Movie Review

Oblivion

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults and Older Teens
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Drama Adaptation IMAX
Length:
2 hr. 6 min.
Year of Release:
2013
USA Release:
April 19, 2013 (wide—3,800+ theaters)
DVD: August 6, 2013
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Alien invasion (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer

questions and answers about the origin of life


finding the truth

discovering hope for our future

Featuring: Tom CruiseJack
Morgan FreemanBeech
Olga KurylenkoJulia
Andrea Riseborough … Victoria
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau … Sykes
Melissa LeoSally
Zoe BellKara
more »
Director: Joseph Kosinski—“TRON: Legacy”
Producer: Universal Pictures
Chernin Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Earth is a memory worth fighting for”

Earth in the future is a war ravaged, desolate wasteland strewn with the carcasses of landmarks that trigger Jack Harper’s (Tom Cruise) memories of an Earth before the war. Sixty years ago, the humans beat the invading aliens, but then had to leave Earth and relocate to Saturn’s moon Titan, and so now it’s up to technicians like Jack and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) to maintain the droids that protect the gathering of Earth’s last resources to ensure humanity’s survival.

The remaining aliens, or “Scavs” as they are called, hide in the shadows and attack Earth’s gigantic oceanic conversion factories whenever a sentry droid fails. When Jack goes to repair an errant droid, he falls into one of the Scav lairs, and what he finds there begins to unravel everything he knows. When an older NASA space shuttle crashes nearby, he ends up rescuing one of its crew Julia (Olga Kurylenko), a woman he’s sure he knows from somewhere before the war, and Jack Harper aka “Tech 49” finds something new to believe in during what may be Earth’s final days.

Objectionable Content

Sex/Nudity:. Moderate. Jack and Victoria live together and are seen showering (mostly back and partly side), sleep together, and, in one scene, she disrobes before entering and swimming in the pool, showing her backside in at first a prolonged view and then from a distance in the pool before she is joined by the amorous Jack. Side views of multiple nude humans held in stasis are also seen, though not overly graphic. The casual nature in which Jack and Victoria are seen living together, along with the aforementioned scenes, are not appropriate for younger teens.

Language. Moderate. By my count, there were 3 SOBs, 4 sh***, 3 God-d***s, plus an outright instance of blasphemy when one says, “I am your god,” and one instance of the f-word, which the MPAA has unwisely deemed an “acceptable” count before earning an “R” rating, which this movie would have received in another time.

Violence. Moderate. People are shot, disintegrated and die in explosions. Jack is chained during an interrogation, and Julia is operated on (not seen) and screams, but heard from a distance. The destruction of Earth during the war is not shown, but the sad aftermath is everywhere, as iconic images of the remains of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State building, the Pentagon, etc. are seen.

Lessons

Jack finds a book on ancient Rome with a poem entitled “Horatius” and reads, “… And how can a man die better than facing fearful odds?”, perhaps foreshadowing the choices he may soon have to make. Jack’s sacrificial nature does set him apart, and this is brought out when Beech (Morgan Freeman) remarks to Jack that he almost got killed saving Julia and asks why he did it. Jack just replies that “anyone would have,” but Beech clearly remains unconvinced.

The Word of God reminds us throughout that both “this life,” let alone the safety of our very lives, is not the prize we should seek.

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Jack comes to learn that he has inadvertently been both a part of the death of the Earth, as well as, perhaps, its salvation. In this sense, he can be considered both as a type of Adam, as well as Jesus, though the film makes no claims to either.

“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam we all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Mission control has arranged for Jack and Victoria to work together, and one gets the sense that they even encourage their intimate relationship as the Mission Commander does ask them on more than one occasion, “Are you an effective pair?” The truth is that Jack does not come into his full potential until he realizes he is in a true married relationship. God has painted the perfect picture of marriage, in the macro sense, with His chosen people the Israelites, and, in the smaller sense, within the covenant between husband, wife and God. Just as Jesus sacrificed his life for the church, husbands, and in this case Jack, are expected to be willing to do likewise.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25)

“Oblivion” has numerous references to sci-fi pictures of the past, as well as 70’s cultural nods, the orbiting space station named “Tet” for one, but, in the end, this is a good old fashioned science fiction movie. Not to be confused with most contemporary films from this genre that amount to nothing more than action movies with a sci-fi back drop, “Oblivion” stands apart as a well crafted film that does not insult the audience with excessive explanations, but rather challenges the audience to figure things out for themselves.

Couple that with a story that unveils the mystery, one piece at a time, and you have a compelling movie I recommend adults see and use as a launching point for discussions with their older teens.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—“Oblivion” is a movie with sci-fi background set in a future earth, and I said sci-fi background because you can’t put this film in any particular genre. It’s science fiction, adventure, action, fantasy, thriller, but more than that it’s a human drama, a tale of humanity and love.

If you’ve not seen the film, I can guess what you are expecting, just another big budget sci-fi extravaganza. Well, it’s not that simple, you can elevate this movie into any genre, even as a “romantic film” of the year. This movie indeed far surpassed my expectations.

After the devastation of the earth, humankind lives above the clouds in stations, while on earth the ruthless alien savages known as Scavengers roam free. Marine Commander Jack Harper who is haunted by the fragment of a déjà vu dream, which survived a mandatory wipe out, repair drones, lives in one of sky stations, with his partner Victoria are an “effective team.” Jack constantly questions his monotonous life and is prone to retrospection.

Once he salvages a few survivors from a crash landed ship, but before he could do anything the drones destroy them immediately, except one lone survivor, Julia Rusakova (Olga Kurylenko). Jack Harper had to risk his life to save her from the drones, much to the dismay of Victoria at the station.

That was the starting point of an odyssey to find truth about everything about him and around him with Julia as the guide. I have to stop giving you any further details of the plot as it can be a spoiler, you have to see the film with lesser plot details for its great many surprising twists and turns.

According to Joseph Kosinski, the director (“Tron Legacy” fame) said it’s a “homage to science fiction films” and it’s true, not only in the seventies “Star Wars” and “The Black Hole,” but other films and series like “Terminator,” “Matrix,” also “Star Trek,” “Firefly” series, etc. as well.

It’s an amazing film in every perspective, spectacular scenes, great plot, instant twists and turns, “Oblivion” is an experience. Even if you are not a sci-fi fan, this is a film for you because, again let me stress, sticking any genre in this film won’t do justice to this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Cyril Thomas, age 32 (United Kingdom)
Positive—The special effects and the exciting plot had left me breathless and and on the edge of my seat, right up to the end of the film. The plot was quite complex, but very imaginative. I had to ask my friend at the end of the movie about certain aspects of the film. It is worth seeing at the IMAX to get the most out of it.

My only disappointment was the use of the F-word, Tom Cruise uses it once, right at the end. However, apart from that, the language was fine. I thought the nude scenes were a bit borderline and wouldn’t take my 12 year old son to see it. All in all, a very enjoyable film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gareth, age 42 (United Kingdom)
Neutral
Neutral—While this is a good movie as far as acting and cinematography, I wish I had waited for the DVD. Cheaper and less intrusive on my daily life. I tend to save trips to the movie theater for better films, this isn’t one of them. Good news, I got to spend some time with my wife! That was better than the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Larry, age 50 (USA)
Neutral—“Oblivion” is the second outing for the director, Joseph Kosinski, after he directed “Tron: Legacy” a couple of years ago. Now that we have two of his movies to judge it is clear he has a fairly consistent problem. His movies are beautiful looking, but muddled.

The strengths of “Oblivion” are numerous. It is visually stunning, it presents interesting ideas within a science fiction framework, and, on paper, it probably seemed to have a good story arc. When it made it to film, however, logic problems and nonsensical jumps in the story ultimately caused a major distraction in its flow. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Bob, age 53 (USA)
Positive—I saw the movie yesterday, and I can say that the author’s comments are accurate, so I will not repeat what was already said. This movie starts without giving away a lot;, we see the 2 main characters in the beginning; a 3rd from flashback and a 4th from comm link, the others will be revealed along the way. I would say this movie has been well thought of from slowly building the storyline to connecting the dots and painting a picture of what’s going on midway. But little will be revealed up to 80% of the movie, and this is where the climax starts to unravel.

From a Biblical perspective, there’s a lot to learn about this film which includes faithfulness to your life partner. It also shows self-sacrifice for the benefit of the other person. The language is at par with today’s Hollywood standards, I would say a little tame. There’s a lot of surprises in this film, which I will not spoil. It shows that the makers were very attentive to the detail and did not want to make just another science fiction film. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Tades J., age 45 (USA)
Positive—This was much better then the previews made it look; …I thought they looked cheesy. It was actually very good, intense acting and filming, suspenseful storyline, even though I was kind of confused at that end of what was going on. However, the action carried the movie, and the scenery was awesome. It was interesting to think about the earth being destroyed, because when Jesus comes back for us, who knows what will happen to the earth. And it could happen any day, so it can be a good movie to talk to people about life after death.

And with technology and advancement of science, people are moving farther away from God, He tells us the separation between the righteous and the wicked will become even bigger. Evil people will probably try to do the things they did in this movie, if Jesus doesn’t come back before science advances to this level. I thought the movie was very thought provoking and totally worth seeing in the theater. I don’t agree with having to wait till it comes out on DVD. Close your eyes when she gets in the pool though because there is some nudity there but that is the only part.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha Taylor, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I really liked this film for these reasons. The cinematography was awesome. Special effects, scenery, camera angles, etc. Great job. This was one of those films you have to pay attention to details and hear everything, as the smallest of details intertwine in time forward and back, all coming together in the end.

I went to this movie twice, as I still had questions, after only seeing it once. They did a great job writing in all of the fore shadowing, etc. The acting was great. And it keeps you guessing right up until the very end. I think this is a great movie.

This film is not for young kids. Part of the plot deals with the relationship of the intimacy between husband and wife. There is a scene where the wife undresses and dips into the pool to show her husband a good time after a hard day at work strongly suggesting sex. Her nude silhouette is displayed swimming. On another scene the husband and wife wake up in bed together.

There are scenes of violent fighting and people being graphically blown up, shot etc. There is cursing in the movie, but it is somewhat mild, up until close to the end, where the main actor replies “FU” to someone.

I love well made movies. This is one of them. If you can get past the few objective issues you will love it to.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Idrum4theking, age 46
Positive—It is NOT PG-13.
• F*** U** at the end, close up, and right in your face (felt like it was said to me).
• Naked woman’s back, with contours of more then her “lower back” clearly seen for 13 seconds.
• On the positive note, in addition to what most people said before: it is the first movie where aftermath of the global-flood-kinda-thing is shown; cities are buried under hundreds of feet of sediment.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Vladislav, age 36 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I still don’t know what was going on in this movie. ***SPOILER*** They had me until the middle when the ship crashed and Jack went to the crash scene. That’s when I got lost. Were the people from the past? Were they in stasis for 70 years? ***END SPOILER*** This movie just lost me. It would have been better on DVD. I disagree with cloning, so that was very objectionable to me. The only thing I liked were the visuals. Wait to see this one on DVD, because you may be just as confused as I was about how this plot came about.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Chaka, age 39 (USA)
Negative—First, as a Sci-Fi fan, I would like to say “Oblivion” is an extremely well-made movie, with writing in the vein of Arthur C. Clark and Asimov. Visually, it has to be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Not surprisingly, “Tron: Legacy” was done by the same director, as can be discerned by the soundtrack and iPod-fresh style of the film.

“Oblivion” can seem dry, and even sometimes sterile, but that mainly comes from its roots in the futurist novels and films it draws inspiration from. ***CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS*** My concern has actually more to do with the review, than the movie itself. When writing a review for a Christian worldview website, it is important that the writer cover’s all the objectionable content in a movie, especially that which attacks the heart of our Christian faith. Yes, Oblivion has strong language (including blasphemy), violence, and sensuality. However, there are also theological ideas in this film that can be quite toxic to the unassuming Christian. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—James, age 26 (Canada)
Negative—I was very disappointed in this movie. It was very violent, and they had a pool scene where you see the entire back of the lady with no clothes. This scene did nothing for the movie and was pointless. The story line was really bad. I would highly recommend not seeing this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Rob, age 28 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—To summarize my reaction in a sentence, I was floored. This movie was beyond phenomenal. The acting was great, the dialog was believable, the story was interesting, but so what? Such movies are produced a dime a dozen. All you need for these characteristics is a Hollywood budget. What separates the wheat from the chaff, as it were, was the depth of this movie’s characterization, its depiction of the human experience; it cast the classic “Nature vs. Nurture” debate in a truly unique light.

I won’t say more for fear of spoiling the movie, but suffice it to say that this movie was truly philosophical, far beyond what I expected upon entering the theater on a Saturday night. Despite all of these redeeming characteristics, this movie is not for young children. There is no shortage of violence. People are blown apart by machines, and there is little blood or gore, but you cannot ignore the fact that people are being dismembered. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Hayden, age 17 (USA)
Neutral—The cinematography was great! That was it. The movie started out too slowly, and it took about 20-30 minutes for anything to actually happen. After that, it felt like a rush, and the moviemakers were trying to fit in as much as they could. It was confusing at times.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Darth Vader, age 14 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—People in Scientology always use pro-Scientology and anti-something else psyops. The goal of psyops (secret psychological operations) is to get people to behave in certain ways without thinking or challenging those ways.

Take the movie “Swordfish” with John Travolta—a fish is a symbol of Christianity and “sword” is a symbol of the Word of God, or a weapon. Does the movie “Swordfish” make swordfishes—Christians—subtly look good or bad? And how does the Scientologist related movie “Born on the 4th of July” make the U.S. military look? more »
—Matt, age 49 (USA)

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