Sunday, April 21, 2013


Saw Oblivion this weekend.

I'm not going to say a lot concretely about the film, because it has some fun twists and nuances for folks who have done their best to avoid spoilers.

I definitely put it in the "very good movie" category. I was looking forward to great visuals -- especially after meeting one of the members of the visual team last week -- and the film more than delivered. The entire "futuristic ruin" aesthetic really works for me. The technology (all three kinds) are very internally cohesive, and the smooth white aesthetic in particular is pulled of well (think "TRON in the daytime", and avoiding the dirty-ish Mad Max vibe).

The scenery from Iceland and June Lake (California) are absolutely gorgeous, and make me ache for my Idaho / Montana / Wyoming stomping grounds (but not at all for Cali).

I have minor quibbles with some of the art (buildings on top of angled spires? Earth and rubble pulled up after the events that devastate the earth?) -- But they are minor quibbles, and there are fictional elements that address those quibbles. A bit.

There's much more plot and story than I expected. I got wrapped into several of the emotional threads, and they feel authentic.

There's some really nice interpersonal messiness. Relationships are messy, and I like to see filmic treatments of that messiness -- both analogous to the things we all do as we try to make this important stuff work in the real world, and allegorical treatments of relationship friction.

Actor-wise, this is one my top-3 Tom Cruise films (along with Collateral and Jack Reacher). Andrea Riseborough is wonderful in an understated, conflicted way. I would have loved to see more of Ukrainian-born Olga Kurylenko, but there is a wonderful, moving, subtle scene during a meal that shows the depth and connection of this actress. I hope there's a director's cut with more scenes from Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, because as it is, his scenes feel a little ham-fisted (but not in a Ralph Fiennes chewing up scenery in Clash of the Titans way; more like in a "scenes that build to import were edited out" way). And I could watch Morgan Freeman sit and read a phone book, so there's my bias there.

I'm also really digging Joseph Kosinski as a director. First TRON Legacy, then Oblivion, and (soon) the TRON sequel. I'm looking for more goodness from Mr. Kosinski, and hope I get to be a part of it in some way.

And for those who are fans of the graphic novel source material, this is a really a good treatment of that originating story. And kudos to Radical Publishing -- Oblivion this year, and then Hercules: Thracian Wars looks to be great fun in the movie version in 2014. Now, if I could just get a Freedom Formula movie (or make a game for it) ...

So, yes -- Oblivion is a worthwhile watch, especially in the theater. I'll probably see it a second time in IMAX,  because unlike TRON: Legacy (where the film was opened up to full-frame for 40 minutes of the movie), the entire Oblivion film was shot in full-frame, probably making digital IMAX the preferred viewing experience.