Review: Oblivion

By RexH
23 Apr 13

SCI-FI MASH-UP! It's the End of the World as We Know It!

Question: Which sci-fi movie is better than "Prometheus"?
Answer: ANY sci-fi movie!
Joking aside, this thought went through my mind while watching "Oblivion". If Scott's mess of a film had even half the script cohesion of "Oblivion", it would have been the better for it.
Now this flick is far from perfect, to be sure. For awhile I was playing spot the references: Independence Day (chase through the gorge, the Mothership), Planet of the Apes (original - been awhile since I've seen Liberty sicking out of the cliffs), 2001 (HAL's Big Red Eye), Mad Max (Beyond Thunderdome), Robocop (the Enforcement Droid ED 209 - though this movie's versions are way nastier and can fly) and Tron (mainly the tech design and costumes - just a hint), Star Trek (the one where Kirk ends up at a log cabin)... Then there's the idea of sucking a planet dry for its energy. Galactus? There are also hints of Battlestar Galactica, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, X-Files... It's a veritable smorgasbord of influences!
I have no problems with any of the above for one reason: They're in context and they work. The acting could have been better all round, however. Only Morgan Freeman showed a spark of life. Cruise and his two female co-stars failed to spark. It was in the emotional scenes and flashbacks where the characters could have been fleshed out and given more depth, but the script doesn't quite make it.
So we're left with the plot. New? No, but good enough and I, for one, didn't see some of it coming. Androids may not dream of electric sheep, but apparently clones dream of past loves. The plot is workmanlike and solid and sincere enough not to have me feeling let down or, worse, insulted (as I was with Prometheus).
Visually stunning from beginning to end, it had all the bases covered for a good looking sci-fi movie. The huge ocean-draining machines hanging in the sky, the inverted pyramid in orbit, the shattered moon, the "cursed earth" landscapes all looked convincing.
Not a four star rating though, alas. I wanted to, but on reflection it ends up being a very enjoyable three stars. Which is not a bad thing - that's a bronze at the Olympics.