Friday, May 31, 2013

The drones watch everything.

Once upon a time, there was a sci-fi movie starring one of Hollywood's biggest stars. Even though the preview looked interesting, people seemed to be grumbling that the actor was past his prime. Apparently, he was no longer capable of opening a movie that wasn't a sequel of one of his long-running franchises. While I enjoyed the film enough, it didn't really make any lasting impact. But being the simpleton that I so obviously am, I was just happy to spend more time with a childhood hero. Here's the plot summary of that film, courtesy of imdb.

Futuristic action about a man who meets a clone of himself and stumbles into a grand conspiracy about clones taking over the world.

Oblivion is a much better film than the flick I referenced above, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to call it anything other than okay. I caught this theatrically at the last showing in my town (on May 15th) and unceremoniously fell asleep. I was the only one in the theater and despite fighting the good fight, I dozed in an out for probably the last hour (making the last forty minutes utterly incomprehensible). I left the theater pretty much clueless. Well, extra clueless.

To remedy my early onset of narcolepsy, and maintain the integrity (sequential and otherwise) of this ridiculous blog, I did something I never, ever thought I'd do: I turned to the Bay. Well, I didn't. But I know a guy...At least I paid for round 1.

Confession complete, let's get to it. Tom Cruise plays Jack (again), a well-meaning guy sent to what's left of Earth to maintain drones. See, our planet has been vacated after an alien force destroyed the moon, and consequently the Earth. The natural resources are being extracted by these massive machines and the drones make sure nothing impedes this. So far, everything's pretty cool.

Although the poster might lead you to believe that Jack is alone on Earth, thank the sweet Lord he isn't. Apparently, it's company policy that all drone repairmen also get stationed with an uber-hot British woman, who is forced to wear tight clothes and swim in the nude. Sign me up. Victoria, turns out, is more than just eye-candy. Her job is to corral Jack's curiosity, increasing the odds that the mission will be effective. An effective team, they are. Well, were.

Jack discovers that there's something out there and their relatively simple and peaceful world is knocked on its ass. Like many sci-fi flicks, the big reveal is crucial, and unfortunately Oblivion's lacks any major impact. While anyone familiar with the much more depressing Moon might feel like strange things are afoot at the Circle K, some bits might remind you of The Matrix, too. Again, it's not bad. I had just hoped it would've been better.

Also hoping to be better, are the Yays and Boos. These two can count on one hand the number of times they've fallen asleep in the theater. Though, to be fair, they don't have hands, so I'm not entirely sure what that means.

I want to touch everything in the picture.
  • I don't care what anyone says, I still think Tom Cruise is the man.
  • But...I was way more interested in Victoria, as played by Andrea Riseborough. Damn. Turns out, there's enough of her to go around, if you get what I'm sayin...
  • That 'cut the cord' scene was frickin' great. Impressive stunt work there.
  • Sometimes they struck me as low budge, but the drones were all kinds of badass. Sure, they looked menacing enough, but holy shit, the sounds they make? Brilliant.
  • Whoa. PG-13 nudity in the house. Speaking of, their house was great. It looked like a hotel built exclusively for Apple employees. Oh, and the pool? Incredible. Well, as long as you don't mind all the pubes.
  • Ah, flight suits. Making boners aerodynamic since 1941.
  • You have to cheer for Morgan Freeman. Have to. Even if his character Beech is essentially a less ass-kicking version of Morpheus.
  • Almost every scene with a pissed off drone in it is outstanding. My personal favorites are the underground factory battle scene and the one where they blow the f--k out of drone 185. Good times.
  • I loved the fact that the whole mission is guided by this overly-pleasant bitch, Sally. Even better, she's never more than a face on a tiny screen. We never see things from her side. It keeps her cold and distant. It also makes the line F--k you, Sally even cooler. Not that it needs much help to begin with. I mean, you had me at F--k you. But then you throw in Sally? You have my respect, Everyone Responsible.
  • And finally, even though those of us awake likely saw it coming a mile away, I liked the little surprise at the end. Oh, he brings you a fox. Motherf--king Lucius Fox.
Oh, man. 166 was two weeks away from retirement.
  • It's 2077 and somehow, a f--king dirtbike is still an option? Hmm. I'm thinking Cruise has a rider in his contract explicitly stating he must ride a motorcycle of some kind regardless of say, logic or story cohesion. I mean, there are other ways to make your luxurious hair flow in the wind, right?
  • Oh, and speaking of transportation issues, did anybody else think the spaceship thing looked like a huge...
  • Woody. Harrelson isn't in this movie. I wish he was though.
  • The scene where they keep Jack in the dark, literally. So ridiculous. Sure, it was a decent reveal for us, but otherwise? Dumb. Hey, could you, the entire population left on Earth, could you guys just stand here in the dark while I talk to this guy for a second? Thanks.
  • I hate when tender moments of realization are interrupted by unmanned aircraft. It's the worst.
  • There was one point where all the effective team nonsense made me want to punch something. Like every member of the Miami Heat, perhaps. Or, maybe just Birdman.
  • There was one drone battle that was many shades of horrible: The dogfight sequence. Apparently, over sixty years from now, you can shoot at something 9,000 times and still not land anything. Oh, and you can also avoid all tracking technology by using this revolutionary device called a f--king waterfall.
  • Jack on Jack crime. I'm sorry, but any scene where an actor fights himself is inherently awful. I mean, if Jean-Claude Van Damme can't make it work, no one can. That goes for everything, by the way.
  • So, I can't remove my phone's battery, but a drone designed to destroy humanity? Damn thing pops right out. Even has a handle on it.
  • And finally, I have this sinking feeling that about 37% of this movie makes no f--king sense. The bigger Boo? I'm about 67% sure I'm a complete idiot.
It's the summer movie season and here I am still talking about a flick that came out in the spring. How embarrassing. That would be like wasting the opening paragraph talking about The 6th Day or something. Goodness. That mess came out thirteen years ago. That's just bad form.

Like falling asleep in the theater.

Or piracy.


  1. I know I'm in the minority, but I am not a Tom Cruise fan. Though I did actually like him in 3 movies. I like sci-fi, but this movie holds no appeal for me. On the other hand, drones that make bad-ass sounds does sound cool, and a little nudity never hurts. :-)

    1. I feel like the true minority, because I actually still like the guy. Most people seem to be with you.

      The drones are the best part. Well, outside of the hot British chick. But ultimately, I'd pass and just watch those three movies again. In a row.

    2. That would be a trippy combination. :-D Rain Man, Magnolia, and Eyes Wide Shut.