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Oblivion

Earth 2077. The planet is a wreck and now uninhabitable. Humanity has moved to colonize on Titan, one of Saturn's moons. The only things that are on the dying world is a mop-up crew that is tasked with doing the machine-like duty of collecting vital resources like water and plant life for......Wait a second....i'm explaining the plot of WALL-E! Let's try this again.....

In the distant future, a two-person crew live together and take orders from a machine that may be hiding a more sinister motive as to why......Sorry, that's another plot point from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 - A Space Odyssey, my mistake.


Tom Cruise is Jack Harper, a man tasked with droid repairs for what feels to be a lifetime. Harper has this feeling that the life he knows may be a guise to blind him from what's really going on, as dreams (or memories?) of a world more before the destruction of the planet and the woman on top of the empire State Building in New York haunt him every night......And those were the plots to Total Recall and Inception. Goddammit....

Cruise is also a hotshot pilot with a cocky attitude....Great, that's borrowed from Cruises's star-making role in Top Gun....and a leap without looking philosophy that gets the woman he's assigned to, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) in danger....fuck me, that's partially lifted from J.J. Abrams' reboot of Star Trek....who eventually gains a cause to fight for as he is captured by the last remaining pockets of humanity who hide underground and believe that he his the key to ending a war against mindless killing machines....that's from both The Matrix and it's sequel, The Matrix Reloaded!? Jesus Christ!

You think i'm kidding, i'm not! Director Joseph Kosinski's follow-up to the successful and underrated Tron: Legacy is basically just borrowed plot points and backdrops to other classic and influential sci-fi fare, without an original spin of it's own. Hell, the shots of a buried Empire State Building and Stature of Liberty are a blatant reference to Planet of the Apes! I don't have an issue with a director taking ideas from those movies, but you better have an new spin on them, or at the least, expand upon the universe that was created upon. Say what you want about Ridley Scott's Prometheus, but at least that movie expanded upon the Alien universe and tried to build its own.that would bridge the gap between both worlds. Oblivion feels like Kosinski just flat-out plagiarized the words of Kubrick  the Wachowskis, Philip K. Dick, Christopher Nolan and Pixar, all without the slightest bit of realization that he did it.

It's a shame, really, because the visuals and cinematography (beautifully captured by current Oscar-winner Claudio Miranda - Life of Pi)are all top-notch, and the performances from Cruise, Riseborough and Morgan Freeman as the resistance leader (though his part is smaller than what the trailer implied), are all solid. Still, great visuals and strong performances can't hide a script that's been borrowed from other better science-fiction fare. For a film about a man that's trying to piece together his memories, Oblivion doesn't make any attempt to make the audience remember, much less care, about this brave new world.

** stars out of ****

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