I haven’t done movie reviews for a while, since I wanted to focus more on the core elements of writing, like characters, narrative, and storytelling.  Having seen Oblivion over the weekend, I felt I could say a few things about the movie that would speak to what I like in a story, be it a movie or a book.

Impressive Visuals

One of the big things that surprised me about this movie was the way things looked.  Oblivion has a large scope and unique visual elements.  The massive resource collectors are strong set pieces that constantly remind us of the stakes of Jack’s mission and connect to an equally fascinating element, the Tet, a massive space station that is about to travel to Titan.  The strongest visual element is probably the moon, which has been mostly destroyed.  Even though the remains are still as luminous, their shattered nature is a haunting, permanent image.

Almost everything in Oblivion is bright, well-lit so we can take in every detail, no matter if it’s an altered landscape or a piece of futuristic technology.

Characters Possess Humanity

All the characters in Oblivion have a passion for something.  From Jack’s desire to find more details about Earth and the past.  Victoria’s passion is to be with Jack and to join the expedition to Titan.  Sykes is passionate about protecting the people in his care.

I mention passion because motivation doesn’t say enough for how the characters strive to hold onto the things they care about.  Motivations can be believed, but, between acting and action, these characters all show just how far they are willing to go to see their beliefs come to fruition, or to keep their dreams safe.

There’s Science In That Fiction!

Drone maintenance, fuel gathering–these are scientific ideas that are key to the story.  So many times, science is used to set up some big excuse for fighting (I know I’ve done it).  Oblivion doesn’t fall prey to this.  Yes, there is action, but it’s always kept in context of the core ideas of drones, resources, and survival.  While the concepts of the movie aren’t new, they are presented well, giving the story are firm foundation to build upon.

Highly recommended.

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