ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Oblivion (2013)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Joseph Kosinski

Starring:
Tom Cruise/Jack
Olga Kurylenko/Julia
Andrea Riseborough/Victoria
Morgan Freeman/Beech
PLOT-CRUNCH
In the year 2070, Jack (Tom Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are the only two humans on earth, working together on the ravaged (by a past alien invasion) globe. They live in an observation tower high in the sky, take care of the drones on the ground and of each other in the sack. One night, something falls on earth and it changes everything.
THE LOWDOWN
Well color me red and throw me in a bullring to meet my much deserved doom, OBLIVION wound up being quite the surprise for me. I had seen the trailer and it did little for me. So I went into my screening underwhelmed, expecting an “okay” time at the movies, no more, no less. Instead I got blown away! Oblivion managed to tap into that sense of awe and wonder that I used to get oh so more frequently when I was a younger moviegoer, one without a care in the world. That doesn’t happen often anymore, so it was swell to feel that again here! Thank you Oblivion! Now I digested the movie for a while before sitting down at my computer chair to vomit away, and here’s what I came up with!

Oblivion somewhat came off as a Sci-Fi take on the Adam and Eve aka The Garden of Eden story. Fear not, I won’t go through it with you beat by beat to prove my point, I don’t want to spoil the film for you all, but if you know the classic tale, keep that in mind while watching Oblivion, it may add another layer to it for ya. Personally I was reeled in off the bat by the film and it didn’t let go of me till the end. The narrative, although derivative of countless other Sci-Fi films that came before it (The Matrix, Moon, Total Recall, Solaris, 2001) double downed enougg of its own twists and turns to keep things fresh and exciting. I love watching movies like this, as I feel tested by them. It almost becomes a game between me and the movie. I kept trying to guess what was truly going on, attempting to be ahead of the movie. I nailed some things early on, got sucker punched a few times by some unexpected turn of events and it was only at about the half way mark that I pretty much figured out this one’s big picture. All that to stab, it had me in its grasp gleefully toyed with me and when all was said and done, I was a happy camper. I know, that last sentence begs for a hooker joke, but I’ll abstain from it for a change.

On a visual standpoint, what else can I say but WOW? Let’s try this on for size: I am mucho glad that I got to tap this one on the big screen. The production values were jaw dropping (with a budget of $120 million, they better be), the designs inventive (all about that swimming pool suspended in the air), the imagery powerful (the shattered Moon above a the destroyed Earth…nuts) and the cinematography (by Claudio Miranda) simply breath taking. I couldn’t get enough of the majestic shots this baby put out! Be it through deep canyons, eye popping waterfalls, majestic mountains, the works! Freaking beautiful! I also dug the way the action scenes were shot and edited. Many of them had me on the edge of my edge, especially when having to do with dogfights (Am I alone that thought Star Wars Death Star scene here?) or them damn drones going “Terminator” beserker on folks. The striking imagery hit even harder being that it was backed a by a superior soundtrack (M83 was behind that one). Think a mix of the Inception and Tron Legacy score and you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for here. My ears are actually feasting on it as I jolt down this drivel, listen to it for yourself HERE. In short Director Joseph Kosinski created an audio/visual powerhouse that stimulated my sense and then some!

Of course none of it would have mattered if I didn’t give a hoot about the characters involved in the shenanigans and thankfully that wasn’t the case here. Tom Cruise basically carried the movie; this was no Born on the Fourth of July type of acting stretch for him, but it was Tom Cruise in a role tailor made for Tom Cruise i.e. him doing what he does best. he played a good hearted action man with inner struggles and a mystery to solve. To be honest, Cruise had kind of lost me years back, I saw him differently onscreen. I am glad that Oblivion pretty much rectified that for me. I am digging Tom Cruise the actor and Tom Cruise the movie star once again. The Cruise Man worked wonderfully with hottie Andrea Riseborough (Victoria). She played his partner on the job and in the sack. Riseborough came off as somebody that was tortured inside, consequently she kept lying to herself while hiding behind a frigid wall, all in the name of "living". Riseborough nailed the nuanced role and both she and Cruise basically acted as the heart of the movie for me. I had never heard of the lass before, but will now keeps tabs on her. Brilliant showcase!

So any peeves? Some, but nothing worth hiring a hitman over. I thought it was a bit too long (it runs at 126 minutes). A good ten minutes could have been shaved off, but no big deal really. I wasn’t crazy about Morgan Freeman’s character either. He was too underdeveloped to make a dent or for me to truly care about. He also came off as a clichéd of “that” role! It takes more than Morgan Freeman looking cool with sunglasses and a cigar for me to get invested in a character. With that, he came close in pulling it off, he is Morgan f*cking Freeman after all, a great man! Olga Kurylenko was on and off on her end. The camera loved her (as usual) but she paled acting wise at times to the obviously better performers around her. And then there were the random plot holes that DID NOT fully hit me while clocking the film, but that surfaced in my hollow noggin afterwards as I kept mulling on the experience. Was my enjoyment of the picture hindered by them? Nope! Nough said!

Yup, Oblivion was pretty much all aces when it came to what I crave from a fulfilling night at the movies. Spectacle, surprises, zany action scenes, heart and audio/visual aesthetics that simply floored me! I’ve read that some people didn’t fully understand the happenings here, that the movie wasn’t “clear” to them. Maybe they were too busy texting during the film, because all was crystal to me! Jump into this Oblivion and bathe in its glory! Whatever that means...

GORE
Folks blown to ashes by ray guns.
T & A
Andrea Riseborough gives us a glimpse of her firm bum, the ladies and gay dude get Cruise shirtless.
BOTTOM LINE
Oblivion made for a dazzling time at the movies! It sported an involving storyline that had me guessing half the time, stellar production designs, solid acting by most, awe inspiring cinematography and gripping action. All of them goods were backed up by a badass score by M83 that kept on giving! And FINALLY, I love Tom Cruise again! Yes it had plot holes when I looked back, Olga Kurylenko wasn’t 100% acting wise and Morgan Freeman’s role was too clichéd and underdeveloped, but it takes more than that for me to throw a movie out the window or ignore the exceptional things that were achieved. And that’s one thing that dawned on me, after talking with some friends about the movie afterwards, I am so happy that after 12 years of writing about movies, that I still love them as a movie fan. I haven't become a nitpicker that can’t enjoy a fun ride because of this fault or that fault. Thank Crom! So yeah, Oblivion delivered in spades! Tom Cruise fans and Sci-Fi fans owe it to themselves to see this one on the big screen! Make it your weekend!
BULL'S EYE
Jessica Chastain was cast in the role of Julia, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.

The project started out as an 8 page treatment by writer/director Joseph Kosinski.
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