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Oblivion- Blu-ray Review

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Oblivion - Movie Review

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3 stars

Tom Cruise has been a busy boy of late: first Jack Reacher and now a big budget science fiction adaption from the unpublished graphic novel Oblivion. The writer of that graphic novel happens to be the writer/director of the film, who wowed a couple of years back with the long gestating follow up to Tron—Tron Legacy.

This film harkens back to the dystopian science fiction movies of the 70s—Logan’s Run springing to mind more than once—in both tone and production design.

Tom is playing another Jack, this time with the last name Harper. Harper is part of a two man team who repair and defend devices being used to repair the Earth after an alien invasion triggered nuclear apocalypse. The aliens were seemingly defeated, but pockets of their ranks continue to sabotage Harper’s efforts to complete his mission and depart the now scorched and wasted planet for the long promised moon Titan, where Earth’s population moved. But Harper and his partner have had their memory wiped, and only recall their days after the mission began, allegedly to prevent their enemy from capturing them and using any information against the human race. But when a ship crashes, and Harper finds a woman he has dreamed about inside, some pretty major questions start arising in his mind about what they’re actually doing, who the alien invaders really are, and what is the real purpose of his mission.

The reveals in this movie are far from revelatory, but are entertaining nonetheless. There are attempts to go a little deeper, thematically, than just rely solely on red herrings or plot twists, and they are, by and large, enjoyable and well written ones. The pacing of this film is a little inconsistent, and, while there is impressive craftsmanship in every stunning frame, one finds the mind wandering from time to time. It would have been far more interesting and engaging had the film kept more of its secrets, like who the real enemy is, til much later in the film. Instead, you pretty much have what’s needed, and what’s going to happen, halfway through. This makes it fairly predictable in the second half.

What it does have going for it in spades is the production design. Absolutely gorgeous looking movie, and the vistas—in which this reviewer believes they rely on far too heavily in languishing drawn out shots—are flawless in their detail and beauty.

The most affecting thing in the film for me, however, was the score by Anthony Gonzales and Joseph Trapanese. I actually heard parallels between this score and Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight Rises score, but Oblivion’s is more melancholic, romantic, and in my humble opinion, better.

Cruise is solid. If you are not a fan of his persona anymore, then this film may test you, as he’s in almost every scene. The supporting cast, including a great supporting turn from a major movie star, are all doing their thing to the best of their ability. Olga Kurylenko, who this reviewer lambasted in Quantum of Solace plays a little more emotion in her part in this film, and is an effective object of desire and all the intense emotions that go with that.

This is a good movie. That may seem rather bland a summation, but Oblivion is an enjoyable night out. It’s not a classic, nor will it blow a very spoiled modern audience away with its admittedly stellar effects, but it’s a film that delivers on the price of a ticket. If pre-Star Wars science fiction from the 70s interests you, I would be surprised if you didn’t like this. If you’re just out for a good story to take you away, Oblivion is worth a look.

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Oblivion - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity.
Runtime: 126 mins.
Director
: Joseph Kosinski
Writer
: Joseph Kisinski and  Karl Gajdusek
Cast: Tom Cruise; Morgan Freeman; Olga Kurylenko
Genre
: Sci-fi | Action
Tagline:
Earth is a memory worth fighting for.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Is it possible to miss a place you've never been? To mourn a time you never lived?"
Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
www.oblivionmovie.com
Release Date: April 19, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 6, 2013.

Synopsis: On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man’s confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind.

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Oblivion - Blu-ray

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 6, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Music: Dolby TrueHD 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live
Region Encoding: Region-free

Tom Cruise may no longer be a huge box office draw but that doesn’t mean Universal skimped on the technical aspects for this release.  Oblivion is a real gem in high definition and shows off its many influences with spectacular 1080p clarity.  Universal's Blu-ray transfer is a feast visually and sonically. The 2.40:1 picture is everything you expect of a pricey new science fiction movie, boasting strong colors, great detail, and a spotless element. The default 7.1 DTS-HD master audio sound is even better, amazing you with its active presence, tremendous clarity, and engulfing directionality.  If you missed it theatrically, now is your chance to see it as it was meant to be.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The audio commentary by Tom Cruise and director/story writer Joseph Kosinski is detailed and focuses more on the storytelling than the technical aspects of the movie.  It’s a good listen and Cruise helps Kosinski from tripping over his own special effects but it isn’t required listening.

Special Features:

High marks carry over to the substantial supply of bonus features on Oblivion’s first Blu-ray release.  Universal includes about four minutes of deleted scenes and while they add little to move the story forward they are interesting and feature an alternate opening.  Up next are five featurettes that combine to make almost a 50-minute documentary about the making of the film.  They cover the film’s adaptation, the design, the fighting, and M83’s score.  Speaking of the score, the work gets its own isolated track which closes the release.

  • Deleted Scenes (4 min)
  • Promise of a New World: The Making of Oblivion (48 min)
  • M83 Isolated Soundtrack

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