Double-Header! Thoughts on Oblivion and GI Joe: Retaliation.

ImageOblivion is just that type of movie that I love: a smart, science-fiction film that takes its time. It’s in no hurry and lets you enjoy the world that has been created, lets you take everything in. Plus, I can separate Tom Cruise the person from Tom Cruise the actor and when it comes to roles and movies like this, I can’t help but love Tom Cruise.

Cruise has the look and feel of a movie star and more importantly, of a hero which is needed for this film. To think that Cruise looks as well as he does at age 50, well that deserves a couple of ‘Wows!’ Not only is it our wish to look that good when we’re fifty, but it’d be pretty wonderful to look like that now.

Perhaps Oblivion throws one too many twists at you and at times is too confusing for its own good, but I like how unapologetic it is. I got it, sure not everyone will, but really then, this isn’t for everybody. I love the thoughts that science-fiction movies like these give you. Humanity is screwed, there’s no doubt about it, at least in the Earth that this movie has created.

In no other film has there been an ending this dark, I mean when you really think about it. Sure it ends on a happy note, but that’s fake. Jack Harper’s wife Julia got her cabin by the lake with their daughter, but at what cost? Really think about some of the disturbing things going on here.


Jack (the original one) sacrifices himself to destroy the Tet, so yes the alien entity is gone, but now what? The damage has been done, the moon destroyed and the majority of life on Earth is gone. How do you rebuild? Julia is given a consolation prize of Jack’s (52nd!) clone and we’re just supposed to be happy and pretend it’s the same thing? By the way, I love the way the original Jack Harper went out…that’s definitely the way to go out.

Then think about all of the Jack and Victoria clones that are still out there. All with their penthouse in the sky, not knowing what the hell is going on and no longer receiving transmissions from Sally, the alien entity’s ‘spokeperson.” For all intents and purposes, they’ll feel like they have been abandoned on Earth with no way of re-joining the humans now residing on Saturn’s moon Titan.

So yeah, Earth is screwed. The alien entity has taken most of the water on the planet and this rag-tag group of survivors isn’t exactly an elite group to say the least. Imagine what would happen going forward, and for those reasons I would love to see a sequel to this which I’m pretty positive will never happen. Let me also be clear that I loved this movie. It’s such a beautiful film that leaves you with so many lasting images and at times it feels like a dream or a poem. I can’t wait to see it from the comfort of my own home so I can really appreciate it the way it deserves.

GI Joe: Retaliation is exactly what you would expect, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I also liked this film, albeit in a very different way. While Oblivion also has a lot of bang, bang and pew, pew, some of the stuff that happens in GI Joe is just flat out ridiculous…and that’s why it works. It embraces its cartoonish nature and never forgets that it started as a cartoon and toy line for young boys.

Even the way the film starts off with the introductions of the good guys and bad guys was something straight from the cartoons and while it should have felt cheesy, it just felt right instead. If you can’t help but smile at some of the ridiculous actions taking place, well then there is probably something wrong with you, you take life too serious and I feel sorry for you. I love small, personal, real, serious films just as much as the next person, but you can’t really be in that mode all of the time. Sometimes you need that escapism, and that’s what this film is. Trust me, films like these are needed and always welcome. I won’t be that snob that thinks he is too good for certain films, GI Joe is just fun.

While this really is an ensemble film that gives many different characters the chance to shine, at its heart it really is The Rock’s film from beginning to end. Channing Tatum starts off the film and instantly teases that passing of the torch which does happen once Duke disappears from the film and Roadblock no longer has a choice and is forced to become their leader. Even Willis hands off Patton’s handgun to Rock as the film ends and somehow Roadblock has been promoted to Sergeant Major. I won’t ask any questions, just accept it and go.

I was really shocked that once Tatum was ‘killed’ in the first ten minutes, he didn’t return in the middle or end of the movie. The rumors going around that the film was pushed back in order to add more Tatum were absolutely false. The internet has let me down as I thought every rumor going around was true. It really makes you wonder about the decision then of pushing back the film just to convert it to 3-D.

All that being said, I didn’t expect much from GI Joe except for it giving me a good time and that is exactly what the film delivered on. It’s laugh-out-loud funny at times, ridiculous, over the top and that’s exactly why it all works. The film embraces all of those things and I certainly wouldn’t mind watching more adventures involving this cast. Don’t try to surprise us, don’t try to be serious, just give us GI Joe in all of its outrageousness and bombastic glory, and we will be there to enjoy it.


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