Cocktails and Movies Review: “Oblivion” – It’s All There

“Oblivion” is simply amazing on all levels

Cocktails and Movies Oblivion2013PosterNot all sophomore movies by a director are this fantastic. But we’d all be better for it. “Oblivion” is simply written, directed, acted and edited without flaw. Co-written and directed by Joseph Kosinski, “Oblivion” was originally scheduled to come out in July of this year, but was moved back by the re-release of “Jurassic Park,” another Universal release. This may serve it well at the box office to get the early “Summer” dollars before the official Summer movie season begins.

“We were attacked”

The film opens with Jack Harper (a VERY GOOD, subdued Tom Cruise), narrating a recurring dream of a woman he “remembers” on the observations deck of the Empire State Building before the attack by the Scavengers, a race that attacked Earth 60 years ago. They destroyed the moon, which unleashed earthquakes and tsunamis, then they landed. The Earth fought back by using nukes which has now left the Earth desolated and so the human race relocated to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack, and everyone else, has very little memory of the past, having undergone a mandatory memory wipe five years prior, which makes the dreams he is having much more troubling.

His designation is Tech-49, a maintenance tech charged with repairing drones that patrol and keep away the Scavs from the giant hydro cores that are siphoning the Earth’s remaining water to convert to hydrogen fuel to take to Titan. He and his partner, Victoria, live thousands of feet above the planet, communicating only with their commander, Sally, who is stationed on the Tet via communication link. The Tet is the orbiting command center for the last of the humans who will head to Titan in two weeks. Jack likes his job as it affords him time on the planet where he tries to remember the stories of the planet before the attack. He even keeps a secluded cabin in a remote valley, filled with items from before the attack.

As Jack nears the end of his mission, a pre-war ship named the Odyssey crash lands back on Earth near a Scav homing beacon. Inside are several life pods, and Jack is able to save one before a drone arrives and destroys the humans inside the pods. Jack recognizes the woman inside the pod as the woman of his dreams, furthering the mystery of who he is, show she is and who the Scavs are. As they try to flee back to Jack and Victoria’s residence, they are captured by Moran Freeman who lets them in on one of the movie’s biggest secrets.

It’s impossible to describe the rest of the film without giving away from really cool reveals, so rather than tell you what happens, it’s just important to understand that the film is brilliantly written to provide a new answer to a new mystery every so often to keep you engaged throughout the whole film. Kosinski and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3 and Star Wars Ep VIII) and William Monahan (The Departed, Kingdom of Heaven) have written a truly original sci-fi masterpiece that is both visually stunning and smart, while combining a bit of romance and mystery to keep everyone interested.

The question was: Could Tom Cruise carry a movie again and would people come to see it? It appears after this weekend, the answer is yes. Cruise inhabits, rather than plays, a character here. He’s toned down, which may have a lot to do with one of the latter reveals in the movie. There is no trace of Tom Cruise, arrogant SOB in this film. This is Tom Cruise, actor, and he’s pretty damned good. Morgan Freeman is used effectively as —–. (don’t want to give that one away, either).  It’s smart that Universal chose to release this BEFORE the summer season begins, or else it might have gotten lost in the rest of the sci-fi releases, though.

Cocktails and Movies Rating: Two great cocktails of your choice and a shot to help you understand the constant reveals