Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thoughts on Oblivion

Tom Cruise's shiny new sci-fier Oblivion is out in cinemas today. Wondering how it is? Let's break it down into easy-to-digest bullet points and stray obseravtions (no spoilers):
  • Director Joseph Kosinski, who previously gave us the thoroughly underwhelming Tron: Legacy, is not a natural storyteller. He's first and foremost a stylist, a lover of sleek, painstakingly designed surfaces, and it's evident in the way Oblivion's lumbering, lurching narrative is at odds with its seductive tech glossiness.
  • Tom Cruise performs with his usual generic leading-man intensity.
  • It's a thinly veiled anti-God screed.
  • Olga Kurylenko: miscast, wooden. All the romantic stuff is dreadful.
  • I was wondering where I'd seen those spherical drones before, and it just dawned on me: Phantasm! :)
  • Actually you'll be wondering where you've seen a lot of Oblivion from, and the answer is a LOT of other sci-fi. Unfortunately Kosinski never transcends the material's lack of originality.
  • The effects work on Oblivion IS superb but I'm starting to get a little iffy of the following type of shot, which I first started noticing in Prometheus.... basically it's a lone-figure-riding-in-a-vast-landscape-type shot that's meant to convey just how dwarfed the figure is by the expansive surroundings etc. But I think my problem with it is is that it doesn't (not to me anyway) - the super-crisp CGI rendering looks pretty and all, but somehow robs the image of its intended power. Too unreal? The "uncanny valley" thing? I dunno. I'm probably just talking out of my arse - but it's just something that's crossed my mind.
  • Verdict: Some nice eye candy but mediocre, leaden movie.
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