Saturday, 24 August 2013
DVD REVIEWS: JACK REACHER (2012), OBLIVION (2013)
(And the connection between the two is...?)
Actually, I'm pissed off with Jack Reacher. Not because it's a bad film but because the day after I'd ordered it from Amazon Marketplace about a week ago I learned that it was to be shown on Sky Movies tonight.
And there's the question: can Tom Cruise convincingly play a character who, in the books, is about a foot taller? I'll answer that with this question: Can six foot something Hugh Jackman convincingly play Wolverine who, in the comics, is only five feet three inches tall? The answer to both questions is: that it doesn't matter because both of them are very good actors who are skilled at playing physical roles. So, yes, Cruise can play a character who is physically very tough. Partly because, as the extras in Oblivion show, he is very physically fit.
The film itself is a very entertaining thriller with a good cast and not much more needs to be said. Cruise has a good eye for a good action movie -check out the Mission Impossibles for further proof. It may not be one of his best films but it is an enjoyable time passer which I wish I'd seen on Sky Movies.
Oblivion is a different kettle of fish. As regular readers are aware I'm a bit of a science fiction buff. Recently I bought a book called Sci-Fi Movie Freak. Despite the title, the reviews were generally considered and thoughtful rather than gosh-wow. However, out of over a hundred entries there were only about five I hadn't seen which, for different reasons, I hadn't wanted to see. Mind you, there were more than that in the book that I wish I hadn't seen.
Unlike the recent heavily panned Will Smith & Son SF flick which I will avoid like the plague (unless it's on Sky Movies and I'm bored), Oblivion got mixed reviews generally in the well done but feels like its been done before and now having seen it those comments aren't entirely inaccurate. There are images which could have come from films like Planet of the Apes and there's a plot device which did come from Independence Day. Morgan Freeman is featured on the DVD cover along with Cruise when his screentime is low, especially compared to Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko.
If you can ignore the borrowings which, with the exception of the dumb one from Independence Day, is easy enough to do, you get quite a nice little movie which I mostly enjoyed. Earth has been devastated following an alien invasion which the humans won but ended up moving to Titan; Cruise and Riseborough (who live in a beautiful house in the sky) are an efficient team repairing drones which monitor massive machines that convert sea water to energy which is transferred to Titan (eh?) and attack the surviving aliens on the surface; our two protagonists have been memory-wiped as to concentrate on their mission (something fishy there); Cruise has dreams of being in a New York which was destroyed before he was born (like, really really fishy); and then things start to go wrong which you can find out for yourself as I'm not going to spoil it.
It's extremely well made with terrific and convincing special effects. The sky house and Cruise's sort of copter are beautiful pieces of design which contrast admirably with the shattered earth below. The various convolutions of said shattered Earth I find as convincing as though in the just finished TV series Defiance. Though I should add that the scenes shot in Iceland are magnificent which made it worth getting the blu-ray. The three leads (and I'm not counting an overacting Freeman) are all good. Throw in a decent making off and deleted scenes and I can give a considered judgment of not bad at all.