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March 20, 2023

Oblivion: Movie Review about the Oblivious

By Bernie and Sand Pilarski

Oblivion, Rated PG-13

Sand said:

When Bernie said he might want to see Oblivion when it came out (this was last year when we saw the first previews), I told him firmly, "No. Tom Cruise. No."

Yet when my beloved husband turned his wide and winsome blue eyes on me this week, I agreed to go with him to see the movie at its local opening. He affects me that way, makes me go all agreeable and optimistic in spite of my gut reactions and instincts.

The movie opens with Tom Cruise Monologue. Jack Harper, a tech who repairs drone security systems (refrigerator repairman Jack) goes out in his nifty little hovercraft day after day to fix damaged modules, to save the colony of Earthers who have flown off to Saturn's moon Titan to live after shithead aliens have destroyed most of the Earth, but were defeated by the Earthers in the end.

Okay. But Jack the Refrigerator Repairman keeps thinking that there has to be more to life than repairing drones, which leads him to build a secret aspect to his life, in a secret place, in secret times that even his partner Vika cannot figure out, she being a vacuous boob. A few refrigerators are repaired, and Jack has more monologue.

Then we have bits of inspiration from The Matrix, Total Recall, and even I, Robot. We watch a lot of Cruise mouth-breathing, and Things Blowing Up.

At the end there is a lot of Tom Cruise Monologue.

Maybe with a different leading man -- they could have chosen an actor -- and a different director (to leap over the dull and repetitive parts) and a continuity-detector to keep the audience from being embarrassed by goofy gaffes, a different writer could have made an Independence Day kind of cheesy "Hey, Americans Are Okay and They Can Save the World" movie.

Considering how little I respect Tom Cruise as an actor, I must say that this movie was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was not War of the Worlds bad ... in fact if you smuggled in a water bottle filled with vodka, you'd probably be thrilled by the CGI, and if you had two, you'd probably love it, and weep at the ending.

Unfortunately, I had a Coke and popcorn.

Bernie, I'm NOT going to another Tom Cruise movie.

Do Not Ask Me To Do This Again.

Please note: Bernie's review does contain spoilers. Big time.

Bernie said:

I know, I know, there's one born every minute. Yes, I was suckered into Oblivion by the previews. It was a big budget, effects-laden, sci-fi movie, the kind for which I know that I have a weakness. And usually I enjoy them, even if they are pretty bad. I sat through hundreds of bad movies at the Saturday matinees when I was a kid, and sometimes the worse the movie, the better the fun.

But I am an adult now, and I have responsibilities and relationships to which I am accountable, and a kid, a dog and a car, and a house that requires regular maintenance. I don't have a job, but that's not my fault, and since I've been off, I've honed my cooking skills, learned to lay floor tile, developed a prayer life, installed a dozen shelves about the house to better accommodate the stuff which I acquired while I was still employed, and in order to give back to the community, I have shouldered the task of providing the Piker Press with reviews of some of the latest motion pictures.

So you can see, can't you, that I was forced by circumstance to attend this movie? All the convoluted threads of my life, born of chance and choice, led me to the darkened movie theater at precisely the starting time of a Tom Cruise movie, of this Tom Cruise movie.

Just so it is clearly understood, let me say it aloud: I am the victim here.

So Tom is a Tech, a guy who fixes broken things that protect bigger things from things that break them. He does this as part of a team of two, the other person being a girl who thinks Tom is hot, but she never leaves the house they share together. Tom's memory has been erased, so he can't remember having gone to any acting lessons, but he seems to remember that there was a really, really skinny girl that he had the hots for, but he can't remember why.

Suddenly and very dramatically (you can tell it's important because the music gets really loud and important sounding), a spaceship carrying a quick-frozen crew falls out of the sky carrying the really skinny girl. Unfortunately, one of the things that Tom fixes blows up all the frozen crew containers except the skinny girl's, which Tom drags home to show to the girl who never leaves the house. As it turns out, the skinny girl has been frozen for a long time, and when she is thawed out, she barfs all over the carpet.

So then, Tom finds out that the things that break the things he fixes are in fact humans trying to protect the Earth from the things he fixes, that the skinny girl is his wife from the time before his acting lessons, meets his own clone who is identical except that the clone wears an neckerchief, and then in the most realistic scene in the whole movie, Tom, confronted with the reality of what he is really like, beats his clone unconscious. Then he impregnates his wife, volunteers for a one-way mission to blow up the big thing that he thought was the human race but as it turns out is just the thing that captured Tom on his way home from acting lessons and ran him through the copy machine. Tom blows up this thing and finally frees mankind. Tom's clone finds his wife and she adds him to her collection.

Actually, I made up that last part. The clone does show up, but there is no collection of Tom clones, although there certainly could be. The Tom clone that we first meet is Number 49. The other clone is Number 52. You do the math.

There are some topnotch special effects in this movie, even if at times gratuitous. (The skinny girl's barfing scene has her barfing straight toward the camera. In 3D, this must have been spectacular and well worth seeing.) This is from the director who gave us Tron: Legacy, so he knows his way around the technical aspects of this type of movie, but otherwise, this film is so flawed that it is just not worth spending the time to see it. The acting is flat, and even if there was someone there who could act, there was nothing for them to do because the characters were boring and shallow. There was actually very little story here. Most of the key plot elements (like Tom's character being captured and cloned by the alien invaders) are revealed in dialogue, not in actions. It was kind of like having gone to the movies to see a story about someone reading a book to you.

And it was a stupid story. I'm not above watching stupid movies. Heaven knows there are entire television networks that exist to show stupid movies. But if I'm going to go to the theater and pay cash money for a movie, it needs to provide something in return.

Sadly, Oblivion just simply fails to deliver -- bad direction, bad story, bad acting.

I must now begin a task that I was given by the Editor:

I will never ask Sand to go to another Tom Cruise movie. (500)
I will never ask Sand to go to another Tom Cruise movie. (499)
I will never ask Sand to go to another Tom Cruise movie. (498)
I will never ask Sand to go to another Tom Cruise movie. (497)
I will never ask Sand to...

Article © Bernie and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-04-22
2 Reader Comments
10:16:11 PM
shouldn't you be spending your unemployment to support your family instead of watching movies on the public dime?
07:30:33 PM
Dahling, we receive no money from the public dime, not a teensy bit. Thanks for asking!
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