Film review: Oblivion

posted at 10:01 am on May 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Caution: Review may contain mild spoilers.

Jack Harper has a lonely job.  He is one half of the “mop-up crew,” the last two humans on Earth after an apocalyptic war wiped out the planet.  His partner Vicca is also his lover, more by default than choice.  They make an effective team, working to clean up the last of the “scavs” — the aliens the humans defeated — before they can join the rest of humanity on Titan.  Or at least that’s what they remember after having their memories wiped so that they can focus on their mission.  But with just two weeks left before their mission ends, Jack starts getting more and more attached to Earth — and suddenly, a blast from the past triggers a chain of events that has him questioning everything.

Good science fiction, especially futuristic sci-fi, uses the trappings of technology and dislocation to tell stories about humanity.  Oblivion meets that challenge, as Jack (Tom Cruise) ends up questioning not just his world but also his own uniqueness in it.  The cold sexual relationship between Jack and Vicca (Andrea Risenborough) is almost as antiseptic and emotionless as the glass-and-metal chalet in which they live.  It’s only when Jack runs across a book while fighting off what he thinks are aliens, and then has a chance to rescue a woman who often appears in his dreams (Olga Kurlyenko), that Jack’s humanity begins to emerge from his drone-like existence as a drone repairman.  Eventually, Jack’s humanity can only be rescued when he gets in contact with other human beings, even if Jack himself may not be as authentic as they are.

Oblivion telegraphs a few of its punches; the backstory Jack tells in narration doesn’t seem to make too much sense right off the bat, and all of Oblivion’s trailers give away part of the game.  The music seems rather intrusive and overdone in the beginning, and distracting where a lighter touch would have worked much better. (One pool scene in particular has background music that prompts one to expect a heroic army to march in for a quick swim.)  However, these are minor issues. The action is genuinely suspenseful, the movie has a few surprises up its sleeve, and it holds all of your attention throughout — although the epilogue is far too neat and cheery.

The cast delivers well enough to stay out of the way of the story, the effects, and the cinematography.  Riseborough gives a particularly subtle performance, while Morgan Freeman gets to play Morgan Freeman.  Cruise has to carry most of the load, though, and this role fits right into his wheelhouse.  Mostly, though, Oblivion works because of the script and the intriguing look into what it means to be fully human.  This is much more than a popcorn movie or action flick, and it mostly delivers.

Given all the shooting and the few occasions of nudity and sexuality (mostly bare posteriors and clinches in the pool and shower), I’m a little surprised that this got only a PG-13 rating.  I’d be cautious taking anyone younger than teen years to see this film, and even then, it’s pretty intense.

Update: Raging Conservative proposed this rating system:

On that basis, I’d say this is at least a 2, and perhaps a 1 if you like sci-fi.

Update: RagCon proposed his initial system because it puts the critic on the spot to relate the review to the value of the money being spent by the moviegoer. Let’s use a modified version of this system from now on:

  • 5 – Full price ticket
  • 4 – Matinee only
  • 3 – Wait for Blu-Ray/DVD/PPV rental or purchase
  • 2 – Watch it when it hits Netflix/cable
  • 1 – Avoid at all costs

Using this scale, let’s give Oblivion a solid 4, perhaps a little higher for sci-fi fans.  It’s worth seeing in the theater.

Update: I’m not surprised to see others with a similar rating approach.  DirkFlix uses a seven-step process based on cash investment in viewing the film.  I especially like this explanation of the worst of the scale: “People have lived full, productive lives without seeing Van Helsing, or as I call it, “Van Hellsuck.” Be like them.”  Not bad advice, although I would have given Van Helsing a 2 on the scale I’ve adapted.

Update: Daniel Reyes in the comments says that this is basically Moon with Sam Rockwell.  Both films have some elements in common, but the plots are different. However, Moon is definitely superior, and a must-see.


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although the epilogue is far too neat and cheery.

After all the grimdark cr@p we’ve been getting in the theaters for the last few years, I’d say it’s high time for some “neat and cheery”.

MelonCollie on May 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Yes, but what we all really want to know is if Cruise has a running scene.

Shaughnessy on May 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I know it’s “cool” to critique actors and actresses as if what they do is routine but it’s not. It is a difficult craft that only a select few really master. Cruise is one of them, and I would say he is one of the best of our time.

While he has made some stinker movies, I don’t think his performances were the problem. Arguably, Top Gun was smaltzy and cheesy and trite but he still shined in it. A Few Good Men showed his skill at working with arguably one of the greats (Jack Nicholson). Actors are never solo stars — they all contribute to the end product.

Tom makes it happen for our entertainment, time after time.

platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

So I guess I should go see it? Despite the presence of Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman?

(I skipped to the end of the review to avoid all spoilers)

DopLar on May 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Yes, but what we all really want to know is if Cruise has a running scene.

Shaughnessy on May 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Yeah, doubt I’ll see it. Cruise, Freeman and Sci-Fi *ahem* not my cup of tea but Cruise running, lol, that got me giggling. Keep the head straight and more elbow pumping!

Fallon on May 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Spoilers!!!! This is fair warning.
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.Hey Ed, I thought Jack was already questioning his purpose. He had that little hideaway he had all decked out and he was making frequent visits to. Maybe?

csdeven on May 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Raging Conservative proposed this rating system

Would have shipped this thread, until I saw this rating system.

Very well done. And the improvement too.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 10:33 AM

My son,pilfered it off the net,watched it last week,I liked
it!!

canopfor on May 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Good flick that I enjoyed with my sons, although it was a bit confusing (which isn’t necessarily bad). I’d give it a 5 on your scale.
One review made me chuckle, as a 50-something man (paraphrasing): Tom Cruise gave the usual Tom Cruise performance — running, jumping, flexing, showering, and generally making every other 50-year-old man jealous. So true — LOL.

KS Rex on May 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

I’ll wait for the sequel on the MSM – The Three Monkeys of Oblivion.

VorDaj on May 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

The movie was a libtard sci-fantasy of US foreign policy.

The TET = United States. Invading, blowing up stuff, and then using DRONES to kill people.

DRONES, DRONES, DRONES, DRONES.

Morgan Freeman = Muslim “freedom fighters.”

sentinelrules on May 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

It is pretty clear that actors are not payed for their acting ability, but for the celebrity that their previous acting jobs has imparted to them.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

I’d give it a 2 at best, and I actually like most of Cruise’s movies enough that I saw it opening night. Almost walked out on it due to excessive boredom.

Harbingeing on May 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Why does an alien artificial intelligence that is capable of creating attack drones need to clone humans to attack a planet?
This whole thing sounds like a variation of the plot of Xenogears.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 10:41 AM

The movie was a libtard sci-fantasy of US foreign policy.

The TET = United States. Invading, blowing up stuff, and then using DRONES to kill people.

DRONES, DRONES, DRONES, DRONES.

Morgan Freeman = Muslim “freedom fighters.”

sentinelrules on May 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Exact opposite reaction. Freeman and his band are the libertarian crowd who want to free Jack (and save humanity) from oppressive authoritarians who use mind control and tricks to get us to do what they want at the eventual expense of our humanity and our lives.

I thought it was a brilliantly done movie — Kosinski clearly knows how to make a BEAUTIFUL movie and the score by M83 was as good as Daft Punk’s “Tron Legacy” score. The story managed to surprise me, even though it does recycle quite a few SF tropes, particularly recently-used ones.

clayj on May 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

It is pretty clear that actors are not payed for their acting ability, but for the celebrity that their previous acting jobs has imparted to them.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Sure but that celebrity is the fuel that enables them to go forward. Or at least it’s supposed to be that way — a dynamic symbiotic relationship.

Sadly, some actors start believing their celebrity trumps reality. And that’s when you see trainwrecks, such as Cruise going all ga-ga over Holmes when she was young enough to be his daughter.

I really thought that the divorce was going to make him a has been, yet he recovered. Good on him.

platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

I had to look. Of course, someone made a compilation of Tom Cruise running:

Run! GO GO GO GO GO!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0S5ErGZKG4

Fallon on May 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

It is pretty clear that actors are not payed for their acting ability, but for the celebrity that their previous acting jobs has imparted to them.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Sure but that celebrity is the fuel that enables them to go forward. Or at least it’s supposed to be that way — a dynamic symbiotic relationship.

Sadly, some actors start believing their celebrity trumps reality. And that’s when you see trainwrecks, such as Cruise going all ga-ga over Holmes when she was young enough to be his daughter.

I really thought that the divorce was going to make him a has been, yet he recovered. Good on him.

platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Tom Cruise is one of the lucky few. That’s what it takes to make it in Hollywood: Luck. There are plenty of starving actors and actresses out there that will never get their big break no matter how long they think they can wait for their SAG cards.

gryphon202 on May 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM

I would add something between 3 and 4: Pay-per-view, for those would are okay with waiting (but not that long), but are too lazy to go to a theater and wouldn’t mind paying a few shekels to see it sooner than seeing free on Netflix.

charlesbird on May 11, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Brilliant rating system if I don’t say so myself! Love Hotair and the work Ed, Ala, Jazz, and Co. do.

RagCon on May 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Tom makes it happen for our entertainment, time after time.

platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Have you read any of the Jack Reacher series of novels by Lee Child? Jack Reacher is 6′ 2″ tall weighs 240 pounds and uses a head butt as his trademark conflict resolution. Tom Cruise bought the rights to Jack Reacher and cast himself as Jack. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I have serious doubts he can pull it off.

fourdeucer on May 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I mostly agree with the review, though I’d rate it a tad higher because I enjoy sci-fi. Say what you will about Cruise and his personal life, but on screen he brings it every time…nobody works harder in the movie (doing most of his own stunts) or outside promoting it than he does. Freeman is mostly a nonentity, which was fine with me.

Overall, if you go in expecting a sci-fi story rather than an action flick, it’s worth a movie ticket.

changer1701 on May 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Worth watching in the theater compared to what kind of home system?

astonerii on May 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

MI-4 Into the future. Or
War of the Worlds 2 Eliminate the Survivors??

socalcon on May 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Why does an alien artificial intelligence that is capable of creating attack drones need to clone humans to attack a planet?
This whole thing sounds like a variation of the plot of Xenogears.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 10:41 AM

SPOILERS….

That was made very clear in the film. There were a few reasons. 1st, the entire army was needed for the invasion. 2nd, maintenance and repair. The TET has limited functions. It can make the tools for the invasion, it can make the drones to protect its giant pyramids, and it can make the pyramids to access a planet’s resources. It’s not all powerful.

It still needed “workers” in effect to complete its mission.

I’m being deliberately vague so as not to ruin the main twist, but your questions are answered.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 11:19 AM

This whole thing sounds like a variation of the plot of Xenogears.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Last thing… Xenogears was an awesome game. It had a great storyline and excellent gameplay. If they made a film loosely based upon it, I’d have no problem at all.

I still own a copy. Too bad I got rid of my old playstation.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

5 – Full price ticket
4 – Matinee only
3 – Wait for Blu-Ray/DVD/Netflix
2 – Watch it when it hits free cable
1 – Avoid at all costs

Good rating system but, as for me, there are no such things as 5s. Even the very best of movies, which this flick doesn’t sound like one, might rate a 4, but only after it’s been showing for a few weeks.

I despise feeding the monster that is Hollywood anyway, though I do enjoy movies. And, who needs a crowded theater where some fat, talkative couple and their spoiled kids always seem to find their seats next to you, as they turn the place into their personal dining room, shutting up only to crunch their popcorn and slurp their drinks?

I remember how going to the movies was a really pleasurable experience, that is, before the death of civility.

TXUS on May 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

I mostly agree with the review, though I’d rate it a tad higher because I enjoy sci-fi. Say what you will about Cruise and his personal life, but on screen he brings it every time…nobody works harder in the movie (doing most of his own stunts) or outside promoting it than he does. Freeman is mostly a nonentity, which was fine with me.

Overall, if you go in expecting a sci-fi story rather than an action flick, it’s worth a movie ticket.

changer1701 on May 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Couldn’t agree more. This film was one of my favorite from the past decade.

Great visuals, entertaining story, superb acting, and an awesome music score. It’s worth seeing in imax.

LaughterJones on May 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Does this mean you aren’t going to the Great Gatsby or did I miss the review?

Cindy Munford on May 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM

TXUS on May 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

And I thought I was the only one.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM

5 – Full price ticket
4 – Matinee only
3 – Wait for Blu-Ray/DVD/Netflix
2 – Watch it when it hits free cable
1 – Avoid at all costs

Why are the words ‘free’ and ‘cable’ in the same line of text?

TeeRand on May 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM

TeeRand on May 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM

It may mean the difference between movies “On Demand” that cost above and beyond your monthly cable bill and those offered for “free” not adding to your cable bill. But you are correct, cable TV is far from free.

Cindy Munford on May 11, 2013 at 11:36 AM

I despise feeding the monster that is Hollywood anyway, though I do enjoy movies. And, who needs a crowded theater where some fat, talkative couple and their spoiled kids always seem to find their seats next to you, as they turn the place into their personal dining room, shutting up only to crunch their popcorn and slurp their drinks?

I remember how going to the movies was a really pleasurable experience, that is, before the death of civility.

TXUS on May 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

You don’t have to go when it’s crowded. I haven’t seen a movie during opening weekend in a long time, and when I do go it’s typically on a weeknight when the theater, at least here, is lucky to have more than a handful of people in it.

As far as feeding the Hollywood monster, I don’t like that aspect either, but in the grand scheme of things your ticket is contributing very little, especially if you wait a couple weeks or so to see something.

changer1701 on May 11, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Last thing… Xenogears was an awesome game. It had a great storyline and excellent gameplay. If they made a film loosely based upon it, I’d have no problem at all.

I still own a copy. Too bad I got rid of my old playstation.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

I still have both.
I don’t think I fully understood the plot until the third of fourth time I played through.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Why are the words ‘free’ and ‘cable’ in the same line of text?

TeeRand on May 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Good point; removed. Also added PPV as an option to 3, since all of those involve separate monetary investment, although one could make the point that Netflix is like an existing cable subscription.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

SPOILERS….

That was made very clear in the film. There were a few reasons. 1st, the entire army was needed for the invasion. 2nd, maintenance and repair. The TET has limited functions. It can make the tools for the invasion, it can make the drones to protect its giant pyramids, and it can make the pyramids to access a planet’s resources. It’s not all powerful.

It still needed “workers” in effect to complete its mission.

I’m being deliberately vague so as not to ruin the main twist, but your questions are answered.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 11:19 AM

That still doesn’t make any sense. How can it make drones that fight but not drones that can do maintenance? How can it clone humans but not make war machine drones to do the fighting directly?

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 12:14 PM

This was the first movie I have seen in a theatre in years and I did enjoy it. I’ve been avoiding anything Hollywood for a long time due to their moronic stands on most things in life. I want to be entertained, not lectured to.

Not a raging Tom Cruise fan – for various reasons, but it really is a good matinee flick. I have to admit, he is in great shape for his age and does his own stunt work, so that is impressive.

The story ended with me and my friend looking at each other and saying, “huh?” , then breaking into howls of laughter because we were actually lost in what had just happened. We ended up reading a synopsis on IMDB and found where the holes are, at least what we missed and it made sense. They did cut out some details that would have made it clearer, maybe it was implied, but so subtly we missed it.

It was beautifully made, not overdone greenscreen CGI stuff, actually makes me want to go to Iceland to see it in person – not something I’d ever given any thought to doing.

tru2tx on May 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM

After thinking about the Netflix/cable similarity, I tweaked it a little more. I think it works now.

Ed Morrissey on May 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Oh, and Xenogears had a much better reason why it was necessary for the weapon to act through humans.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I like the value system, but shouldn’t “See the movie” be number 1?

You could cut half an hour out of Oblivion and no one would miss it. Otherwise it’s mainly a compilitation of scenes from other sci-fi movies.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

The ending made no sense.

Freeman/Cruise acquired knowledge throughout the movie that they could not have possibly known.

lorien1973 on May 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

I was with it up until the scene where Morgan Freeman tells Tom Cruise, “No, *I* am your father.”

Sorry.

Spoiler alert!

JimLennon on May 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

The ending made no sense.

Freeman/Cruise acquired knowledge throughout the movie that they could not have possibly known.

lorien1973 on May 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

I’ve only read the wiki plot summary, but does seem that way. Maybe it would have made more sense for Freeman’s character to have been wrong in some way at the end.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Yawn…..

Wake me when Follywood has a original idea.

trs on May 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

One of the great things about Xenogears was that none of the narratives that you are told throughout the game are entirely true, and, while the final monolog gives you the last missing piece, it still takes some thinking to understand what was going on the whole time.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 1:01 PM

We saw it and both liked it. It was somewhat original. Somewhat not. But overall.. enjoyable. I loved the look of the tech. Reminds me of the sci fi art from the 60′s. Very clean lines. That was a bit refreshing and a nice break.

JellyToast on May 11, 2013 at 1:23 PM

“…and wouldn’t mind paying a few shekels to see it sooner than seeing free on Netflix.”

charlesbird on May 11, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Netflix is not free, fyi. ;)

ptcamn on May 11, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Last thing… Xenogears was an awesome game. It had a great storyline and excellent gameplay. If they made a film loosely based upon it, I’d have no problem at all.

I still own a copy. Too bad I got rid of my old playstation.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

I still have both.
I don’t think I fully understood the plot until the third of fourth time I played through.

Count to 10 on May 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Glad to see I am not the only one still with that game in the library. ;)

ptcamn on May 11, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Saw it and thought it was rather awful. Yes, it started out promising, with nice special effects. And had the writers stuck with the original premise (moon and earth destroyed by these invaders) and developed that, I would have liked it. But then the whole back story starts to kick in, you realize you don’t know what’s going on and will have to wait another hour to find out (imagine getting 3/4 of the way through Star Wars and realizing Darth Vader is the good guy, Obiwan you have to kill), and the whole thing becomes extremely tedious. Like Inception, I couldn’t wait for this movie to end. And Morgan Freeman’s just mailing it in these days. His character, the wise old man who’s going to make you feel warm and fuzzy, is the same in every damn movie.

Wait for it to come out on cable, so you can get a good night’s sleep..

Erich66 on May 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Have you read any of the Jack Reacher series of novels by Lee Child? Jack Reacher is 6′ 2″ tall weighs 240 pounds and uses a head butt as his trademark conflict resolution. Tom Cruise bought the rights to Jack Reacher and cast himself as Jack. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I have serious doubts he can pull it off.

fourdeucer on May 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

And Wolverine in the comic books is 5’2″ not 6’2″ (Hugh Jackman). If every movie were cast to “fit” the exact description of the character, we would have had:

Danny DeVito playing Wolverine
Will Smith not playing Neville in I Am Legend
Shelly Duvall not playing Wendy in The Shining

etc.

It’s what the producers and directors decided to work with. Deal with it.

Mitoch55 on May 11, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Van Helsing was cool as hell.

Observation on May 11, 2013 at 2:58 PM

The ending made no sense.

Freeman/Cruise acquired knowledge throughout the movie that they could not have possibly known.

lorien1973 on May 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

SPOILERS…
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The only part of the ending that made no sense was that the TET didn’t scan the ship before entering. Otherwise I don’t see any issues.
As for the TET needing people at all, it’s still a machine. It’s limited by its programming. It clearly had the ability to create certain types of other machines, but could not go beyond that programming. I don’t find this that difficult to believe. It’s crazier to think there’s an A.I. that can continually adapt and create things from scratch. There’s a reason why humans are unique.

On to Xenogears. You guys got me interested in playing the game again. Looks like I’m going to have to scrounge up an old PS or download a copy online. Thanks a lot…

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 3:07 PM

I saw oblivion and thoughts of planet of the apes (POTA) kept coming into my head. Not because of the story line but the premise of both movies. Man somehow destroys his world and the one thats left is better in a utilitarian sense but the value of the individual is diminished. A clone generating machine in Oblivion and the simian overlords in POTA are both inferior to the flawed but thoughtful human experience but the human experience will always be prone to the risk of annihilation because of mans flaws. Somewhat like the collectivization that the democratic party finds so advantageous but somehow cant figure out why it doesn’t succeed.

nicknack60 on May 11, 2013 at 3:14 PM

It’s really Sam Rockwell’s Moon. With Tom Cruise and better effects.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Using this scale, let’s give Oblivion a solid 4, perhaps a little higher for sci-fi fans. It’s worth seeing in the theater.

It’s worth seeing in the theater because of the screen. While this will be fine on TV, some things need to be seen on a bigger screen just for the visuals. IMHO, this is one of them.

You mentioned Van Helsing. That’s a must watch for the bad movie fan. It’s a movie that pleads to be MST3K’d.

kim roy on May 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

The movie was a libtard sci-fantasy of US foreign policy.

The TET = United States. Invading, blowing up stuff, and then using DRONES to kill people.

DRONES, DRONES, DRONES, DRONES.

Morgan Freeman = Muslim “freedom fighters.”

sentinelrules on May 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Funny, I’m hypersensitive for the “sucker punches” and I didn’t catch that at all. I found it quite the opposite what with the “effective team” mantra.

kim roy on May 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

It’s really Sam Rockwell’s Moon. With Tom Cruise and better effects.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 3:33 PM

With the cool trucks?

However, Moon is definitely superior, and a must-see.

That was deep enough it didn’t need to be remade.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 4:57 PM

That’s a must watch for the bad movie fan.

kim roy on May 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

That one is a must see for Kate Something-or-other in a corset.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

That one is a must see for Kate Something-or-other in a corset.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Rather watch her in Underworld. Get to see the corset without the terrible accent.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Both are yummy. Daylight and longer hair in the Helsing flick.

What accent?

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

With the cool trucks?

I’d forgotten the trucks. The film was styled after early 70s sci fi,but mostly that Bruce Dern film with three robots watching the forests in space.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

That one is a must see for Kate Something-or-other in a corset.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

That’s not in my wheelhouse. I’ll have to stick with Hugh Jackman. ;)

The terrible acting of the three harpies, especially the redhead, is worth the price of admission in itself.

kim roy on May 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

I had to look. Of course, someone made a compilation of Tom Cruise running:

Run! GO GO GO GO GO!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0S5ErGZKG4

Fallon on May 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Reminds me of Tom Hanks always peeing in his movies.

mechkiller_k on May 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Liked the movie and recommend it… Only problem I really had it with it was the super powerful intelligent aliens falling for the oldest trick in the universe.

I really REALLY wanted to see a flash/sparkle appear on Morgan Freeman’s face after he explained everything though (south park reference).

Skywise on May 11, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Fallon on May 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Thank you for Tom Cruise running. I needed that

Something about Tom Cruise not running that makes me think “what a nice young man”. He has a hypnotic screen presence that makes you forget the guy does battle by running.

Still, I root for Tom. In War of the Worlds I wanted the aliens to eat the screaming whining kid, and I wanted Tom to run faster so he wouldn’t be eaten

There was an urban legend of a different actor, we shall call ‘gerbil boy’ who supposedly had to have a gerbil removed in the ER. This false legend affected the way I viewed his movies, even though I knew from all press reports that the story was completely false. Friends spent one night of great hilarity re running many action scenes looking for evidence of gerbilization

entagor on May 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Both are yummy. Daylight and longer hair in the Helsing flick.

What accent?

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

She tries to do a god-awful Romanian accent in the Van Helsing movie. It actually distracted me because it was so bad.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I’d forgotten the trucks.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

The trucks were just as interesting as the movie to this techno-geek. Took me forever to get good enough pics to draw up a set of plans.

but mostly that Bruce Dern film with three robots watching the forests in space.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

No. And it should be referred to as “that Douglas Trumbull beautiful piece of cinematography” if not by its title; Silent Running. Or I will have Dewey kick you in the leg and whop you over the head with his flower themed watering can.

She tries to do a god-awful Romanian accent…
njrob on May 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

What accent?

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

I know it’s “cool” to critique actors and actresses as if what they do is routine but it’s not. It is a difficult craft that only a select few really master…
 
platypus on May 11, 2013 at 10:14 AM

 
I disagree. I think there are just so many truly god-awful ones in the royal family that is Hollywood (and I don’t use that phrase accidentally) that it’s obvious when one above-mediocre actor is thought to be better than the standard-mediocre ones.
 
It, like everything, may be tough to truly master, but I don’t think it’s something that’s at all difficult to be good at. If it were unusually difficult then there wouldn’t be so many decent crossover performances from music, sports, and comedy names.

rogerb on May 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

What accent?

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM

I’m guessing you’re just pulling my leg. Well played.

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 8:52 PM

If it were unusually difficult then there wouldn’t be so many decent crossover performances from music, sports, and comedy names.
 
rogerb on May 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

 
Addendum: And children of actors and writers and producers. And childrens’ children. Etc.

rogerb on May 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Saw it with the soon to be Mrs Smooth sailing. We both liked it. The plot rushed at the end a little.

smoothsailing on May 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

njrob on May 11, 2013 at 8:52 PM

You’re quicker on the uptake than many.

She could sound like Rosanne Rosannadanna for all I care. Just so long as she has tight pants and a corset…and poses a lot.

cozmo on May 11, 2013 at 9:20 PM

You’re right, Ed, about the music with the pool scene. You might expect ” a heroic army marching in for a quick swim.” hahaha, so well put and so true. I was thinking, what the heck?

And the Victoria character’s eyes were dilated throughout most of the movie. What was up with that? Very disconcerting. (And must have been painful for the actress.)

I liked the movie. I like sci-fi and post-apolyptic things anyway. I regret I wasn’t quick enough to catch it in 3d, because I like 3d too. But we saw it at Studio Grill, where you can eat dinner while you watch, and I know from previous experience that it is way difficult to eat in the dark with 3d glasses on, so that was just as well.

I read a number of reviews (after seeing it) and critics as well as regular movie-goers didn’t seem to like it as well as I did. Lots of plot holes, for one reason, and “too confusing” for many viewers. But I enjoyed the philosophical issues of what makes a soul, what makes a person.

I told my husband on the way home I think someday Tom Cruise will be looked on as we do John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, etc. now. Not that I like him as a person much. But you have to admit, he’s not one of those leftist movie stars constantly telling us how we need to make do with less, while they, of course, jet from one of their mansions to another. I think his oeuvre – and himself, and his ability to carry a movie – pretty much guarantees that in a generation or two, they’ll probably be saying, “They just don’t make ‘em like Tom Cruise anymore.”

I thought of it as the humans being freedom-lovers, and the -SPOILER- clones and their master being very, very cult-like (and leftist-like), so I saw it differently from the earlier poster. In fact, I wondered if Tom Cruise didn’t maybe see some parallels between them and Scientology . . .

Seeing movies here (Atlanta suburbs) is generally not an unpleasant experience, as far as the behavior of your fellow movie-goers is concerned. Helps to know which theaters to go to, and, sometimes, when.

Alana on May 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM

No. And it should be referred to as “that Douglas Trumbull beautiful piece of cinematography” if not by its title; Silent Running. Or I will have Dewey kick you in the leg and whop you over the head with his flower themed watering can.

Good luck with that, Dewey should be halfway to Neptune by now. You’d think round pool tables would have caught on.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM

 
I disagree. I think there are just so many truly god-awful ones in the royal family that is Hollywood (and I don’t use that phrase accidentally) that it’s obvious when one above-mediocre actor is thought to be better than the standard-mediocre ones.
 
It, like everything, may be tough to truly master, but I don’t think it’s something that’s at all difficult to be good at. If it were unusually difficult then there wouldn’t be so many decent crossover performances from music, sports, and comedy names.

rogerb on May 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

You haven’t tried casting a show. I posted a role for “a Steve McQueen for this generation” and got over a thousand head shots. If you think all of those people could act, much less be in Steve McQueens league, I have some news for you. Imagine sitting in a small room listening to bad acting, day after day.

danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 11:22 PM

I’d like to make one addition to the rating system:

6 – Full price ticket
5 – Matinee only
4 – Wait for dollar theater
3 – Wait for Blu-Ray/DVD/PPV rental or purchase
2 – Watch it when it hits Netflix/cable
1 – Avoid at all costs

Conservative Samizdat on May 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM

You haven’t tried casting a show. I posted a role for “a Steve McQueen for this generation” and got over a thousand head shots. If you think all of those people could act, much less be in Steve McQueens league, I have some news for you. Imagine sitting in a small room listening to bad acting, day after day.
 
danielreyes on May 11, 2013 at 11:22 PM

 
Ha. I definitely haven’t, and that sounds horrible. I can barely watch TV. Sorry you had to sit through that.
 
I’m not saying “all those people could act”. There are plenty of bad and mediocre actors. Plenty of immensely popular ones, too.
 
Taking the day-after-day misery out of it, what would you estimate the could/couldn’t act ratio to be? 30% could? 50%?

rogerb on May 12, 2013 at 6:42 AM

rogerb on May 12, 2013 at 6:42 AM

I think about 10% of the people I see can actually act. Some will get better with practice, but someone needs to tell the others to go home.

Casting is my least favorite part of this business, largely because you see people come in with these hopes and mostly they can’t act, so you can stop them early, because you have another fifty people to see, and watch their faces deflate, or you can sit through this.

It’s like drowning kittens.

danielreyes on May 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM

I fell asleep 3 times watching this movie, never bothered to finish watching it

LurkerDood on May 12, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Why do people hate Van Helsing so much? I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dunedainn on May 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

And with that I become a practitioner of Thread Necromancy.

Dunedainn on May 26, 2013 at 10:51 AM