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Oblivion  : Toss It Into Oblivion
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Friday, April 12, 2013
Science fiction adventure
Joseph Kosinski
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Melissa Leo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Obviously, someone out here is oblivious to what engrossing cinema is all about. Post-Apocalypse, a lone drone mechanic is stationed on Earth to utilize its remaining vital resources. He rescues a woman who changes the meaning of war and its aftermath for him but special effects alone won’t make you stay long enough to figure out what’s going on.

The plot: Set in 2073, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), a drone mechanic, is on a mission to save the important reserves left on Earth with his partner Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) after the moon and our planet were nearly destroyed during an alien invasion 60 years ago. During a patrol, he rescues Julia Rusakowa (Olga Kurylenko) – someone who’s been inexplicably visiting him in his dreams. When Jack is captured by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman), he realizes that the war was not what it seemed and the society he lives in is a police state.

The good: As always, sci-fi adventures are a visual extravaganza with spectacular special effects. The scenes portraying the destroyed Earth are beautiful. Even the visual effects for the moon look amazing.  One star in the rating is for cinematographer Claudio Miranda and the special effects team. It’s not an unexpected visual treat when director Joseph Kosinski, renowned for his computer generated graphics, is around. The flashback dream sequences add a charming layer to an otherwise linear storyline. Andrea Riseborough is perfect in her part, being robotic at times and suitably emotional when required. The wardrobe of a futuristic world (created by Marlene Stuart) is apt as it remains short of being over-the-top.

The bad: The story and screenplay (Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt) are the big letdowns. Though it’s about war between humans, it ends up being a fight between man and machines. The first half of the film drags and you don’t understand what’s going on with the two characters, Jack and Victoria. The main core of the film is very shoddily explained, which will leave confusion rather than clarity in its wake. Though Tom Cruise tries to carry it off, he stumbles pathetically. Sad but true, the super glossy drones are much more enticing than Tom. After the immensely popular Mission Impossible series, you don’t understand why he is a part of such a drab affair. Morgan Freeman is wasted in his special appearance. Olga Kurylenko is just a part of the scenic beauty rather than actually participating in the story. If the film was shorter and crisper, maybe it would have worked…a little.

Overall: Sally (Melissa Leo) keeps asking in the film, “Are you an effective team?” Sorry, Sally, the answer is a positive negative.

– Latika Mehta

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