Saturday, 13 April 2013

Oblivion - Movie Review

Oblivion (12A)

Director:Joseph Kosinski (Tron:Legacy)

The cinematic language of science fiction has evolved into a landscape of its own as expertly demonstrated by this film. There are always limiting perameters to how an apocalyptic future vision of humanity can shape itself on screen, not least of all by sets and CGI (remember when Daleks couldn't walk up stairs?) We are, by nature, air breathing, fleshily soft, emotionally driven creatures which makes for several scenarios for our ultimate nemesis. From radio active isotopes to predators and aliens, by far the most chilling of these scenarios is when future technology tries to take over. From Hal to the T-1000, man-made or alien, machines that run amok really are very scary. The droids in this movie are a great addition to that panoply.
Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a maintenance man living on a future Earth, carefully repairing the droids protecting the water-harvesting technology that is sending the remainder of mankind to live near Saturn. The droids are protecting the technology from the evil scavengers that fought a war with Earth, blasting the moon and causing an apocalyptic end to life on the planet for humankind, or so Jack thinks. He should be happy with his life and his beautiful co-worker, Victoria played by Andrea Riseborough but he is plagued by dreams of an life, another woman and then, one day, this other woman, Julia (Olga Kurylenko) crash lands on the surface of the planet...
This movie refers to many sci-fi standards but loses none of its visual elegance for that. In fact, if you embrace that shared cinematic language, this movie is ingenious in its referencing. My favourite is the waterfall, surely a nod to the famous 'I will find you' scene from Last of the Mohicans and a hint at what is to follow... you didn't get that reference? I appreciate it's not a sci-fi movie and therein lies the art of the film reference, we reference what we know to create our own personal set of parameters. If you haven't it then the reference will go over your head and I suspect for the younger audience many of the films will not have been seen. I am sure a lot of people will not know what movie the radio active isotope I mentioned earlier is referencing...
This film is visually beautiful with some complex edge-of-seat action scenes. The stars are very watchable and the plot has enough twists to make it intriguing to the end. If you like Space 1999, Silent Running and the Matrix trilogy, then this is a movie for you. Four out of five stars.


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