Oblivion ***1/2

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“Oblivion” may not redefine the sci-fi genre but it does elevate it with some big ideas as well as some truly awesome special effects. Director Joseph Kosinski shows with this movie and “Tron Legacy” that he has a truly unique vision. The story is pretty thin but the performances from Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko are very strong.

The plot isn’t too far from that of “Wall-E” to be honest. The setting is Earth, years after a war with an invading alien force. Apparently humans won the battle but the Earth was left mostly uninhabitable. All of humanity has departed for a moon orbiting Jupiter. The moon was all but destroyed causing major devastation to the planet’s atmosphere. There is a breathtaking shot of the moon in the sky which is now in many pieces.

Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a drone repair man who is left on the Earth. His mission is keep the battle drones up and running so they can defend against the scattered alien groups still on the planet. His assignment is over in two weeks but he is about to learn the truth about why he is here and what truly happened to humanity.

Morgan Freeman plays Malcolm, the leader of a secret human resistance that lives under the surface. I can’t say much more about his character but I will say that he has a great entrance in to the movie. When Harper finds himself tied to a chair in a dark room, suddenly the voice of Freeman hits the surround sound similar to Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises”.

The action scenes here are quite spectacular. There are many aerial dog fights that are exciting and intense. I appreciated the fact that we could see everything clearly. There is no chop shop editing or shaky camera work.

I also need to praise the sets, especially Harpers penthouse in the sky. The look and feel Jack’s apartment reminded me of “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Everything is sleek and clean. What bring’s it to life is the spectacular view that constantly surrounds it. Amazingly almost no CGI was used to create these scenes.

What also brings this movie to life is the pulse pounding score by M83. They create music that almost made me wish there was no dialogue at all. It is a haunting and memorable score.

My only issue is that the story could of been a little more fleshed out. I almost wish they had gone a little deeper in to the history of what happened to the planet. How amazing would it of been to actually see the battle for the moon? That is just me though. I am actually immensely grateful for another terrific original sci-fi movie.

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