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Oblivion
BLU-RAY disk
08.09.2013 By: Jason Adams
Oblivion order
Director:
Joseph Kosinski

Actors:
Tom Cruise
Morgan Freeman
Olga Kurylenko

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Years after an alien invasion has destroyed the moon and decimated Earth, a drone repairman begins uncovering secrets that could change the future of our planet.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

If you didn't mind director Joseph Kosinski's style-over-substance approach to TRON: LEGACY than you'll probably also dig OBLIVION. It definitely has more going on than TRON, but this is still more of a visual feast than a groundbreaking science fiction story.

No one can deny that Kosinski hasn't put together another gorgeous looking movie, one based very closely on his own graphic novel of the same name. Shot mainly on location in Iceland, OBLIVION is a unique mix of real alien landscapes and CGI extensions that truly sell a believable post-apocalyptic future for our planet. It also features some fairly amazing production design and special effects, from an actual-built bubble ship to the incredible glass sky tower. It's obvious the director wanted to capture as much practically in-camera as possible and that really makes a difference with a film like this. Not to mention it's nice to see a science fiction film that mostly takes place during the day, so you can actually see all the hard work that went in to creating the world as opposed to cloaking it in cliché dreary darkness.

As visually imaginative as it is, however, OBLIVION never rises above just being a standard science fiction story. The plot—essentially WALL-E mixed with every other Tom Cruise action flick—is also a "greatest hits" mix of other, more original movies. Every genre trope, cliché and plot point you can imagine finds its way in, to the point where you can mostly guess every beat and surprise of the film if you wanted to. None of it is bad per se and it doesn't stop the film from being occasionally exciting and effective, but it is a bit of a letdown that the writing can't live up to the rest.

Overall, it's still a fun ride and the actors do a good job of selling the story, no matter how derivative it may be. Tom Cruise is solid as usual, selling both the emotional elements as well as the stunts. Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko have relatively small uneventful roles, but British actress Andrea Riseborough carries the supporting weight nicely. Also working hard is the emotional electronic score by M83, which tries hard to get you invested in the story, even when the script can't.

THE EXTRAS

Commentary with Tom Cruise and Joseph Kosinski: Having Cruise participate is a nice addition, even if the two are a bit overly complimentary of every aspect of the film. Both give their perspective on the characters and story, as well as the technical elements like production design and visual effects. It's an easy listen.

Deleted Scenes (4:20): These are all too short to be effective, including a similar "alternate" opening, another scene with the magical medkit, and just a bit more background on Jack Harper's past.

Making Of OBLIVION: This behind-the-scenes feature is broken down in to five parts:
Destiny (11:02): Joseph Kosinski talks about his inspiration for the film (Twilight Zone and 1970s character-driven science fiction films) and chronicles the history of the project from graphic novel to greenlit film. It also touches on things like shooting on location in Iceland and building the production.
Voyage (9:31): Find out how the crew built an impressive real-life Bubble Ship and had to carefully take it all over the world. Tom Cruise's face when he sees the full-size ship for the first is worth watching.
Combat (15:50): A look at the stunts, including Olga Kurylenko's terrified reaction to shooting inside the violent cockpit rig. Some other fight scenes are examined, but they delve in to spoiler territory.
Illusion (5:38): A quick tour of the complicated visual effects used to bring OBLIVION to life from the graphic novel.
Harmony (6:11): A closer look at the recording of M83's hybrid electronic and orchestral and choral.

Isolated M83 Score: Watch the film with only M83's music in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround.

A DVD and Digital Copy is also included.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
OBLIVION has a lot going for it as a solid, visually dazzling sci-fi film. Unfortunately a unique story isn't one of them.

Extra Tidbit: Olivia Wilde, Noomi Rapace, Kate Mara, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Brit Marling were also considered for Olga Kurylenko's role.

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8:21AM on 08/09/2013
Quite enjoyed this movie. For me it was the biggest surprise of the summer. Might not have been the most original, but I loved the ride from the beginning to end. Visually it was a feast.
Quite enjoyed this movie. For me it was the biggest surprise of the summer. Might not have been the most original, but I loved the ride from the beginning to end. Visually it was a feast.
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11:13AM on 08/09/2013
That making-of sounds good. This was a gorgeous film and is probably worth keeping on Blu-ray.
That making-of sounds good. This was a gorgeous film and is probably worth keeping on Blu-ray.
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