You know when you hear one of those remix albums, the ones where each song seamlessly segues into the next, watching Oblivion is a bit like that.

OblivionVery much a mish mash of many other films that have come before, some better and some worse, this doesn’t stop Oblivion being quite an enjoyable film.

The year is 2077 and everything has pretty much gone to hell. Aliens have invaded, destroyed the moon and then mostly been obliterated by humanity’s nuclear arsenal. Man has won the war, but ultimately lost the planet.

With most of humanity having vacated the planet for the safe and radiation-free haven of Saturn’s moon Titan, left behind is Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his lover Victoria (an steely excellent Andrea Riseborough), shacked up in a house in the clouds that overlooks the shattered Earth below.

Their job is to maintain the various drones that hunt down what’s left of the alien resistance and and protect resource extraction machines on the surface.

Haunted by flashbacks of an unknown woman (Olga Kurylenko) and with only two weeks left of their assignment, Jack is reluctant to leave the planet and when the lady of Jack’s flashback mysteriously crashes down to Earth in an escape pod, a plot begins to unravel.

The first thing to be noted about Oblivion is that it looks remarkable – beautifully bleak and brilliantly presented with some breathtaking cinematography by Claudio Miranda.

As Jack explores the vast and desolate landscapes of the planet, the stark imagery is akin to the likes of The Book of Eli, Mad Max and I Am Legend.

And that’s something that is repeated through nearly ever aspect of Oblivion – it’s very much the sum of other parts in movies. There’s hints of Artificial Intelligence, Star Trek, Star Wars, Moon, Prometheus, even Wall-E!

From the visuals and the plot, everything appears to be paying homage to something. Whether this is intentional or not is up for debate, as the none of this distracts from the films overall enjoyment.

The sound design is also quite striking, particularly the distorted beeps from the drones.

The score is also particularly effective – a collaboration between Joseph Trapanese and Anthony Gonzalez of the French electronic band M83, it has hints of Daft Punks work with Trapanese on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack whilst also containing certain whiffs of the music from the Mass Effect video game series.

In terms of performance, Tom Cruise is very much on um, cruise control here as the role doesn’t really push him in the same way roles like Less Grossman or Frank T.J. Mackey did. The role is very much tailored to him.

Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo also feature in the film, but sadly their characters are very much pushed to the side and we learn little about them.

Andrea Riseborough as Victoria

Andrea Riseborough as Victoria

Andrea Riseborough’s performance on the other hand stands apart from everyone else in Oblivion and will hopefully lead to further mainstream roles for her.

While not being particularly original nor quite up there with the films it is emulating, Oblivion is most certainly worth a watch.

Sadly the film does undo a lot of its hard work with it’s conclusion, which leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. But despite all its flaws Oblivion is certainly a success in it’s visual qualities.


About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.