Oblivion (spoiler free review)

So last night Thad and I went on a double-date with our friends Ian and Hillary and sort of on a whim decided to go see Oblivion – a new sci-fi flick with Tom Cruise. (Also, not at all related to the Elder Scrolls game!) In a year with a ton of movies I wanted to see, this one had flown under my radar and I wasn’t sure I felt like spending money on movie tickets when later we’d be wanting to go see and (choosing between) The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, Captain America, Star Trek, Man of Steel, The Hobbit II, etc. After an enjoyable couple hours, however, I’m glad we took the time to see it.

The #1 adjective I would use to describe this movie is “slick.” From the sleek special effects to the surprisingly-attractive post-apocalyptic Earth, to the soundtrack that reminded me of Tron: Legacy, everything about the film felt very clean and modern. It was definitely an attractive movie to watch.

I thought the acting was solid, although I would have liked to know a little more about the characters. For Cruise and his partner, it was understandably hard to provide backstory (a mandatory memory wipe will do that), but other characters in the story seem a little underdeveloped for the amount of sympathy we’re supposed to have for them.

One of the main criticisms I’ve heard of the movie is that it’s derivative. While it’s not the most original movie I’ve ever seen, I chose to think of it as more a tribute than a knockoff and more inspired by than stealing from. Whatever your take, though, there are clear references to other well-known sci-fi movies like Independence Day, 2001 A Space Odyssey, and The Matrix. (Also, the drones reminded Thad and I of  a scarier and more dangerous version of something out of Pixar’s Wall-E).

While the narration teeters on the verge of being too exposition-heavy and I figured out several plot twists right before they occurred  overall I thought the movie was too enjoyable to hold its flaws against it too much. I was interested, I cared about the main characters, and I enjoyed myself a lot, so I’d say it was a great success.

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