Oblivion (2013) Review

Warning: This post will contain mild to—what some may consider—considerable spoilers for the movie, Oblivion.

This is a movie that really appealed to my inner sci-fi geek.  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Oblivion (2013) movie poster

Not to say it was a bad story.  On the contrary, it was more like a story that had a lot of potential, but it ended up falling short in a lot of areas.

On the one hand, the upside is the trailer doesn’t really reveal much, at least I didn’t think so anyway.  The sets used in this movie I also found to be quite visually appealing, which definitely helped in maintaining my interest.  In my opinion, a good sci-fi movie makes you wish at least some of the places you see on screen are real, and this movie did have a few sets that made me feel that way.

I thought the acting was fine here, and it was nice to see Morgan Freeman again.  I feel like I haven’t seen that actor around in a while.  Then again, maybe I just haven’t been paying attention.

The biggest drawback of this movie, I thought, was all the unfinished storylines.  I think the best way to summarize it is that I felt I had just sat through roughly two hours of surface-level and vague plot.  For example, there’s mentions of a war, but we never actually get to see the war.  We only hear about it in bits and pieces, and even those didn’t seem completely fleshed out.  There’s also the misleading costumes that the humans wear, that make it seem at first that they are aliens or something of that nature; I can’t remember if the reason why for them was ever explained, but regardless in the end it didn’t seem entirely necessary.

Another issue was with the Tet.  Upon leaving the theater I felt like I had so many unanswered questions about it.  Why did it have such a fascination with Earth?  What was with its fascination with Jack?  Was there a reason for keeping him alive while eliminating the rest of the human race?  And those are only just a few of the many questions I had about the Tet, which honestly I felt like was the main source of all the problems I had with this movie.

Talk about love conquering all though.  I think the romantic aspect of the story was the only part that actually saw the most development; however, I think even that could have been expanded upon some.  I did find it a little hilarious that the character Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) basically gets three chances at love with the same girl (Olga Kurylenko)—the original Jack, Tech 49 (clone), and Tech 52 (another clone).  I’m not sure how much I believe clones being able to have the same memories as the original man they were copied from, but I suppose since this is a sci-fi story, we can bend the “rules.”  The ending can be considered either happy or sad, depending on how you felt about the “original” Julia (Kurylenko) getting together with clone Jack.  If that confuses you, I suggest watching the movie and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.


This is one movie that I think I’d like to see a remake attempt done maybe 10-20 years down the road with an expanded storyline.  I just feel like there was so much more that could have been explored here that didn’t happen, and I also think it could have been worth looking into.  Then again, maybe that’s just me.

8 responses to “Oblivion (2013) Review

  1. Nice review! It’s mostly impressive on the visual level though. Interesting that you said ‘the romantic aspect of the story was the only part that actually saw the most development…’ I thought it was ok but not as involving as it could’ve been. At the same time, I was a bit more impressed w/ Olga here than I was in her role in Quantum of Solace and Cruise still has movie star power after all these years!

    • Well, I meant compared to the rest of the movie, it’s the only part that I thought saw the most development. Everything else was, as Neil highlighted from my post, stories that were just left hanging.

      I did also like Olga here, and wish there was more of her. And yes, I think Cruise is one of those actors that usually tends to pull through. He’s one of those actors where despite the criticisms surrounding his personal life choices, I can’t really knock on his acting.

  2. “The biggest drawback of this movie, I thought, was all the unfinished storylines.” For me, that would be an instant dealbreaker for movies.

  3. Good review. I believe the goal of the Tet was to steal all the Earth’s resources, and Jack (in his many forms) was there to protect it from the few remaining humans. Of course, that raises the question of what an entity like the Tet would use those resources for, but I honesty have no idea. So your point about not exploring the goals is definitely valid.

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