For its first thirty minutes I thought I was watching Top Gun and said a silent prayer for its director Tony Scott who committed suicide last year.Tom Cruise was cruising on a nifty pair of wings(balls actually), totally showing off, not listening to his bosses and shagging his hot teammate alongside.Then for the next thirty minutes I felt I was watching Soderbergh’s Solyaris (thankfully not Tarkovskiy’s original, another silent prayer- may Tarkovskiy’s soul rest in peace) since Tom was suddenly seeing his dead wife everywhere and the dude was not even supposed to have a memory.Then for the next few minutes I felt I was watching 2077 A Space Odessy when machines started getting confused. The last thirty minutes became a struggle to keep my eyes open even though I felt I was in one of the Matrix installments when the elder brother of Laurence Fishburne i.e. Morgan Freeman decides he has found the “one” who will save mankind.
Oblivion is the shiny new “big budget and big star summer sci fi blockbuster”.It has Morgan Freeman wearing goggles fused with leather blinkers and Tom Cruise flying around in a spaceship designed like one of those wooden reflexology tools which have three balls that you can knead your flesh with.He wears a spacesuit that the guys at Nike should look at(Just do it, guys).It is basically a full body sneaker rendered in white leather that turns grey with grime as Tom works hard to save the planet.Oh, did I mention that Freeman’s costume has a black cape attached? But he does not fly, thankfully, possibly in deference to the Superman movie coming out later this summer. And there is the ultimate swimming pool ever imagined, its a giant rectangular glass basin suspended over a mountain that has been rendered barren by nuclear doomsday.
With so much happening in it and a 120 million budget how can it possibly not be a blockbuster? Its directed by the prodigious Joseph Kosinski who directed Tron Legacy which had its psychedelic neon lit moments.Ok, so the set up is like this: Its circus (I meant circa) 2077.Sixty years back Earth’s was attacked by aliens and its moon destroyed.The aliens were thwarted by nukes (Did Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-un help out?).Sixty years later there is a team of Jack Millar( Tom Cruise) and Victoria(Andrea Risenborough), who armed with a few drones( think a roundish Wall E! with guns for arms) trying to save the world which has relocated to a satellite of Mars.All is well except for the minor problem that Jack’s memory has not been properly wiped clean( Android to blame?) and he can still remember his wife Julia (Olga Kurylenko) at the Empire State Building observation deck.Which of course helps set up some scenes which show us the NY Giants stadium and remains of the Golden Gate bridge.Like a true Top Gun, Jack rides a bike from the San Francisco to New York, which should be one hell of a road trip.His bike is supercool, its iPhone white (not patented yet) and can be folded for convenient rides on the subway.
I can safely assume there is no need to describe the plot any further.If he can see his wife in his dreams she must appear and she indeed does like Count Dracula in a futuristic coffin.She wakes up puking which tells us she must have been pregnant when apocalypse struck. Yes there is the super talented Malissa Leo as Sally the smart lady from the command centre, only she appears as a black and white flickering image since intergalactic broadband(77G network) has still not stabilized. Stuff happens and the film ends.
Tom Cruise is a good actor, he just goes to the wrong church.If there is any film where a star has pasted himself in every frame this must be it.He takes a dip in the pool with Victoria who strips naked for him but the shy (aging?)Tom keeps his clothes on.The special effects are good but repetitive, the gadgets are boring, the drones are dumb ( don’t tell the Taliban that, but they wont be seeing this film in Pakistan anyways, it has one promiscuous white woman too many) and Tom’s ride begins to look dated after 60 mins.That he has gone rogue should have been reason enough to ground his flying goblet by remote control but I did mention the intergalactic broadband glitches, so that covers that.Claudio Miranda the cinematographer is one lucky dude, he won Oscar for all the CGI work in Life of Pi and was nominated previously for the makeup mans hard work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.Here he skillfully keeps Tom Cruise in extreme close up and in focus.( Indian readers can google Miranda and compare his hair to Vikram Betaal)
Oblivion creates oblivion but may make money.I am just happy I saved ten dollars by not watching it in IMAX. And yes when Samsung launches one of those touch screen tables I want one.( I am guessing its going to be Samsung because for them size does matter).And since the swimming pool was the coolest thing in the film maybe Apple will file for a patent soon, they own all the cool patents don’t they?
iPool – I can’t wait to drown my sorrows in you.