Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
Adults and Older Teens
Sci-Fi Action Adventure Drama Adaptation IMAX
2 hr. 6 min.
Year of Release:
April 19, 2013 (wide—3,800+ theaters)
DVD: August 6, 2013
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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