Film Review: Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion (PG-13)

Released:  April 10, 2013 (France), April 19, 2013 (U.S.A)

Distributed byUniversal Pictures

Budget: $120 Million

Box Office: $274,562,000

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Starring: Tom Cruise,

Olga Kurylenko,

Andrea Risebourough,

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau,

Melissa Leo

(See full cast here)


  Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the few remaining drone repairmen assigned to Earth, who discovers a crashed spacecraft with contents that ultimately challenge his beliefs about the war. Jack is part of a nearly-complete mission of extracting vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the ‘Scavs.’ As one of the last of his species in a lifeless environment, he shares a space-age house, floating on a slim platform, with his significant other, Victoria (Andrea Risebourough) who also serves as his mission control when he’s off on a repair trip. Living in and patrolling the skies from thousands of feet above, his presence is brought crashing down when he rescues a stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.


This is one of them movies you sit there, looking at the big screen while slowly trying to crunch your popcorn and thinking to yourself, what is actually going on here? Well for me, that’s how it turned out anyway. I’d suggest checking out the plot before watching any post-apocalyptic fiction related movie because things can get so confusing. I guess I’m just not a sci-fi guy although I did enjoy Battleship and The Hunger Games. Well, Oblivion is essentially Top Gun in space with a smidgen of Total Recall, Minority Report and Moon thrown in for luck. Although thinly scripted, both the overall performance of the cast and the visual effects are absolutely stunning and the revelation of a nuclear-ravaged Earth is skilfully realised with the tops of ruined skyscrapers poking out through the dust. It brings more authenticity out of the film.

However, I felt like there was lots of information missing from the movie; the important information is understated, but I think there are a lot of plot holes in the movie, and it could have been taken a little further. It’s not abundantly thought-provoking as you would find in some of Cruise’s films and the build-up to the story-line is very slow. I sat there for the first 45 minutes waiting for some real engaging action. There IS action, sure, but again, it’s competent rather than jaw-droopingly exhilarating. The initial trailer was attention-grabbing and appealing to the targeted audience but this is partially not reflected in the film. For me, it definitely brought some confusion after the movie.

  Oblivion has got its bright moments though. I felt like the supporting cast was very well thought out and not over exerting. This is strengthened by an exceptional soundtrack courtesy of M83 that effortlessly flows between melancholically simple tunes and synth loaded scenes. Morgan Freeman who also stars in the film is inarguably a remarkable actor but he does not over power the leading actor which is commendable.

I did get the impression that the strongest scenes tend to be the least eventful: long, moody stretches in which Jack and Victoria go about their rounds, and then retire to a domestic life; therefore showcasing a rhythm. In the end, all the twists, flying drones, floating hi-tech homes and everything you’d expect in a sci-fi adventure build to a massive ‘UHH?’ That’s exactly what I said at the end. The film comes to an end just like that so you’re sort of left in suspense, trying to figure out if this whole situation actually makes any sense. It’s more like you think there must have been far less difficult ways for the film to illustrate the point behind the plot.

Final Verdict: 7/10