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April 28, 2013

"Oblivion" fails to obliterate

by Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief
"Tron: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski is back with another sci-fi film, but unfortunately the product is abysmal and mediocre. Although the film has ample star power with versatile actors such as Morgan Freeman and Tom Cruise, Oblivion simply lacks any kind of "wow" factor.

Oblivion (1)

(released April 19, 2013)
Tom Cruise's character avoiding confrontation from the Scavs. Courtesy of bubblews.com
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Tom Cruise's character running from the Scavs.
Set in the year 2077, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone technician and is one of the last people left on Earth. Earth has been destroyed because of a war between an alien race known as The Scavs and the humans and as a result, the remaining human population moved to a new planet: Titan. Jack's sole job is to repair Drones, which are used to fight off any remaining Scavs on earth. He works with Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) and their relationship takes several twists throughout the course of the film. Meanwhile, Jack begins to have flashbacks of an Earth before the war, which is peculiar since his memory should have been wiped. This becomes one of the big problems in Oblivion, as it's hard for the plot to take off when the plot holes leak all of its momentum.

When the plot finally does get moving, we are introduced to Morgan Freeman. However, we are introduced to the acting legend far far too late. When we finally do get to meet Freeman, he impresses in his role as Beech. The sheer star power and aura of coolness that Freeman brings to the table keeps this movie afloat, but it would definitely have been nice to see more of him earlier on in the film, which might have offset some of the emphasis on its mediocre plot. Freeman's role was far too limited, and Oblivion sure could have used more Morgan Freeman.

One of the many impressive landscapes of Oblivion. Courtesy of wallpaperswide.com
One of the many impressive landscapes of Oblivion.
The main strength of this movie lies in its visual appeal. Kosinski takes us through awesome displays of the futuristic earth, portraying relics of the Empire State Building and Golden Gate Bridge. These relics also come off as very mystical, as it's surreal to see these once populated landmarks empty and still. Simply put, the world created in Oblivion was a phantasmagoria of monumental buildings and beautiful landscapes and it's what helped captivate the audience's interest in this world.

If Kosinski plans on creating a third blockbuster sci-fi film, he's going to have to step it up from "Oblivion" to really take away the audience. First things first: he must make better use of his stars. There is no doubt that Morgan Freeman's role was far too limited, and this was the first sign of trouble for this film. Kosinski must also close some holes in his plot, and think of a more creative storyline. If he can improve on these two aspects, Kosinski might be able to finally create the sci-fi classic.

"Oblivion" is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity. Now playing at theaters everywhere.



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  • student on May 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM
    jack, i think you have some of the plot wrong. the memories "jack harper" had proved that his entire memory was not wiped, which enabled "him" (in quotes because there are many jack harpers) to feel emotion, save his wife from the drones, realize that the scavs are the good guys, and kill himself to ensure the preservation of earth. essentially, had his memory been completely wiped, the plot would have been much shallower.
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