The film’s visuals, shot by Life of Pi cinematographer (and Oscar winner) Claudio Miranda, are more than competent, but there’s nothing original in Oblivion’s look or themes. Jack’s identity crisis is predictable, as is his romance with both Victoria and Julia.

The stakes of the story aren’t laid out early enough, and we’re given no reason to care about the characters before they find themselves in jeopardy. Rather than being carried along by narrative momentum, Oblivion plays like a mood piece during its first half. That approach worked for Duncan Jones’ fascinating, low-key Moon, but Oblivion (which feels like a megabudget distillation of similar themes in Moon) takes too long to reveal what’s at stake for Jack and for humanity. Viewers who stick with the film won’t be surprised by anything it reveals, although they may wonder why it takes so long getting to those revelations.

The sluggish pace puts the spotlight on non-story elements. For instance, the synth-driven soundtrack overwhelms the movie at points, and the inclusion of a few Classic Rock tracks does little to give the film the down-to-earth dimension it needs for Jack’s character.

Oblivion might not be painful to sit through, but for all its futuristic talk and imagery, the film is ponderous and mundane. You won’t hate it. You certainly won’t love it. Most likely, you’ll simply forget it. And that’s a "memory wipe" you won’t mind.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; several uses of foul language; the f-word; "what the hell;" "pi--ed off"
  • Sex/Nudity: Woman shown in shower from behind, and we see her upper back; a man’s upper body in a shower; woman undresses in shadow, then jumps into a pool; a man joins her, and they kiss and are seen entwined in a long shot, then kissing again in close-up; woman’s breasts are seen
  • Violence/Crime: A man falls from a great height; a woman coughs up fluid from her lungs; a man is knocked out by a scav; a man is shot in the chest but is stunned, not wounded; a gun is pointed at a character’s head
  • Religion/Morals/Marriage: A book refers to "the temple of his gods;" discussion of how to "die well;" a woman says she created Jack and is his "god"

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com

Publication date: April 19, 2013

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