Oblivion Screen 8 articles

Oblivion

2013

Oblivion Poster
  • ...Oblivion is rather crudely assembled, an ad-hoc B movie composed of borrowed plot points and shopworn sci-fi clichés. Rarely has a veneer of consummate craftsmanship so conspicuously endeavored to compensate for the flimsiness of a film's conception, slathering every frame in so much high-gloss texture that it makes the work of Tarsem Singh seem like that of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

  • Oblivion is interested in neither homage nor the postmodern condition. It’s a flaccid pastiche — and more insultingly, one that assumes its audience doesn’t know Jack.

  • All genre fictions build, self-consciously or not, on their progenitors. The problem with “Oblivion,” which is based on an unpublished graphic novel Mr. Kosinski wrote and used to pitch the studio, is that it’s been stitched together from bits and pieces that evoke numerous other, far better far-out tales and ideas, conceits and characters from the likes of Philip K. Dick, the Wachowskis, J. G. Ballard and Duncan Jones, specifically his elegant, elegiac movie, “Moon.”

  • The later twists are actually quite smart, but - as in Tron: Legacy - Kosinski has no talent for fun, replacing it with coldly impressive visual sweep and desirable design details like a glass swimming pool (Tom's space-tower looks like Peter Fonda's pad in The Limey). Stylized and wannabe poignant, the kind of film where a single tear contains all the sadness in the world - but wanting that doesn't make it so.

  • Like director Joseph Kosinski's debut, "TRON: Legacy" (2010), "Oblivion" is a special effects extravaganza with a lot of blatant symbolism and very little meaning. It starts slow, turns dull and then becomes tedious — which makes it a marginal improvement over the earlier film. It features shiny surfaces, clicky machinery and no recognizable human behavior. It's equally ambitious and gormless.

  • If instantly recognizable visuals and spatial intelligence were all it took to make an auteur, Kosinski might already be Fincher... Unfortunately, this is a dumb movie that can only get so far on visual steam.

  • Suffice to say that Oblivion’s story is a skeletal patchwork of sci-fi cinema touchstones (a little Matrix here, a little Planet of the Apes there) onto which Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski and ace cinematographer Claudio Miranda graft some truly stunning sights: The IMAX-sized landscape shots of the ruined third rock from the sun—skyscrapers jutting out from tectonically shifted sand dunes—look like they could have popped off a vintage space-opera paperback.

  • I’m sure some people will see “Oblivion” as another Philip K. Dick rehash — to be clear, it’s not based on any of his material — but to my mind Kosinski and co-writers Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt have synthesized all these influences [Blade Runner, Total Recall, Solaris, et al.] into a witty and elegant post-apocalyptic parable that’s well suited to our age of asymmetrical warfare and even asymmetrical reality.

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