Oblivion (2013)


Honestly, I'm not a sci-fi movie lovers. I have less experience about this genre. Some reviews said that the less you see any other sci-fi movies previously, the better "Oblivion" will be. It means that I, who don't watch sci-fi movies a lot, should have been thrilled and amused by "Oblivion". Technically, I appreciate this movie, but by story and characters, I'd rather say that this is just an okay film. But, before I continue writing, I wanna ask this thing straight: have you seen Duncan Jones' "Moon"? In fact, I have.

"Oblivion" is adapted from a comic book created by the director himself. The story of “Oblivion” takes place far in the future, when earth is no longer a good place to inhabit. Jack Harper (portrayed by Tom Cruise) is a drone repairman living in a station on sky above with his commander as well as spouse, Vika (portrayed by Andrea Riseborough). He works for The Tet—an outer space station where all post-war human population lives—via high-technology communication to Sally (portrayed by Melissa Leo) in The Tet. After being attacked by Scavengers—the term used to describe alien that human declared war to in the past—and discovering a survivor of the war named Julia (portrayed by Olga Kurylenko), Jack starts to question what he knows about the mission he does.


"Oblivion" feels quite rambling in the front. It tries to introduce Jack Harper very closely from the job he does, the daily life he lives, the bad dreams he had, and the romantic relationship he builds with Vika. The story was still unclear and somewhat aimless. If you complain about the lengthy duration, you may blame this introduction part for not being just straight-forwardly told because after the opening part, things are getting more exciting. The secrets start to be revealed one by one, and viewers will be guided to finally understand the situation--which actually is not as clear as what we imagine before. And then, here comes the twist.

Wait a second. You may just skip the next paragraph because although it's not obvious, the next paragraph is a little bit spoiler-y.

Did I just mention "Moon" in the first paragraph? Oh, sorry. Now you must be questioning what it has to do with "Oblivion". I'm just gonna tell you this: if you haven't seen "Moon", well, you are lucky. But, if you have, just forget it. Like I did. I'm trying not to relate anything from "Oblivion" with "Moon" and you are too. I don't know if other viewers will find any other sci-fi movies akin to "Oblivion" because, like I said before, I have less experience about this genre. But I feel like there are many connection among "Oblivion" and other sci-fi movies, more than just "Moon" which I accidentally have seen. Some said that it has similar topic with “Prometheus”, or it has a similar nuance with Joseph Kosinski’s previous work “TRON: Legacy”, and so on. This is not a rip-off, I believe, because however similar they are, "Oblivion" is able to expand the idea nicely and make itself a brand new one, although not a fresh one. That's why, don't you complain something like "hey, the story is like movie A, B, or C!" because the fact is, “Oblivion” still refreshes it better.


Now you can continue reading without any spoiler-y cues.

Well, I am not so much entertained by the story, actually, but I like “Oblivion” more because of its visual. Thanks to the cinematographer, Claudio Miranda—who won an Oscar this year for “Life of Pi”. He blends futuristic style with art, making all looks classy and different. I love symmetrical composition he often uses, like in one scene when the camera moves forward very very slowly out of the glass windows from the station to the clear blue sky. And see how Vika wears off her cloth and jumps into the swimming pool, as the camera captures her and Jack kisses each other beneath the surface with the dark blue night sky as a background. It is very nice. Claudio is succesfully digging the artistic side of the CGI used to make such a futuristic style. Meanwhile, I don’t really excited by the score and soundtrack M83 created for “Oblivion”. For me it is too Hans Zimmer. LOL. Well, the score still does a good job, especially in the climax scene nearly at the ending.

And now, the actors. Please, Tom Cruise celebrated his 50-year-old birthday on the filming set. 50 years old. Is it still a good opportunity to show him shirtless in movies? He is just way too old of being a hero (even as a veteran, like IMDb said in the synopsis section of “Oblivion”) and he doesn’t perfectly fit playing Jack Harper. My attention is paid more to Andrea Riseborough. I have to admit this: she looks way hotter than Olga Kurylenko. Hahahaha. I mean, she acts better than Olga. Olga is too... stilted or rigid. For me, she is just plain. Andrea, through Vika, is able to put emotion to her character. I don’t know. In short, for unknown reason, Andrea is more lovable than Olga. Sorry.


“Oblivion”, by story alone, is just an okay movie. But, thanks to the technical department, especially the cinematographer, that wraps this sort-of-rip-off sci-fi stories into an enjoyable visual entertainment. The story is still nice, actually, and a little bit mind-blowing final scene can be a bonus. But, whatever role Tom Cruise plays—Jack Reacher, Jack Harper, whatever—I think we should have a fresher (and younger!) actor to play heroes from now on.

Oblivion3 out of 5 stars

 ▲  Nice cinematography, a good development of the story
 ▼  Feels similar to other mainstream sci-fi movies, Tom Cruise

OBLIVION | COUNTRY USA YEAR 2013 RATING Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity RUNTIME 126 min GENRE Action, Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi CAST Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman WRITER Joseph Kosinski & Arvid Nelson (comic book), Joseph Kosinski & Karl Gajdusek & Michael Arndt (screenplay) DIRECTOR Joseph Kosinski MORE INFO

Akbar Saputra

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  1. I liked Andrea over Vika, too, to be honest.

    A very interesting read – though I liked it more than you did. Good review, though!

    1. Andrea is a new face for me, really. Never seen her before.

      Thanks for your comment :)

  2. What could state your movie as a "homage to every sci-fi flicks" more than using poster that clearly mimics Planet of the Apes