One Big Scene: Which 'Oblivion' Sequence Had Us Thinking Of 'Star Wars?'
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Where does the last man on the planet run to when there’s nowhere left on Earth to hide?
That’s one of the many questions asked (though not necessarily answered) by Joseph Koskinski’s Oblivion, a heady sci-fi actioner that casts eternally energetic Tom Cruise as one of the last survivors of a global conflict that decimated 98% of our planet and sent what was left of our population to the safety of one of Saturn’s moons.
Except Cruise’s heroic character, Jack, isn’t as alone as he thinks … and a hidden community suddenly needs his assistance.
The twists and turns in Kosinski’s screenplay will keep audiences invested in Oblivion, though it’s the director’s breathtaking cinematography – screened in glorious IMAX wherever possible – that will have sci-fi fans gasping for air and raving about the drama for weeks to come. One scene in particular sent a charge through our theater. More on that in a second. First, reviews:
What Critics are Saying:
“A moderately clever dystopian mindbender with a gratifying human pulse, despite some questionable narrative developments along the way.”
- Justin Chang, Variety
“A terrific-looking sci-fier that loses steam in the second half.”
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
“For those who enjoy the simple thrill of handsomely stylized image-making, ''Oblivion'' is mostly mesmerizing.”
Jake Coyle, Associated Press
And Oblivion is at its most mesmerizing during a thrilling chase scene that dares to borrow from such seminal sci-fi predecessors as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and Blade Runner. No pressure, Mr. Kosinski.
The scene finds Tom Cruise’s character, Jack, piloting his sleek bubbleship through deadly canyons as he tries to evade three drones – mechanical ships that are programmed to destroy targets using lethal force. Up until this scene, Kosinski has given the audience breathtaking scenes of the bubbleship cruiser coasting over gorgeous terrain as Jack surveys our burned-out planet in the years following a global conflict. Here, though, we finally get to see what the ship can do when it’s pushed to the limit.
Impressive flight choreography finds Jack dodging his potential captors in a scene reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter maneuvering the ruts of the Death Star at the end of the first Star Wars. The bubbleship absorbs jarring hits, and if you look closely, you’ll spot a clue that the Statue of Liberty was once located somewhere near where Jack’s now fighting for his life. Great Easter egg, Mr. Kosinski.
We don’t have a clip of the actual bubbleship chase, but Fandango does have an interesting featurette on the creation of the craft, emphasizing Kosinski’s desire to shoot everything in camera and to use authentic props and materials whenever possible. The bubbleship chase looks fantastic on the big screen, and even better on IMAX. Check it out starting this Friday!
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.
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