Along with Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, and After Earth, Oblivion is set to be one of the biggest sci-fi movies of the year. Joseph Kosinski’s follow-up to Tron: Legacy looks like a film full of amazingly vivid visuals and spectacular stunt work, but will the film deliver a compelling and engaging narrative? According to early international reactions to Oblivion, it doesn’t look like it.
While the film doesn’t open in the U.S. until next week, Oblivion opens one week early in international markets like the U.K., Australia, and France. The early reviews are already pouring in from overseas, and it looks like Oblivion has the same problems as Tron: Legacy: it’s all style with very little substance.
THR seemed to like the way the movie started, but as time went on, Oblivion proved it was an empty world. The sci-fi film couldn’t sustain the momentum from its explosive beginnings, and then started to go downhill. From Todd McCarthy’s review:
Oblivion is an absolutely gorgeous film dramatically caught between its aspirations for poetic romanticism and the demands of heavy sci-fi action. After a captivating beginning brimming with mystery and evident ambition, the air gradually seeps out of the balloon that keeps this thinly populated tale aloft, leaving the ultimate impression of a nice try that falls somewhat short of the mark.
But not all the early reviewers thought Oblivion was a completely empty film. IGN praised Oblivion for its action and visuals, but couldn’t help but feel it was wearing its influences on its sleeve. Chris Tilly writes:
What follows is an action-packed science-fiction flick with lofty philosophical ambitions. Unfortunately it’s also completely and utterly derivative, the story plundering the likes of 2001, The Matrix, Silent Running, Solaris, Planet of the Apes and Total Recall, with varying degrees of success. An immediate and obvious touchstone is also WALL-E…”
British film magazine Empire Magazine gave Oblivion three out of five stars, and says that the film is an improvement over Kosinski’s directorial debut, Tron: Legacy. Olly Richards says:
[Joseph Kosinski’s work on] Tron Legacy showed three things: 1) Kosinski was masterful at creating an entirely imagined world right down to the tiniest detail; 2) He liked big, Messianic plots and taking time to explore them; and 3) He was a lot better with scenery than people. With Oblivion… Kosinski reasserts those first two points and only moderately improves on the third.
Oblivion takes place in the distant future after a brutal war with invading aliens that forces humanity to leave the dying planet. The film follows Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), a working-class mechanic who fixes downed drones. But when he saves the life of a beautiful and mysterious woman named Julia (Olga Kurylenko), Jack’s life begins to unravel as the truth behind the war becomes revealed.
Ovlivion also features Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, and Zoë Bell. Oblivion will hit theaters in the U.S. on April 19th, in IMAX.