Skip to main content

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 ****

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lost in Translation

I think it's fair to assume that a lot of us were very skeptical upon hearing that Masmure Shinrow's cyberpunk manga Ghost in the Shell was being updated for mainstream audiences, in the form of a live-action film. We've seen how this business has handled manga/Anime properties in the past, and the track record, outside of the Wachowskis' Speed Racer, has been dismal, to say the least. When it was revealed that Scarlett Johansson was chosen to play Major Motoko Kusanagi, the Internet went ablaze, the cries that studio suits were whitewashing a beloved Anime character, as well as petitions making the rounds to remove the actress from the role in favor of an Asian actress to carry the role. When the first trailer dropped in mid-November of last year, I think most of us were blown away with just how, on a surface level, it looked like the live-action version might do the original source material justice.

Then, the actual film was released.

It's hard to talk about the …

Spare Me

Sometimes you find something so incredibly stupid and so utterly irresponsible on social media that you have to address it. Last weekend was the Peoples' Summit in Chicago, where a coalition of Sanders supporters and left-wing activists flocked to a three-day event to discuss about where the movement, which started back in 2016 behind then-candidate Bernie Sanders, would and should go in the Trump era, including whether the Democratic Party can be (or should be) saved, or if the time has come to abandon the party and start a new People's party instead. Enter The Young Turks correspondent Nomiki Konst and her thoughts on why the Democratic establishment should accept and embrace independents who don't lean either with the R's or D's in primary battles.
"No open primaries for Democratic Party equals voter suppression and racism with young independent voters" @NomikiKonst#PPLSummit — Holly Mosher (@FilmsForChange) June 10, 2017
*Rolls eyes HARD for several m…

Transformers: The One Good Movie

A bit of backstory here: I was at a bar last Saturday night, chatting with fellow film fan Mason Daniel via social media when an ad for Michael Bay's latest Transformers flick, The Last Knight, appeared on television, in which I had said that I would talk about each of the last four films before I (eventually) pay to see the fifth installment of the franchise. Also, I need to get back into writing and reviewing movies, because given everything that's happened in the world, and everything that has yet come to pass, I could use the distraction and escape. What better way to do that than to revisit the site's original whipping boy (before Jimmy Dore took the crown recently) and his soul-crushing franchise of noise and destruction?

Oh, Michael Bay. You and I have had a long, contentious relationship - most of it (extremely) negative. However, I do think his talent, purely from a visual aspect, is to be commended: every last one of his films has a slick Hollywood feel and shine…