Oblivion (2013): How not to treat the audience like idiots

Oblivion (2013): How not to treat the audience like idiots

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If you are reading this review its probably because either you totally disagree with the score I gave it or you completely agree with me :D. If you haven’t watched it, beware this review contains a lot of spoilers.

In the year 2077, Tech 49 Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last drone repairmen stationed on Earth. According to Jack, the planet was nearly destroyed sixty years earlier, during a war against a race of alien invaders known as Scavengers (“Scavs”). The Scavs destroyed the moon, causing massive earthquakes and tsunamis, and then launched their invasion. They were only defeated by the use of nuclear weapons, which left most of the planet irradiated and uninhabitable. The few surviving humans migrated to a colony on Titan, which is powered using energy harvested on Earth.

Okay let me make it clear right away I don’t dislike this movie because of the lack of action (I love slow 70s movies), it ain’t about Tom Cruise playing the lead role, and it ain’t about that it looks like a mix of Wal-E, The Matrix and Independence Day. The main reason why I dislike it is because I think the movie was very badly written and doesn’t take the audience serious.

Even if you haven’t watched the trailer (I watched it only once months ago) the story is just to predictable because from the start of the movie it’s so clear there is going to be a plot twist. Normally I love a good plot twist, but it seems the writers (or the director) where so obsessed by making a movie that has a plot twist in it they put in to much dumb, artificial moves.


The worst example is the part in the movie prior to the Scavs revealing themselves as humans they all wear alien looking helmets and crawl around the ground like animals. Once they reveal themselves to Jack as humans they inexplicably no long feel like it’s necessary to wear alien looking helmets, ever. Nor do they move around with animal-esque mannerisms. Having the humans wear alien helmets is given the explanation that the helmets are made of old stealth technology that helps hide them from the alien drones.

That would be believable except for the fact that they have no reason to ditch the helmets once it’s revealed that they are human. Did they suddenly no longer need to hide from the alien drones? No. The alien drones are still after them, but now it’s okay to stroll around without the helmets. So the movie pushes it into the viewer’s consciousness that the helmets (and animal like movements) were really just an attempt to fool you the viewer into thinking they were aliens.

Oblivion motor

Why ride when you can fly??

Okay so now Jack knows they are human..but the bad writing goes on, for example neither Julia or Freeman’s character tell Jack the truth about him or reveal at least significant pieces of the puzzle. Hell, Julia is Jack’s wife, wouldn’t she be hugging and kissing him when she sees him? Why is she not yelling “I’m your wife, why don’t you remember me?” … Same goes for Freeman, why doesn’t he just tell Jack who he really is? The truth is these are just 2 examples of many on how bad the script was written.

Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Sadly the characters are just as bland and generic as the story. Tom Cruise is basically playing the Generic Tom Cruise Action Hero here — a good, morally-upright guy who has some murky stuff in his past. Cruise gives a decent performance, but he’s definitely not stepping outside his action-hero box — and the character is so blandly nondescript he probably couldn’t even if he wanted to. Also none of the other characters have pasts, quirks, other relationships, or anything to really flesh them out — they’re as blandly uninteresting as the plot.

The Drones in action

The Drones in action

The best thing about the movie are the special effects, it looks like they really put some money into this… Still while it looks good, it’s also nothing really that fancy these days.

Don’t get me wrong I was not bored watching this movie but it did irritated me in a lot of ways. Oh and If you haven’t watched the movie yet, and you are planning to watch it, do your self a favor, don’t watch the trailer!!!

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General info

Original titleOblivion
Release date2013
Directed byJoseph Kosinski
Written byJoseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
Duration ( minutes )124
CountryUnited States
CastTom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough

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  1. Synfidie

    I like this add-on you are using for ratings! Just wanted to let you know! (plus I just filled out one of those reviews for you on this one and I’m not sure it actually went maybe addon failed? I failed? lol)

    Thanks for the review!

    Posted on 25/01/2014
    • Bakkie-Pleur

      Hey there, thanks 😀 It’s actually just part of the theme. But yeah it looks, and works great.. The only thing is I have to approve every review.. It catches a lot of spam, luckily for me those spammers always give a 5.0 rating, so i can easily filter them out. Thanks for your review!

      Posted on 25/01/2014

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