AAR Goes to the Movies: Oblivion

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The last super bowl was played in 2017. Then Earth was attacked by aliens. According to soldier Jack Harper, “We won the war but they destroyed half the planet. Everyone’s been evacuated, nothing human remains.” Jack and his communications officer/eye in the sky Victoria are an “effective team”, doing what Jack calls “mop up” work. Essentially, they guard ocean rigs that drain the world’s oceans and send the water to a massive tetrahedral space station called the Tet. The Tet then sends it on to humanity’s new home, Titan, a moon of Saturn. Much of the water from the planet is gone; what remains should be drained soon.

Jack and Victoria believe they have been doing this for five years and that they are looking to go home in just two weeks. Victoria is anxious that Jack, a risk taker, not do anything to jeopardize their chance to do that. Both have sacrificed a lot for this isolated job, including their memories. Jack spends most of his days fixing the drones that do the heavy work in terms of ocean rig protection. His big concern is the Scavs, remnants of the defeated alien army trapped on Earth and determined to destroy the ocean rigs which provide humanity with a vital resource. Jack’s main job is repairing the drones they down.

Jack enjoys his job. He has a loving partner, both professionally and personally in Victoria. He sees plenty of excitement on planet while repairing the drones and it gives him a chance to explore Earth, a place humanity hasn’t lived on for sixty years but which Jack can’t help but feel is home. Unbeknownst to Victoria Jack has built a small house in a habitable part of the planet, a place he uses to stock the relics he finds while doing his drone repair jobs. The splinter poking in the eye of Jack’s happiness are pesky dreams featuring a lovely brunette (Victoria is a redhead); dreams which feel more like memories than fantasies.

Everything changes for Jack when a space ship lands on the planet, containing a surprising cargo . . .

This is one of those films strong on special effects and beautiful scenery and weak on plot. Tom Cruise as Jack, Morgan Freeman as Beech, and Andrea Riseborough as Victoria all deliver strong performances. Each of them plays their character with enough depth that their actions are both explicable and sympathetic. I especially felt for Victoria, who is competing with a ghost for her lover as well as dealing with a co-worker who seems determined to go off mission. That the two are one man makes it especially difficult. But strong performances and characters that draw our compassion in no way make up for the plot holes and yawn inducing slow paced “action”. It doesn’t help that Olga Kurylenko, joining the plot about halfway through the film as Julia, is awful. Her performance is wooden and frankly, her behavior completely inexplicable.

In the end, because I am a complete sci-fi nerd, I found the film interesting but not good. Has anyone else scene it? What did you think?

-Maggie AAR

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2 Responses to “AAR Goes to the Movies: Oblivion”

  1. LeeB. says:

    I do like Andrea Riseborough; she was excellent in Shadow Dancer with Clive Owen. (Okay my comment not so much about this movie. :) )

  2. Maggie AAR says:

    I thought she did a really good job in this film, especially with how little she had to work with in terms of plot.