Picoreview: Oblivion: It was okay. It suffered from a weird antisepticness that I thought at first was deliberate, but as the film went on, I became less convinced of that. Some of the imagery was beautiful, but eh, I wasn’t as taken in by it as I hoped I would be.
More behind the cut, with a couple of spoilers set in spoiler-white text.
Regarding the weird antisepticness,
There were a number of things in the film I thought were pretty obvious from the get-go, although in their favor, one got turned on its head to a sufficient degree as to surprise me (actual spoiler text; highlight to read): I expected it to turn out that there were no aliens at all, and that the whole setup was done by the exceedingly wealthy and powerful who wanted the whole planet to themselves. I was wrong. I probably would have written it that way (hence my surprise when they didn’t). I’m not sure which of us would be right. :)
I did spend the first 2/3rds of the film or so wondering when it was going to become a redemption story, because that’s Tom Cruise’s Thing. And then it did, and I was like, “Ah, okay, there we go,” although–again in their favor–I totally didn’t see the how/why coming.
I also spent the entire movie very aware that although he is a damned fine fifty, Tom Cruise is, y’know, fifty, and his two costars were both thirty (which is, I realize, also Tom Cruise’s Thing, but nevermind that). For one, there is a (more or less) reasonable and acceptable explanation for this. For the other, there is simply not, and it bugged me. I mean, bugged me to the point that I kept staring at Cruise and trying to decide if they were really trying to make him look a lot younger than he’s actually is…which, given one of the late reveals of the film, is actually really inappropriate.
The following is a genuine spoiler, and only explains why I think the ages are problematic, rather than necessarily being really important to this picoreview. :) It turns out Cruise was a spaceship commander, which is not a young man’s job, particularly. Not a 30 year old’s, certainly, but I do think they were making some effort to make him look younger in those scenes. Which, okay, actually I’m fine with that in the context of the story, if they’re all supposed to be 30ish (and it seems they are). The *problem* is that for the bulk of the movie, he appears to be older than that. There are valid story reasons for this. Unfortunately, Andrea Riseborough, who is his co-commander in the spaceship scenes, has the same valid reasons to look older, and she does not. And it bugged me. A lot. One or the other of them was miscast in the role, and since it’s Tom Cruise’s production company and therefore his ball to play with, I’m inclined to feel it was Riseborough. Which is actually too bad, because she was really quite good in the role, just a decade or so too young.
There were some other things, too: science fiction vs science fact kinds of stuff, none of which I have enough information for an actual basis of objection to, but which kinda bugged me. And in the end, it wasn’t a *bad* movie. I just…really hoped it was going to be a *good* one, I guess, and it wasn’t.