Speculative Fiction Saturday: Oblivion

OblivionI have to admit that, for the most part, Tom Cruise has been pretty smart about what movies he has appeared in. Sure, he has been in some movies that have been duds, but most of the time, his movies are stand-alone classics. Think of films like A Few Good Men, Top Gun, and Minority Report. Personally, I think the Mission Impossible movies are some sort of spy dream that he likes to live out, but there are some good things about those films.

Oblivion may not be a landmark film, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good and isn’t worth seeing several times. Usually I like to talk about the story, and what I like about it, but in this case, the less you know, the better. Films like these inevitably have a time when some character or some flashback explains all the mysteries established. What is funny about my personal viewing of this film is that my DVD player skipped, and I thought I had missed some important scene of revelation. As it turns out, I didn’t, and most of this film isn’t really explained until late in the game, so to speak.

This is why I liked the film so much, because it assumes that you are paying attention, and trying to figure out what is going on. I’ll try and give you the basic movie trailer setup. Tom Cruise is one of the last survivors on planet Earth after an alien invasion. Apparently, Earth won after this alien attack, but Earth paid the price. The last survivors are chilling on a big satellite that orbits the Earth, drawing energy from sea water until the inevitable day where all the earthlings leave.

This is a big set-up, and it certainly is a huge excuse for a film where recognizable landmarks like the Empire State Building are just…trashed. So what does Tom Cruise do in this film? Oh, he lives in the cool building that is on a pole that must be at least 10,000 feet in the air, and fixes the drones that protect the giant sea-water energy-thingies. Yeah, there’s probably a better way to write that, but you’re just going to call this technology made-up names like that too.

The technology in Oblivion has its very unique style that is part sterile yet part cool at the same time. Many science fiction films have the same basic look to them, and there is some familiarity, but some things in Oblivion stand on their own. It is definitely worlds better than After Earth, and deserved the title more than what they went with. Perhaps they should have called it Oblivious.

Anyway, just see it so you can say that you did. It isn’t every day where you see a Morgan Freeman film that doesn’t involve him playing the narrator.

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