Saturday, April 13, 2013

oblivion: sometimes we just don't any new ideas to defeat invading aliens

I am a sucker when it comes to post-apocalyptic and alien invasion movies so naturally when I first saw the trailer for the new movie Oblivion, the nerdy-fanboy in me was going nuts. Throw in Morgan Freeman together and I cannot seem to find any other reason to watch it.


i mean who can say no to a movie featuring a badass Morgan Freeman in shades?


To give a quick synopsis, the movie tells the story of a person called Jack Harper, one of the few remaining humans left on earth after a devastating war with an invading alien force in which nukes were launched resulting in a mostly uninhabitable planet. jack is tasked with the mission of overseeing the collection of resources of earth and the repair of drones before humanity can finally leave earth and move on to a more suitable location to stay. However, a startling revelation one day threatens to put all that he believed in at stake and perhaps change the fate of humanity once and for all.

Sounds familiar? I bet it does. The idea of an alien invasion coupled with a messiah is not new, to be honest. The whole time when I was watching the movie, I can't help but feel as if the movie was a cross between Independence Day, I Am Legend and War of the Worlds, where the film builds on a sense of hopelessness at first, only to reveal in the later part of the film that it is possible to restore humanity in some sort of ingenious way like an exhaust port, natural antibody reaction or a single loophole that the aliens, despite all their plans, didn't foresee it coming.


Now while I enjoyed how the movie focuses on how Jack tries to deal with the aftermath of the war, I somehow find that the the movie moved rather slowingly at the start. Yes I understand that it is trying to establish the whole premise of the story, that Jack is a sentimental person trying to salvage whatever memory left of earth while dealing with his internal struggle and stuff amid his boring life as a technician, it kinda dulls the entire movie at first, like how we were subjected to watch how Will Smith deal with the lonely life in I Am Legend, only that his companion dog now is in the form of a woman named Victoria. 

Seriously, I don't see any difference. Both Victoria and Will Smith's dog got killed which lead to the main character having some sort of awakening and wanting to take revenge etc etc.


i somehow find this partnership...


no different than this


Adding on to that, for this movie to be categorized as a humans vs aliens film, I somehow find the number of action sequences to be a little too few. I mean sure, there was the epic plane vs droids, 3 heroes vs droids and the one on one sparring but that was all to it. I think it's a guy thing but I sort of expected more of the cool scenes involving strategy to take down the aliens but from what I see the plan was simple and easy. For the droids for example, despite all their high technology, a shot to their eye or maneuvering system is enough to bring them down. One frigging shot. Of course, you must be the hero to be able to pull that off or else your shot is just gonna bounce off their armor. Kinda unrealistic, if you ask me.

Not only that, I also find that there's quite a number of questions left unanswered by the plot, leaving you to wonder if they have just borrowed ideas from other movies, tweaked it a little bit and just insert them into the movie. I mean the whole point of the movie is to focus on Jack right, not the other minor characters like the rest of the humans or the aliens right?

I mean look at the alien. A giant triangle with a red eye? Seriously? And the whole, "They go planet by planet absorbing their resources" was nothing but a ripoff from Independence Day. And even independence day sounds more believable, because at least in that movie the aliens were portrayed like a pirate race which sucks off resources of other species but I don't really understand the point of a giant triangle wanting so much resource for what. I mean if you don't build so many clones, go to some uninhabited planet and all your problem is solved right? No need to waste so much energy to keep all the maintenance of drones and stuff right? And do you clone each and every species to take on their own species? Why not just clone one badass species and use it to do the job? And why drones in that shape in particular? And why just one ship? 

And seriously, how many Jacks are there? Will they all fall in love with Julia if they see her? Then that would be like 1000 guys to 1 right? Right?

Like I said, too many unanswered questions.

But of course, despite the slow moving pace, lack of action and some clearly missing plot details (I would have enjoyed it more if it was on a more global scale instead of just two Jacks, and whether there are other human survivors, speaking of which, why must always the last human survivors of an alien invasion be Americans?), there are still saving points of the movie. 


oblivion: proving once again that chances of surviving an alien invasion is always better when you're an american


Like I said, I am a sucker for post apocalyptic movies. I enjoyed the settings and environment of the movie, the shots of the ruins for example, it gives you a feeling of how life would actually be if we decided to go crazy and fire off some nuclear missiles here and there. How they pictured the pentagon and how Jack fixed the drone in the middle of the stadium, it's kinda awesome to see a solitary human interact with what's left of civilization. Like visiting an ancient ruin like that. Almost feels as if I'm playing Fallout 3 again.

Also, there's Morgan Freeman. Nuff said. The part where he lighted up the cigar? Totally kicked ass.


so much win in one picture


All in all, I find it to be a decent movie, a 50% perhaps, just that many of the central plot points in the movie feels unoriginal, if you had the misfortune of watching too many movies like me. Take the final scene for example, where a nuclear bomb is delivered to the central "command" of the aliens and how one detonation is enough to bring the whole alien race down. Independence Day did it, Battlefield Earth did it, Avengers did it and so many other movies did it. And this is where I find the most issue on.

I mean seriously, there's no other way scriptwriters can come up with ways of defeating aliens other than the overused Achilles heel strategy? The closest ever realistic humans vs aliens battle that I've ever saw was Battle Los Angeles, where they actually combated the alien forces on equal grounds but even that there was sort of like an Achilles heel, albeit in smaller manner but I still find that much more tolerable than a simple nuke-you-once-to-kill-all-of-you approach.

It could have been a great movie but somehow it just fell short for my liking. Tolerable but not groundbreaking. Next movie, Olympus Has Fallen! Also featuring Morgan Freeman.


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