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Title: Oblivion

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:89

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since I reviewed Oblivion’s Blu-ray release. I’m one of the few people that REALLY enjoyed the movie, despite the some critical faux paus it made as well as rehashing some old familiar plot points that are prevalent in the Sci-fi world. Still, it stars Tom Cruise, and as a fan of the wiry little man, I have to say that he never fails to entertain. Now this and “Lucy” act as Universal’s first foray into the realm of 4K releases (although I reviewed “Hunstman: Winter’s War” earlier this week, these two were released a few weeks back, but review copies were just sent out this week) and I don’t think Universal could have chosen a better pair to do so. Both are stunners in their visual and audio departments, and “Oblivion” still stands as one of my go to demo discs for sub power any day of the week.

Tom Cruise is one of those actors that you can love in spite of his crazy antics off-screen. Whatever he stars in is almost never BAD; his charm, charisma and acting experience all shine through and has raised many a mediocre movie up to a “good” rating just by his presence. I’m a big fan of Cruise and have been ever since I was a teenager watching “Mission Impossible” on VHS until I broke the tape. Tom has dazzled us on-screen with his dedication to his craft, even to the extent of doing 95% of his own stunts over the course of his film career (little tidbit of trivia: Tom is an avid motorcyclist and you’ll notice in many of his movies he’s driving a motorcycle or other two wheeled variant and it’s actually HIM doing the driving, not a stunt driver). Here we have Tom reprising his role as the stoic hero in yet another Sci-fi Film. I wasn’t too sure about “Oblivion” when I went into the theater being that I had made the stupid mistake of reading spoilers on the film’s plot before I went to view it theatrically, and had a less than perfect theatrical experience. However, watching it at home for a second time has allowed me to view it through a different set of eyes. Tom is solid as he always is, and director Joseph Kosinski gives us a fun blockbuster sci-fi actioneer to relax to.

It seems that 60 years ago, the Earth was invaded by an alien race known as the “Scavs,” presumably short for "Scavengers," the moon being destroyed in the process. As a result, the earth has gone out of whack and the lack of moon has created huge earthquakes, floods, fires, etc. in its destruction leaving the Earth nearly uninhabitable. To top it all off, the nuclear fallout from the war has left 90% of the world unlivable with the leftover radiation. The humans won the war, but lost the planet. As a last resort, humans built the “TET”, a giant space station that orbits the earth and is charge of harvesting the last of the Earth’s energy resources to fuel the survivors who have colonized one of Jupiter’s largest moons, Titan. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) work as caretakers for the giant machines that harvest the energy needed for the rest of the human race. With drones at their side, they monitor the equipment and repair the drones when they are attacked by the remaining Scav forces that are hiding out in the rubble of civilization. Due to the severity of their mission, both Jack and Victoria have had their memories wiped for their 5 year mission so that if they fall into Scav hands, they cannot reveal any critical information. The problem is that Jack is having some weird memories and dreams. Memories of himself in the world BEFORE the war, memories of a strange woman haunting his dreams. To add more stress to his life, he is insatiably curious, wanting to stay, even though logic dictates that the Earth is uninhabitable and he’s better off on Titan.

All of this comes to a head when during a routine drone repair Jack finds a Scav beacon being sent off into space. After decoding the message, he finds the coordinates of the beacon and observes a ship has crash mere hours later. Not just ANY ship, but a 60 year old HUMAN ship, complete with survivors. To make matters worse, the drones come onto the scene and start obliterating the human survivors in cryo sleep. Risking life and limb, Jack is able to save a single solitary survivor. A young woman name Julia….a woman with the same face that has been haunting his dreams and memories. Here Jack has to face the fact that everything is a lie….everything he has known is brought into question: himself, his mission, the Scavs, the TET and even who he really is, both physically and metaphorically. Any more description and I’ll end up spoiling the story big time so I’ll leave the plot synopsis at that.


Had the film been released 8 years ago or so I would have given the film a slightly higher score, but being that “Oblivion” is basically (don’t’ read the spoiler ahead unless you’ve already seen the film or WANT to have it spoiled)
“Moon” with a giant alien super computer instead of a big bad corporation
made it just a tad less creative. Even though it has that against it, the film is just a blast from beginning to end. Jack Harper is played with Tom Cruise’s legendary bravado and Olga Kurylenko actually gives a really good performance. I haven’t always enjoyed her roles in other films due to her limited acting range, but in “Quantum of Solace” and now here in “Oblivion” she’s shown that she really can act when given the proper direction.

“Oblivion” is not a brilliant film by any stretch of the imagination. It is cobbled together from the mythology of dozens of sci-fi films/books before it, and the fact that it’s got some SERIOUS similarities to another recent sci-fi film tends to give one pause. However, the fact that the films/books and ideas that director Joseph Kosinski borrowed form are all excellent sci-fi plot points the end result mixed with a fantastic use of action and style raises the film to a nice solid footing which is sure to please fans of the genre. Given that this is a summer blockbuster I wasn’t expecting much in the way of intelligence, but there’s still a surprising amount of brain cells that are used during the watching experience. The film goes into the subjects of what makes a person? Is it the physical body? The memories? Or is there something inside us that transcends pure science? There’s a few cheesy sci-fi moments, and some ridiculous pseudo-science, but that’s easily glossed over with the sheer fun factor of the film. There’s great action scenes, some STUNNING CGI battles and Tom Cruise’s charisma just carries the film. Toss Morgan Freeman into the mix and it’s really hard to go wrong. After viewing “Oblivion” two times so far I can say that I believe a third time in the coming week or so is in order with a bunch of friends and a LOT of popcorn.


Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief strong language, and some sensuality/nudity |

Video :4.5stars:
“Oblivion” looks simply incredible on 4K UltraHD Blu. I gave the original Blu-ray a 5/5 for video score, and while this new 4K encode isn’t 100% 4K PERFECTION, the increases over the Blu-ray are quite noticeable. The blacks and colors are amazingly striking here, with all sorts of blues and greys and shiny blacks of space age technology looking so crystal clear that you can reach through the screen and touch them. The blacks show off even more shadow detail and look better textured to boot. Earth is a scorched grey looking rock, although there are some orange and brown colors that bleed through the grey barren rock. Taken from a 2K DI, I was expecting a slightly softer transfer from the upscaling, but Universal has done a good job at keeping the image crisp and digitally clean at all times. I won’t say that I have to re-score my Blu-ray review, as that Blu-ray still remains demo material, but the uptick in quality over the 1080p encode is enough to give this one a nod.

Audio :5stars:
Now, for the REALLY pleasing upgrade. “Oblvion” was one of the first theatrical films to get a Dolby Atmos track, but for some reason the Blu-ray didn’t come with one even though home video releases were already rolling out with the next gen audio format from other studios, making it a slight disappointment tech specs wise. Don’t get me wrong. That 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is a stunner for sure, but many of us were really hoping for the Atmos experience the first time. Rest assured this has been remedied with this new edition and the 4K disc has a Dolby Atmos track that REALLY makes the wait worth it. Right from the get go we’re privy to the advantages of the Atmos experience as there is a comm check at the beginning of the movie that makes you pop your head up to the ceiling as it seems to come from DIRECTLY above the listening point. The rest of the track is filled with those sorts of sounds, especially when Cruise rescue’s Olga’s character from the crashed ship and his resulting battle with the orbs. LFE is punishing beyond belief, and surrounds basically get as much activity as the front sound stage, confirming that this particular mix is one of my favorites in the industry.

Extras :3stars:
• Audio Commentary with Actor Tom Cruise and Director/Story Writer Joseph Kosinski
• Director's Commentary
• Promise of a New World
• Isolated M83 Score
• Deleted Scenes

Overall: :4.5stars:

A bad film can be redeemed in some ways by a fantastic audio and video encode; even if you’re not a wild fan of the movie, there’s always the fun of demoing it off to your friends and neighbors to show what your system can do. What makes a movie watching truly special is when a really GOOD film has a fantastic audio/visual score. Not only can you demo the movie, but be absorbed into the experience that a truly perfect film replication can do to the viewer. “Oblivion” is one of those movies. Not a perfect movie, it has a few unanswered questions and has a plotline similar to another sci-fi movie in the last 10 years (albeit modified), but the movie itself is a well-crafted story that is just plain fun to watch in spite of those flaws. Tom Cruise is always a treat on screen and Morgan Freeman never disappoints. A sci-fi actioneer that has enough cerebral cells engaged to ask just the right questions, “Oblivion” is a great movie to just relax to and let the sonic vibrations and explosive action give you a fantastic movie watching experience. The 4K disc makes a decent upgrade to the video, but a REALLY nice upgrade to the audio with the included Atmos addition. If you already have the Blu-ray I don't see why you wouldn't want to upgrade the disc if you have the equipment. Still a buy in my book.

Additional Information:

Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Written by: Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Universal Studios
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 124 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 9th, 2016

Buy Oblivion On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Oblivion On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Buy It

More about Mike

Premium Member
5,834 Posts
If you buy the 4k version...does it also come with a 1080p version, or are you just getting the 4k version?

Premium Member
5,834 Posts

154 Posts
Too bad they did not remaster it...in 3D. :)

Good to hear that Atmos and UHD work well together...excellent financial business...great strategy. That should get the prices of old 1080P Blu-rays down, but it doesn't.
Oblivion on Blu is $9 today, but most of us we already have it ($25 + tax I paid...CDN). The 4K version is $35 + tax CDN → roughly $40 total.
If I'd win Gold at Rio I'd buy two UHD versions; I'd give the other one to my Mom.

868 Posts
I've always liked this movie, and it makes for some great demo material too. I've been asked to come up with demo clips for a CEDIA sound room running Atmos and 4K for this year, and this release immediately came to mind. Glad to hear that this Atmos track is awesome. Will also be looking at Lucy for CEDIA :)
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