Oblivion is a love letter to Science Fiction–

A man, wearing a white jacket with a gun on his back, walks through a destroyed bridge. The tagline "Earth is a memory worth fighting for" appears on the top while Tom Cruise's name, the title of the film, the rating and the rest of the credits appears on the bottom.

Oblivion is a beautifully filmed homage to all things Science Fiction–and though it may not be 100% original, it does create a fresh spin on old themes and therefore shines and takes you on a journey worth taking–especially on the big screen.  It helps that Tom Cruise was made for roles like this–he is strong and engaging–and again, I can not deny Mr. Cruise’s star quality.

Most of the credit though, has to go to co-writer/director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy)–who created the Graphic Novel on which it is based.  Kosinski is an obvious lover of Sci-Fi and has been influenced and inspired by many sources, yet I can not help but like the universe he created.  The actions sequences were interesting and very polished, if not especially memorable.  Again, it may not go down as a ground-breaking classic–but it will join the ranks as a fine, entertaining addition to the genre.

In a short time he was able to capture the essence of the world and then slowly he revealed the bigger picture, which had plenty of nice, unique touches.  I guessed most of the “twists” but it by no means lessened my enjoyment.  But, in true sci-fi fashion, Kosinski brought up some compelling themes–what equates humanity?  And do we have a soul and/or spirit that remains with us?  How easily are humans controlled?  Etc.  Nicely done.

Some kudos for the beautiful landscape must be expressed–cinematographer Claudio Miranda just took home an Oscar for Life of Pi and it was no fluke–he has an incredible eye and some of the shots are gorgeous!  The modern, cool house in the sky was particularly well conceived–I can live there.  😉 Filmed in Iceland, the barren and isolated feeling worked well with the narrative and added to the story itself.

You also can not go wrong when you’ve chosen a strong supporting cast.  Morgan Freeman is always awesome.  I was impressed by Andrea Riseborough as Victoria and will keep an eye on her future.  Olga Kurylenko as Julia is a bit flat–but I think she is like that all time–and it’s a shame because it could have elevated the film.  Nice to see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau not being a cocky Lannister :D, but his and Melissa Leo‘s roles were small, yet solid.

Bottom line?  Not a bad way to spend a time at the movies.  Despite its obvious influences, I felt it was still a well crafted film–beautiful in scope–and entertaining throughout.  Trust me, I’ve seen worse.

Oblivion Official Trailer #1 Tom Cruise Sci-Fi Movie HD – YouTube

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I enjoyed Jack Reacher. A lot.

The poster shows a man, injured and holding a gun, standing in front of a car. Text at the bottom reveals the tagline and in bottom reveals the film's main actor and title, credits, rating and release date.

Tom Cruise is indeed Jack Reacher and I have to admit that he is pretty cool.  Yes, it may be a bit predictable and it does not reinvent the genre–but, it does deliver big time in the fun factor and the entertainment value!  I appreciated the realistic approach to the action and can not deny Cruise his star quality–he sells it and you end up buying it.   🙂

First of all, let me say that I have not read any of Lee Child‘s novels, so I did not go in with an image of the character that many of his fans did.  What I understand is that JR is a huge, beast of a man–“Reacher is 6’5″ tall (1.96 m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 220 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair.”  And obviously, Cruise does NOT fit that description.

In his defense, I think he carried the attitude and displayed the ability to be that character without the size and ice-blue eyes.  He is BIG in spirit.  Plus, let us not forget that size does not equal prowess–Bruce Lee, anyone?  So, bottom line is that I bought it.  It was filmed in a believable fashion and unless you are set on Reacher’s physical appearance, it should not be an issue.

 

Credit must also be given to writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who has been impressive with his screenplays–(The Usual Suspects quite possibly being his masterpiece)–and after this, is now in talks to direct Cruise in the next Mission Impossible film.  Well, he makes smart choices here.  By taking his time with the action he allows it to become tense and palpable.  McQuarrie also plays it smart with the narrative.  Yes, you’re able to pick up the hints and clues–but that in itself is part of the fun.  He allows Reacher to be impressive and yet also reminds you to wink and smile too.

Add a strong supporting cast–the lovely Rosamund Pike, the ever-awesome Richard Jenkins, the interesting David Oyelowo, and the creepy Werner Herzog— and a wonderful cameo (that I don’t want to spoil) and you end up enjoying your time in Jack Reacher’s company.

So much so, that I am actually wishing for a sequel–crazy–right?!  😀   Indeed.

Jack Reacher Trailer

Brad Bird solidifies his awesomeness with MI:Ghost Protocol!!

 

Why focus on Brad Bird? Well, because it’s his vision that makes Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol one of the best executed action films in a long time.  This does not surprise me.  Bird is a visionary director–his films (all animated) are some of my all time favorites!  And with Ghost Protocol he makes a smooth transition to live action and–to me–has made the best film in the MI franchise.  It is an exciting, taunt thrill ride that will leave you breathless by the end. 

The action is the star here, but the genius is that every action sequence propels the narrative.  Bird is able to keep it tight and the pace brisk.  There is nothing superfluous–every frame has purpose.  And yet, there is heart and vulnerability–you care about these characters–the action serves to highlight not to overwhelm.  Brilliant!!  (side note: now I am anxious and hope that Andrew Stanton (another fav animator) will do as brilliantly with John Carter–fingers crossed)

The cast is pitch perfect.  And I love that Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt is not center stage!  (Although Tom is in full action star mode– it works better because he is significantly toned down–believable.)  Simon Pegg is always delightful and adds the perfect dose of comic relief.  Jeremy Renner continues to make me crush on him! WOW!  And last, but not least is Paula Patton who is fantastic!  This, truly is a TEAM and they work together to make this succeed. 

So, obviously I loved it!  If you can watch it on the IMAX format–treat yourself–it is incredible!  The tower sequence alone will take your breath away and have you feeling that vertigo! (The audience applauded after–yeah, it was that good!)

The Holiday season is off to a good start!  Let’s see how the others fare…

PS  Wanted to add this great bit…