Oblivion (Blu-ray Review)

oblivion-bdOn a desolate, nearly ruined future Earth, Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible Franchise) and Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight RisesWanted) star in the futuristic movie Oblivion, a visually stunning, post-Apocalyptic thriller. Based on Kosinski’s acclaimed graphic novel, the film also stars Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of SolaceSeven Psychopaths), Andrea Riseborough (W.E.Happy-Go-Lucky), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Mama, “Game of Thrones”) and Oscar-winner Melissa Leo (The FighterFrozen River).  It is 2077 and Earth has been decimated. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone repairman on the evacuated planet, working with his partner Vika (Andrea Riseborough) to salvage vital resources. As their assignment approaches its final days, Jack rescues a beautiful stranger (Olga Kurylenko) from a downed spacecraft, triggering a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew and leaves humanity’s fate in his hand. 


Note:  To avoid spoilers, I’ve completely omitted major plot points from my review.  My opinion is that Oblivion is the type of movie you should go into with no preconceived notions.  For those who want to save the review until after you’ve seen the movie I’ll say this – it wasn’t what I expected but was worth seeing.

In the year 2017, scavengers from another world have destroyed the moon, devastating the Earth as a whole.  Tsunamis and earthquakes have ravaged the entirety of the earth.  The humans battled the invaders and won the war but ended up losing the planet.  Sixty years pass and the survivors spend that time constructing a ship called the Tet which will relocate them to a colony on Titan.  Pretty much the only people still on Earth are a maintenance team comprise of technician Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and Communications Officer Vica Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) who have been assigned to work together.  They oversee Zone 49 where generators convert sea water into energy for the Tet.  Jack and Vica live together in a dwelling floating above the Earth from where Jack routinely takes a smaller craft down to the surface while Vica watches from above.  Jack’s job is to maintain the the drones and to keep scavengers also called scavs, from attacking the drones who are programmed to protect the generators.

As the film goes on there’s a couple of mysterious plot threads that keeps Jack and the viewers wondering if there’s something more going on.  Despite a mandatory memory wipe was enacted years ago, Jack is plagued by recurrent dreams of a woman he doesn’t know.  In addition, Jack and Vica are linked to the Tet and report to a woman who routinely asks if they are still “an effective team.”   Right from the start the obvious question is what happens when they are no longer effective?  It’s a question that is sure to come up as the two of them are so different.  Jack enjoys his time on the surface and he fondly remembers the stories of the last Super Bowl.  Vica on the other hand, looks forward to the end of their mission and doesn’t question orders or her duty.  While on the surface it becomes clear to Jack that there is more going on with the scavs than the Tet representatives realize, or are willing to admit.

Oblivion has a lot going on.  I would have liked to have seen a movie about the alien invasion that destroyed the moon and started the human vs. alien war.  I would have also liked to have seen a movie about the mandatory memory wipe and how people were assigned to work together as teams.  A third movie could have focused on the scavs and everything happening down on the surface and beneath.  As it is, I don’t think Oblivion was able to fully develop any of its ideas because there were just too many.  There were just too many plot holes and inconsistencies I had an issue with (which I won’t discuss for fear of spoilers).  Because there was so much happening, I watched the film several times and the inconsistencies became more bothersome with each viewing.  That being said, I did like the movie.  Tom Cruise was well suited for the role and his co-stars held their own, especially Morgan Freeman who is always interesting to watch.  I was never bored during the film and I also thought the visual effects were very well done.  All in all, this was a great looking movie that had some really good ideas, but it would have worked better if it had just focused on a couple and developed them even further.


Oblivion is visually, one of the best Blu-rays I’ve seen.  The film transitions from the crisp, clean dwelling in the sky to the dark, grimy subsurface.  In natural and artificial light as well as in darkness, Oblivion is visually impressive.  Detail and texture are notable throughout the film and black levels seem never ending and skin tones are accurate and consistent. The 1080p/AVC encoded (2.39:1) transfer leaves little to nothing to complain about.


Oblivion’s audio quality matches the stunning visual presentation.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is amazing across the board.  Dialogue is clear and clean and this mix’s directionality is superb.  The cross channel effects are extremely accurate and are fun to listen to when they kick into gear like when Jack’s craft flies by or when the drones start their hunt. Speaking of the drones, their entire sound design sounds fantastic as their weapons are menacing and believable.  This is an incredible mix from Universal and it utilizes every channel and is guaranteed to put your home theater system to work. Just like the video quality, this lossless mix is practically perfect.


This is a solid but not very lengthy list of special features.  More extras would have been nice but what is included is a pretty solid, especially “Promise of a New World” which was by far my favorite extra.

  • Audio Commentary – Director Joseph Kosinski and actor Tom Cruise discuss the production of the movie from start to finish. This commentary is worth listening to and gives small insight into some of the director’s decision I personally had questioned while watching the film.
  • Promise of a New World – A well done five part making of documentary, lasting over 45 minutes which discusses the  sets, Cruise’s “bubbleship,” the stunts, a look at the great visual effects, and finally the music.
  • Deleted Scenes – Four deleted/alternate scenes including,”Bubbleship Flyby,” “Stadium: Original Opening,” “Medkit” and “The Archives.”
  • Isolated M83 Score – This is the isolated score from the film presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.
  • UltraViolet copy of the film
  • Digital Copy of the  film


Oblivion is more complicated than complex.  It’s a big budget action flick that wasn’t at all what I expected.  Whenever a movie isn’t what I expected I realize that it takes a while for me to appreciate it for what it is.  I love a good sci-fi flick and this movie is visually impressive with comparable audio quality to match.  Universal did an amazing job with the audio and the visual presentations and it’s a shame that it just had too many plot threads that made it hard for the film to focus on the best ones.   Despite my complaint about the film’s over-complication and lack of story development, the actors all delivered in their roles and the film is so pretty to look at; you might not even be bothered with details like I was.  I am always grateful for a decent futuristic film to add to the collection and this was more than decent, but less than I’d hoped for.

Order your copy today!


4 Responses to “Oblivion (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gregg Senko

    Great review, Jami. Spot on with the film score!

  2. Brian White

    Jami. We need to talk. Please call my office in the morning.

  3. Sean Ferguson

    Brian I think you are the only person I know that absolutely loved this movie. I probably would have given it a 3 1/2 rating too. You should write your own review!

  4. Brian White

    Nah. I’ll get even with the Man of Steel review 🙂