The new Tom Cruise flick starts tomorrow, and honestly I am excited. This movie has potential. It looks like it is shaping up to be a success. But to coincide with the film’s release, I have compiled a list of 5 things that are odd about this new action movie.
1. It is based on a comic that was never released.
In 2007, director Joseph Kosinski made a graphic novel with Rex Mundi comic book writer, Arvid Nelson, and Radical Comics. Kosinski wanted it to solidify the ideas he had been having for a movie, and he thought he would bring this graphic novel as a pitch to studios. This graphic novel was of course Oblivion. But once Oblivion was picked up first by Disney, which Kosinski soon left because of their aim at a PG rating, and then Universal (who is now the distributor of the movie), Kosinski never published the graphic novel. When I first heard news of this movie and saw it was based on a comic, I was startled I could not find the comic anywhere. Kosinski said when asked about why he never released the comic, “Once the movie got picked up, for me I wanted Oblivion to be experienced as a film first. After the film comes out, then we’ll see if it makes sense to go back and pull the illustrated novel back together of if it feels like rearview mirror in a way because it’s evolved so much in the years of just making it into a film. So I don’t know. I don’t know if that will ever come out. I don’t know if it’s even relevant anymore.” Kosinski mentioned that if the film does well he would consider making more graphic novels expanding on the universe of Oblivion. Well if Oblivion is good, keep your fingers crossed.
2. Jamie Lannister and Uma Thurman’s stunt double are in the film.
Any Game of Thrones fan or Tarantino buff will recognize the presences of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Danish actor known for portraying Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones) and Zoë Bell (New Zealand born stunt double known for work in Kill Bill, Grindhouse, Inglourious Basterds, and many non-Tarantino projects, such as Xena: Warrior Princess and The Final Destination) are both in the main cast of Oblivion.
This is less odd for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who has appeared in many English language films before including Wimbledon, but the difference is that after gaining recognition for Game of Thrones, people will pay attention to him more. What is the most odd is Zoë Bell’s participation as an actress. Aside from occasional bit roles in movies such as Death Proof, Whip It, and television classic, Lost, this is one of Bell’s first real acting jobs whereas she usually seen from the back of her head in movies. I have heard that Nikolaj has a much larger role, but I am very excited to see how both of these actors do in their respective roles in the film.
3. Tom Cruise is playing a character that is 37 years old.
Now Tom Cruise is a dude who has aged well and has been defying his 50 years in most of the roles he has taken such as Knight and Day, Rock of Ages, and Tom’s incredibly impressive but incredibly perilous self-stunt work in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. But has Tom attempted to play a character that is 13 years his junior yet? Not until now. I don’t know how much of an important part of the movie, Jack Harper’s (Come on Tom! When was the last time you didn’t play a character named Jack?) age is. Well, look at Morgan Freeman, he isn’t exactly playing a 50 year old, but hey, he is still kicking butt.
4. A forgettable Bond girl has actually made a career for herself.
Olga Kurylenko. Say that one three times fast. Olga Kurylenko was one of the two Bond girls in the disastrous Quantum of Solace. She has very good looks and enough talent, but many other Bond girls have had both of those, and after making the rounds with 007 never saw the light of day again for their film careers. Olga is an exception. The French/Russian model/actress had a very brief but heavily marketed role in Seven Psychopaths in 2012. She has landed a role on the new Starz original series, Magic City. But her newest big role is her appearance in reclusive film extraordinaire, Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder. Also, if you search “Olga”, she is the second result, and if you search “Olga” and then a space on Google, she is the first result. Pretty cool, huh? Anyways, I give this girl credit, and I am excited to see her alongside Cruise in Oblivion.
5. It is more than a quickly thought up action flick, and it is getting good press.
Joseph Kosinski is seriously underrated. Many people skewered TRON: Legacy, and even Kosinski regrets it somewhat. I honestly loved the second Tron. Sure, it had its flaws, but it was a cool sequel to the awesome 1980 cult classic. But what I respect most about Kosinski at the moment is that he said that he was underwhelmed with the job he did on the script and story of TRON: Legacy and was going to make Oblivion have a very solid and finished script and story. I really appreciate that. I bet Skip Woods never said, “Oh yeah, remember Hitman, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (It wasn’t amazing but I honestly don’t understand the hate on that movie.), and Die Hard 4? Yeah, I am going to make smarter sequels.” Also, Kosinski said that even while working on TRON, Oblivion has always been his favorite project. Kosinski has been working on it for years, and the film is inspired by what Kosinski has described as the “lonely man” sci-fi movies of the 70’s, such as Omega Man and Silent Runner. I always respect a filmmaker who has influences. I also respect Kosinski’s decision of not using 3D for this movie.
Now the part that shocks me. Although many have criticized its thin script (kind of ironic), most have praised the acting and highly praised the effects of Oblivion. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter went as far to say, “Oblivion is an absolutely gorgeous film dramatically caught between its aspirations for poetic romanticism and the demands of heavy sci-fi action.” Now if that doesn’t get your blood pumping, what does? At first I was skeptical and looking forward more to Neil Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9, Elysium (which features a slightly similar plot). But although I am still excited for Elysium, I have really started to gain some hope in Oblivion.
Oblivion opens tomorrow, April 19th, in theaters everywhere in conventional and IMAX theaters. Read The Young Folks review of the film here.