nothing on the surface and everything’s been served on the table, but you know there’s something missing. You keep guessing what lies beyond what appears on the surface, and I think that’s the way Mr. Kosinski exactly wanted it to be. The character of Jack Harper represents that curiosity, noticing that there is something hidden from him in the past, even up to the point he can no longer put his trust on his long-time partner. It’s basically like doing a puzzle: you try to put the pieces altogether until you get the big picture.
The cinematography also played a huge part in making this film such a huge treat for audience. For the lack of better words, ‘Oblivion’ is ‘beautiful’. ‘Avatar’ beautiful. Expect no less from a director who has more than enough experience on delivering special effect combined with reality. ‘Oblivion’ is filled with far wide shots (notice the ‘s’) of magnificent panorama, especially since Kosinski wanted to emphasize the fact that Jack Harper is the last man standing on Earth. For this reason and this reason only, an IMAX viewing is mandatory.
Regarding the music, after previous collaboration with electric/techno musical artist Daft Punk in ‘Tron: Legacy’, Kosinski decided to work with yet another group of the same musical genre, M83. The end product was amazing. Just like any other film depicting dystopian future with one single character, there is very little dialogue. But dare I say, there is not a moment of bore during the whole film, as Kosinski knew how to create intensity frame per frame, and which track is suitable to deliver the expected emotion for the audience.
I’d go as far as saying that ‘Oblivion’ truly reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s legendary ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. This is clearly obvious during the climax as the film’s main villain was shown. And that’Total Recall’ vibe just won’t dissipate throughout the movie as Jack Harper having bigger and bigger doubt on the existing system as the story unfolds is reminiscent to when Douglas Quaid found out about the horrible truth of humanity. Let’s just say it’s more like a love letter to classic sci-fi flicks, and if you’re a fan of them, you’re gonna have a really good time.