The story might be just a bunch of reused other sci-fi movie ideas, but as a personal young director‘s work it‘s a real achievement.
Director: Joseph Kosinski | Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko
Budget: 120 million | Box office: 260 million
How a young director got almost to the same high budget creativity freedom level as the likes of Christopher Nolan and James Cameron? How did an unknown guy Joseph Kosinski got to direct the remake of Tron in the first place? I didn‘t follow quite closely that film‘s development and although the result was not as mind blowing as I expected, even so I think Tron Legacy was the right reboot, especially interesting stylistically and with great, just a bit restrained Daft Punk soundtrack. It cashed in lots of money so that seems to be the ticked to creating something big and expensive on your own.
The reason behind Tron Legacy and in the same way Oblivion visual stylistic appeal is Kosinski‘s unusual background for a director. He is an architect and 3D modeling expert, it‘s quite interesting to scroll through his commercials works in the website josephkosinski.com. From here it‘s clear that he has his own vision and tries to apply it in different ways.
The style, design and architecture are the most beautiful things in Oblivion. He worked together with Tron Legacy production designer Darren Gilford, who also helped to create the crazy Mike Judge‘s Idiocracy sets. Oblivion depicts the far future of shattered Earth with last couple of workers left to supervise the drones and huge stations, pumping out the seawater. Their house up in the sky, the ship and especially the round drones looked really amazing. Somehow they managed to make a round white flying balls look menacing, and not just because of huge guns.
The story leaves a bit mixed feelings. Although Kosinski himself said that it‘s a homage to the seventies sci-fi movies, there seems to be just too much already used ideas. It looks as kind of young sci-fi fan created it for himself and feels like anyone could do it. But of course the question is how to convince others first to publish your story (graphical novel by Radical Comics) and then to give you 120 million dollars, Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, with the first new generation Bond girl Olga Kurylenko to brighten things up. So in that case Oblivion really is a big personal achievement, as Kosinski did as much as he could himself. It‘s just that some parts, especially the „big twist“, by the sci-fi lovers was witnessed quite recently. So it‘s really best to know about it as little as possible.
Well, at least the soundtrack keeps the movie in tone and is actually quite a nice piece for listening by itself. It might be again a bit too usual for such movie and expected from M83, but it‘s still nice.