Mike:**** Michael I:***
Michael I: This week, we have screened “Oblivion” starring Tom Cruise as a space-aged maintenance man on a futuristic, desolate Earth. So Mike, what did you think?
Mike: I loved this movie! This may be the best Science Fiction/Adventure movie I have seen since Star Trek in 2009.
Mike: What about you?
Michael I: That’s high feedback from you — but I wasn’t as impressed.
In my opinion, it’s an adventure movie masquerading as sci-fi.
Mike: That’s funny, because I think it is a sci-fi movie masquerading as an adventure movie. Why do you say that?
Michael I: To me, great science fiction makes you think about the theme and the internal thought process that you leave the theater with. In ‘Oblivion’, I think about the different clues, but not the message.
Mike: Interesting. I liked that this movie had a plot and was not just an excuse to have great special effects and a lot of running around.
Michael I: You know how old episodes of Star Trek would put you in a moral or ethical dilemma and the fact that it’s happening in outer space just masks the theme, right? “Oblivion” doesn’t deliver that for me.
But perhaps this movie just isn’t high brow enough for me …
Mike: I don’t agree. I feel like this story is about a man that questions what is going on and steps outside of the box to fight for what he believes is right.
Michael I: But with that plot, I already know what’s going to happen. How many times have we seen that in a recent movie? With the new Star Trek series, I forgive them for not having much of the thought-provoking metaphors because the characters are familiar and I’m invested in them. But Oblivion lacks the originality to get me hooked.
Mike: I think that Oblivion takes pieces of things that we have seen before and puts it together into something new, that we haven’t seen before. I had the same feeling when I saw Serenity and also Sunshine.
On the other hand, I didn’t need high brow to like the Star Trek or Star Wars movies for that matter. Good vs evil works for me.
Michael I: Luckily, I was still entertained by this movie. And I’m almost always entertained by Cruise.
Mike: I am a big Tom Cruise fan and a big Science Fiction fan, so this movie was right up my alley. I loved the trailers, but I was worried that I would be disappointed. Luckily, I wasn’t. There were some things I figured out ahead of time, but there are a few surprises in here too.
Michael I: Perhaps I was preparing myself for the turns before they happened and I ruined it for myself.
Mike: This takes place in the year 2077 and the earth has been evacuated after a devastating invasion. We apparently won the war, but the earth was left uninhabitable.
Michael I: The alien race that’s left behind are called Scavs (for Scavengers) and are out to ruin Cruise’s day.
Mike: Jack (Tom Cruise) is part of a two person team that oversees the drones that protect the giant machines that pump seawater to create energy.
Suffice it to say, everything is not what we or Jack thinks.
Michael I: The other half of Jack’s team is Victoria, his mission-control type partner played by Andrea Riseborough, who gives a stunning performance.
Mike: She is great, but I don’t think I have ever seen her before.
Michael I: She looks familiar, but I haven’t seen any of her other movies. But I will!
Mike: There is a very good cast that is rounded out by Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Morgan Freeman (He’s freakin’ Morgan Freeman).
Michael I: Don’t forget Zoe Bell!
Mike: Sorry, I forgot Zoe Bell. Who is Zoe Bell?
Michael I: Stuntwoman extraordinaire. She was in Kill Bill, Death Proof, Django Unchained and is making a name for herself outside of Tarantino-land.
Mike: Aah. I love Tarantino land, but I didn’t know. I will watch out for her.
Michael I: She’s even been on a few of your favorite TV shows — Lost and Hawaii 50
Mike: Those are two of my favorites!
Mike: I have to mention that I loved several things about this film, including the art direction, the special effects and the music.
Michael I: All winners in my book.
Mike: I am ready to go out and buy a toy of Jack’s spaceship.
Michael I: It reminded me of those helicopters that were prevalent during the Vietnam war — with the big glass bubble in the front.
Mike: I took note of the music and during the credits I noticed the score was by M83, a french electronic band that I am a fan of. I saw them at the VirginFest last year.
Mike: In fact the score was reminiscent of the music in Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk, another electronic band.
But, Guess what?
Michael I: Same director
Mike: You got it. Joseph Kosinski. I knew you were smarter than the average bear.
Michael I: And it looks like he’s working on a Tron sequel as we type this
Mike: He’s only made these two movies, so far, but this guy has a great visual style. I will be watching out for his future work. (Pun intended)
Michael I: So how do you rate this?
Mike: I give this a 4 out of 5. I am glad that I didn’t know much about this ahead of time, so i was able to sit back and enjoy the ride. This movie has hints of many other movies that I love, but i seems fresh to me. If you want action, adventure, mystery and even some romance, Oblivion’s got it.
How do you rate this?
Michael I: Some would say that Oblivion is a homage to many great sci-fi movies like 2001, The Matrix and even Wall-E, but I was expecting more original concepts than what was presented. I’m giving this a 3 out of 5. Maybe watching it in 3-D would improve that score.
Mike: I would add that we saw it in Imax and I would recommend seeing that way.
Michael I: Imax definitely helped when we’re placed all the way up in press row!