The past couple of months have been good for sci-fi movie goers. I actually managed to get away for Iron Man III (sort of sci-fi), Star Trek into Darkness and Oblivion. Here is why I like Oblivion better than the other two.
It felt like a science fiction movie. It was a science fiction movie. I like science fiction movies.
I suppose I should elaborate. Oblivion put considerable time and energy into the atmosphere and the ethos and the cinema-graphic beauty of the film. I’m not placing it on a level with Blade Runner, but that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about.
I’m not familiar with the comics or graphic novels Oblivion is based off of, but now I’m curious to check them out. I did notice the same guy was able to do both the source material and the movie (quite an accomplishment). And I can’t help but wonder if that is part of the reason the movie seems to breathe in its own waters so perfectly.
I thought Iron Man III was enjoyable, but it felt like a merchandizing effort. During the final scene I kept thinking I should be stroking a Mattel product of some sort.
Into Darkness I found really enjoyable. I love Star Trek in general, and this film definitely felt like Star Trek. But that was its limitation as well. The movie was more of a Star Trek love fest than an actual science fiction film. The outcomes were limited and the universe (sort of) defined. I did enjoy the punch drunk pacing of the final third of the movie. (The sort of thing that never really lets the viewer regain their balance or composure.)
But Oblivion had endless horizons to fly into for me, and it did so. The tech was spot on. The settings/scenery were brilliant. (The floating pool above the clouds? How awesome was that?) No matter how messed up or dystopian, an important aspect of science fiction (for me) is the longing to experience worlds beyond my own.
Tom Cruise’s character accomplished that for me. I wanted to experience what he longed to experience. I dreamed of going where he went. The threats were real, but the payoff worth it. Oblivion was a feast for my imagination both visually and intellectually. It is the sort of science fiction movie that has become quite rare, and I’m grateful for every one that comes along.