Wednesday 10 April 2013

Oblivion review

Oblivion (12A/PG-13, 125 mins)
Director: Joseph Kosinski
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

In 2077, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) has memories of earth before the alien war that wiped out most of humanity, the remnants of which now live in a space station in orbit. Along with Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), Jack remains on the surface as maintenance crew, cleaning up Wall-E style, in preparation for a move to Saturn’s moon. The arrival of a crashed spaceship containing a survivor Jack recognises from his dreams (Olga Kurylenko) coincides with the entry of Morgan Freeman’s possible baddie, and it’s clear from the start that there’s a deeper mystery at play in this derivative but well put together sci-fi adventure. How this develops is generally watchable enough, even if at first it seems to lack a clear objective and narrative drive, though familiarity and predictability are its main problems. Inspiration is evident from The Matrix to Moon via Total Recall and many more, and you can see the finale coming from outer space. It also lacks the ideas that inform the best sci-fi, driven more by plot machinations than having anything particularly groundbreaking to say. But visually it’s breathtaking, the crisp and clear CGI making it otherworldly without ever seeming cartoonish, and the infrequent bursts of action are solid, if hardly revolutionary.

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