Monday, April 22, 2013

Movie Review: Oblivion

Do you like science fiction films? 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Total Recall, Demolition Man, Independence Day, The Matrix, Moon, Wall-E? Any of those? Good. If so, you'll probably dig Tom Cruises' new film Oblivion. It's basically the bastard child of every major sci-fi film from oh, about the last 50 years. The familiarity factor makes sitting through Oblivion kind of fun...until that sensation morphs into a frustrating case of deja-vu.

It should be said that Oblivion has some good things going for it. First, the film is blessed with some amazing cinematography. I can't stress enough how gorgeous this film looks. Next, whoever designed the robotic drones deserves a high five in my book. Sure, they look like R2-D2 and HAL from 2001 on steroids, but they're just creepy as fuck and really stand out as one of the coolest elements of the film. Finally, Tom Cruise has two uber hot female costars who looked beyond gorgeous filmed in 4K. Cruise does his typical action hero stuff quite well here, always. This leads us to some of the film's many problems.

Tom Cruise is too old for this shit. Like I joked in my Mission Impossible 13 review, Tom Cruise is just too old to believably sell this stuff anymore. Yes he's still in great shape, he's handsome, he does his own stunts and saves orphans from burning buildings between takes, but that's the problem! He's Tom Cruise man! Over the course of his *gasp* four decade long career, he's done it all. I've lost count of how many times I've seen him shooting guns, getting blown up, driving fast cars/motorcycles/jets and now space ships. Christ, this is his second movie in a row where he's plays a guy named Jack. When the plot of your movie "borrows," so heavily from other films, the last thing you want is for the film's star to start plagiarizing himself as well.

"Now THIS is pod racing!"

Oblivion basically goes like this:

Oh look, Ethan Hunt from Top Gun is totally winning this pod racing scene. HAL/ Dr. Zaius turned David from Vanilla Sky, into Arnie from Total Recall. So Morpheus is Dr. Ian Malcom and Minority Report guy is Will Smith? But I thought he was Neo?

Well that was fun...and kind of nauseating. So Oblivion is a way cool action/pop corn flick with amazing visuals that pays serious, like major league, homage to great sci-fi films of yore. Tom Cruise is competent as Tom Cruise but I really wish he'd age gracefully and start taking some meaty dramatic roles again. His films have already grossed something like 7 billion dollars...what else does he have to prove? Born on the Fourth of July, A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, Collateral...remember those Tom? Come back to us. Please.


  1. I think Tom is in the transitionary phase between playing action heroes and playing the wise old mentor/teacher a la Morgan Freeman. Although Cruise has a LONG way to go before he can be considered the white Morgan Freeman.

  2. For me, I was a person who saw this movie and did enjoy it, it does have its noticeable flaws. Nice review Jim.

  3. I like a lot of those films that you listed buddy so it seems to me like this film is going to be right up my street. Honestly I'm quite a big Tom Cruise fan as well despite everything, I think I will check it out!

  4. I must admit I liked the movie but he's headed in to the Arnie and Sly style as in too old to sell action.

  5. Yeah, I figured I could live without this one. It really does 'look' great, I almost gave it a chance, but with so many other movies on my list? I can skip going to the movies and searching for a better one.

    Plus, I like my popcorn better than at my theaters anyway.

  6. Hmm. I'll have to differ with you on this. I'm not a Cruise fan, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Expecting completely unreal action sequences, this was considerably more thoughtful than that. I ranked this more like Inception than Predator.

    And how can you not like a film that features background songs like "Lighter Shade of Pale" ?

    I don't think Cruise is quite to the Silvester Stallone age yet. More like Bruce Willis, who can still pull it off with the right screenplay.

  7. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. I do agree with you about Tom Cruise being the Danny Glover of Hollywood, he is getting too old for this shit.

  8. I'm gonna avoid it on theaters, but I'll check it on TPB though.

    Tom Cruise is too old for everything hehe.