The first “Oblivion” reviews are out.
The sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman has already premiered in 35 countries ahead of its U.S. release April 19.
Based on director Joseph Kosinski’s unfinished graphic novel, the film features Cruise as a former Marine, Jack Harper, in the year 2077 searching for resources on a barren Earth.
If the film looks familiar, its because Kosinski first brought us “Tron: Legacy” in 2010.
As the first reviews are trickling out, here’s what you should know before deciding to see it yourself.
You’ll be watching a real-life action version of Disney and Pixar’s “Wall-E.“
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy, Total Fillm’s Kevin Harley, and Variety’s Justin Chang compare “Oblivion” to the likes of the Oscar-winning animated feature.
“You’re watching WALL-E humanised, though the deadening dialogue could’ve benefited from WALL-E‘s wordless reserve.”
“In mood, a certain delicacy and the sense of isolation both on a depopulated Earth and somewhere above it, the recent film that this most strongly recalls is WALL-E, except with violence and without the humour and charm of the Pixar classic.”
“It all looks and sounds a bit like a live-action remake of “Wall-E,” right down to the way the protagonist, spurred by natural curiosity and an unexpected love interest, finds himself on a dangerous unauthorised mission.”
It’s long and anything but original. (The film clocks in at 126 minutes.)
“Oblivion is essentially Top Gun in space with a smattering of Total Recall, Minority Report and Moon thrown in for luck.”
“Oblivion goes on for a long time, moving slowly and self-consciously, and it looks like a very expensive movie project that has been written and rewritten many times over.”
“The plot could’ve benefited from some spark, too: taking ages to get moving, it leaves you homing in on the echoes of other movies. … The canyon dogfight echoes Star Wars; the explosive but hollow, muddled climax echoes Independence Day minus the goofy thrills.”
The star power of Cruise and Freeman is wasted.
“None of the cast – including a seriously underused Morgan Freeman — is well-served by a script that requires them not to act but recite dull, expositionary dialogue.”
Andrea Riseborough is one of the few gems of the film.
“[Riseborough] is an inspired bit of casting as she brings prim, snappy delivery to many routine lines and irrepressible emotion to her later behaviour.”
The set is gorgeous, so gorgeous it steals the film.
Though Kosinki delivers another mind-blowing futuristic landscape, Time Out’s Guy Lodge says in his “Oblivion” review that the director gets too caught up in his “sleek sci-fi playground of gleaming cloud palaces”:”Kosinski continues to lavish far more thought on how his elaborate fantasy worlds look than how they work, and neither the politics nor the human stakes here coalesce into rational or relatable drama.”
It’s something a lot of critics have picked up on regardless of a positive or negative review.
Olly Richards of Empire Magazine praised the art direction in his review, but also found it overwhelming of the cast.
“Kosinski has again built a fantasy world that feels real to its core, but once more put most effort into the scenery and too little into the people.”
If you can get past all that, it’s not half bad.
“A moderately clever dystopian mindbender with a gratifying human pulse, despite some questionable narrative developments along the way.”
“It’s never especially bad, but neither is it especially excellent, beyond the visual wow factor. But there’s still a lot to admire in the film, not least that it’s engaging from the first moment to the last.”
Overall consensus: Pass
Most “Oblivion” reviews boil down to the same thing: Kosinski delivers a story that can’t keep up with the visuals and, for the most part, the main cast’s mundane performances. Instead, you may want to wait for “Elysium,” another tale about the end of the world out later this year or just tune into “Wall-E.”
Check out the latest trailer below:
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