Oblivion (12A)

Film

Science fiction

Oblivion

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Wed Apr 10 2013

If one man is to be entrusted with designing our future, we could do worse than architecture graduate Joseph Kosinski. Whatever its other shortcomings, Kosinski’s 2010 directorial debut ‘Tron: Legacy’ constructed a virtual-reality universe so sharply dressed and decorated it was hard to see why the characters kept trying to escape.

He has repeated that trick in his follow-up, ‘Oblivion’, a sleek sci-fi playground of gleaming cloud palaces, where French hipsters M83 provide the electro-classical beats and even Tom Cruise’s dirtied radiation suit looks runway-ready. Set in 2077, 60 years after aliens supposedly laid waste to our planet and forced humanity into this chic sky shelter, ‘Oblivion’ suggests the apocalypse may not be all bad news.

One person not delighting in this fashion-forward future is Cruise’s plaid-favouring Jack Harper, a former Marine now plundering our scorched Earth for its few remaining resources. With memories of their past lives wiped, Jack and his lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough, sadly playing little more than a switchboard operator with benefits) work dutifully under the command of Melissa Leo’s Sally – essentially HAL with a perky Southern drawl. But when one of Jack’s missions turns up an oddly familiar-looking human time-traveller (Olga Kurylenko) from the year 2017, he is forced to question the rules of his existence.

The audience, meanwhile, will be questioning what those rules are in the first place, particularly when Harper is pursued by a parallel human race that has no obvious need for him. Like a haute couture designer with no grasp of ready-to-wear garb, Kosinski continues to lavish far more thought on how his elaborate fantasy worlds look than how they work, and neither the politics nor the human stakes here coalesce into rational or relatable drama. ‘Oblivion’ finally plods even as it dazzles; a flick through Kosinski’s sketchbook would be quicker and equally impressive.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Wed Apr 10, 2013

Duration:

125 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|19
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K. Flyer

Not being a big Cruise fan, we went anyway having seen the trailer and felt it looked interesting enough. Have to say I enjoyed it, yes it was a bit by numbers and predictable in places and yes a couple of obvious plot holes in the story, but hey, dont let the truth get in the way of a good yarn. Enjoyable enough to watch again, so 3.5 / 5

Tripod

Read a lot of negative reviews on this film, don't believe them, it's fab.

Tripod

Read a lot of negative reviews on this film, don't believe them, it's fab.

sticky

very surprised as to how impressive this is. Lots of human drama escalates this way beyond normal action / sci-fi rubbish. Design of film is amazing and well directed. However, the overall star is the always wonderful Andrea Riseborough.....at last Hollywood has found the UK´s latest fab talent.

JFC

I nearly missed seeing this film due to lackluster reviews so i was in for a pleasant surprise. I thought it was an intelligent film, beautifully film and thought provoking - it stayed with me for serveral days - maybe I am in the minority but I found this to be a very good film. I am not always that keen on Tom Cruise but he was really good in this.

SPH

'The audience, meanwhile, will be questioning'... why they even wasted the money and time coming to see this, it doesn't make sense, has more plot holes than Swiss cheese, it's boring and predictable. The raison d'être for this movie seems to be that they needed to give Cruise something to do with himself.

wildkatwriter

This starts with surely the clunkiest piece of exposition in cinema history, and people keep explaining the plot - trouble is, whenever they do, we realise it doesn't make much sense. There are holes in this that you could fly a spaceship through and the Big Questions (like: why would anyone who lives in a cave feel the need to wear sunglasses?) are never answered. Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are a lonely maintenance crew preparing to leave a nuked and ravaged Earth, but Cruise keeps dreaming of a mysterious woman. Then he finds her. Then he finds Morgan Freeman smoking cigars and being enigmatic, and realises - a good deal later than the audience - that Things Are Not What They Seem. The cliched script seems to have been dictated mostly by Cruise's demands ("I will have two wives! I will speed around on motorbikes and mini-spaceships to remind people of TOP GUN! I will be a maverick who breaks the rules! I will try and save the dog!"). Though it has a comparatively tiny number of characters, in the best sci-fi traditions - cf. 2001:, ALIEN, SOLARIS, SUNSHINE, EVENT HORIZON etc - Kosinski never takes advantage of this to develop them in any depth or detail. The three female characters (two more than in a lot of genre pieces, admittedly), are particularly underwritten. Riseborough is the nagging, we-must-do-it-by-the-book wife; Kurylenko is purely decorative and spends most of the time with Cruise lovingly putting her into cryogenic sleep (aah - what a romantic!) and the excellent Melissa Leo is stuck being the voice of the computer - though she gives it a menacing cheeriness that makes it the best performance. If you want to be thrilled, scared, surprised or engaged, you better see something else - Duncan Jones's MOON, for example, which has infinitely more imagination on a tiny, tiny fraction of the budget.. "Oblivion" could be where Cruise's career is headed.

Gort

OMX! This is Tom Cruise tailored movie! I can see how it was made: Tom Cruise phoned some producer and said: "Hello I want make a movie." Producer: "OK m. Cruise you still have somewhat bankable name. What can we do for you?" Cruise: "It has to be an action movie because I'm too bad of an actor to be in drama for instance. I mean I tried that but failed and was very boring. People loved me most when I flew jets so could you make me a pilot? And also since I'm very old it would be ridiculous if I flew in contemporary plane and army so make it SF. And see I also want to save the world because I want people to like me and then join Scientology so you could also take some of that dogma of people being asleep and then waking up to the truth. In the matter of fact I'll play a character like that so that people can see what it is to join Scientology... I mean wake to the truth. Also put a romance in it because at first we didn't have it in Top Gun, there was just me, but then test screenings audience demanded it so put it in right away to save on time." Producer "OK mr. Cruise. Anything else?" Cruise: "Yeah do something about design. I heard that Apple is pretty popular these days so maybe you could design it to look like an Apple store. For instance with me fighting robots that look like Macs and Ipads." Producer: "All right. Right away mr. Cruise."

Ian

I have just seen this in Imax and whilst it looks amazing visually in that format it doesn't hide the fact that the plot is a bit by the numbers. At the heart of it this is a simple film which seems to have been patched together from a number of other films. Like the Tron film Kosinski delivers something spectacular to look at but it is all a little empty. The scene where Cruise's character realises what is going on was done much better in Moon and a number of other exposes don't really come as too much of a surprise. Also the final reunion scene is a huge cliché. Till then I enjoyed it. Its good but not great. An enjoyable 3 star film all the same.

Cole Essex

I saw this film last night, having read this review before hand I wasn't expecting what I found. A really good film and yes, you have to have a certain suspension of disbelief for all films and this is no exception. I found the story was good (although sometimes a bit sentimental). But the film held me, considering that there are only 4 principal characters they all played their part and Tom Cruise was great. The styliing, the visuals and the soundtrack was wonderful (I bought it today on iTunes). This film isn't ground breaking, but that doesn't mean to say it's a Turkey... far from it. Go see it and enjoy it...

Eric

If you start analysing why exactly this or that happened precisely in that way in this movie you're not going to end up satisfied. If you look for plot holes you'll find them, but that's far from saying this is a dumb movie. There's a certain suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this kind of movie, but most of us are easily capable of it (otherwise explain The Avengers being the second-highest grossing movie ever) and if you manage it unlike poor Mr. Lodge, you get a film with an original, intelligent sci-fi story, incredible visuals and three very good actors. I can think of much worse ways to spend time in a cinema. Would give 3.5 stars if it were possible.

Morley

Boring, Predictable and the only reason i did not walk out on it, was that i was hoping that the film might get better. It didn't, don't waste your money on this one.

long cat

Did the reviewer see the same film? or fell asleep? This is one of Cruise's best films to date and Riseborough excellent as well - stunning sets and effects plus a decent storyline kept my attention throughout. Great tagline "Are you an effective team?" - I adapted it at the van depot I work at the day after to great effect. A must see>

long cat

Did the reviewer see the same film? or fell asleep? This is one of Cruise's best films to date and Riseborough excellent as well - stunning sets and effects plus a decent storyline kept my attention throughout. Great tagline "Are you an effective team?" - I adapted it at the van depot I work at the day after to great effect. A must see>

Nosila

I think your review sucks. Oblivion was a great film, really enjoyed it from start to finish.

Nosila

I think your review sucks. Oblivion was a great film, really enjoyed it from start to finish.

Gypsy King

Can't fathom this review. The film made perfect sense to me and while it borrowed a little too much from the Matrix it looked beautiful and has one of Cruise's best performances in years. As fueldragster says, far superior to the overhyped Prometheus. I was thoroughly entertained.

fueldragster

I think that Mr. Lodge may have yawned his way through a different cut than the one that I saw. In the vastly improved version shown locally Harper does not "plunder" the earth, his "hideaway" has a collection of household items presumably found when landing to repair drones, furthermore the parallel race has a blindingly obvious need in their general plan to capture one of these flyboys. To say much more would be to let loose spoilers, and this film does have a story which continues through to an acceptable ending though I might wonder why an inter-stellar intelligence would settle on the precise strategy shown. All the same it is far better in my opinion than the severely over-hyped illogical Prometheus, perhaps the best Cruise film I have seen so far.

fueldragster

I think that Mr. Lodge may have yawned his way through a different cut than the one that I saw. In the vastly improved version shown locally Harper does not "plunder" the earth, his "hideaway" has a collection of household items presumably found when landing to repair drones, furthermore the parallel race has a blindingly obvious need in their general plan to capture one of these flyboys. To say much more would be to let loose spoilers, and this film does have a story which continues through to an acceptable ending though I might wonder why an inter-stellar intelligence would settle on the precise strategy shown. All the same it is far better in my opinion than the severely over-hyped illogical Prometheus, perhaps the best Cruise film I have seen so far.