Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Video review: "Oblivion"

I seem to have gone sideways from the consensus on a lot of films in 2013 – none more so than “Oblivion,” a science fiction epic starring Tom Cruise that was greeted  unenthusiastically by ticket-buyers and critics. For my money, it’s the most engaging and thought-provoking sci-fi movie since “The Matrix.”

Set in the dying days of the Earth, the story is about the last two people left on the planet. Jack (Cruise) and Vicca (Andrea Riseborough) live in a glass pinnacle in the skies, tasked with guarding the massive machines that are turning the world’s oceans into energy. The rest of humanity has already decamped into space for the long journey to a new home.

The machines are under continual attack by the alien “scavs” that brought about this calamity. Jack repairs the drones that protect the transformers, while Vicca coordinates with headquarters in orbit.

Things begin to happen that make Jack doubt the truth of what he knows. Both his and Vicca’s memories were wiped as part of their mission, and it soon becomes clear that the situation is very different than he comprehended.

I can’t tell you much more without spoiling the experience. But suffice it to say that “Oblivion” is an ambitious mix of existential pondering, action scenes and unexpected plot twists.

Forget what the herd says – rent or buy this one today.

Video features are quite good, headlined by a feature-length commentary track that includes both director Joseph Kosinski and Cruise. There are also deleted scenes, a comprehensive making-of documentary and an option to watch the entire film with an isolated musical score.



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