the type of 21st century major studio film I have come to
loathe. It’s set in 2077 after Earth has been devastated by a cataclysmic
war. Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough are apparently the only human
beings monitoring Earth as water is being sucked from the surface for a
migration to one of the moons of Saturn for the survivors of the war.
Tom and Andrea report to a computerized person orbiting the dead and
dying earth, played by Melissa Leo. There are some bad creatures still
on the planet who occasionally attack Tom, and Tom and Andrea are
ordered to keep away from them, as well as to stay out of a zone labeled
prohibited because it is highly radioactive.
Although the production notes claim this to be “an original and
groundbreaking cinematic event,” they also state that it is based on the
“graphic novel created by Joseph Kosinski” (who is the director of the
film). However, it seems to me to be clearly based on a radio show, that
was originally broadcast on November 26, 1950 entitled Universe,
written by Robert Henlein that told almost the same story. I heard Greg
Bell’s 1951 rebroadcast of the show on XM radio’s Classic Radio
channel approximately a month ago. I haven’t seen Kosinski’s graphic
novel (a supercilious term for a long comic book), but this story is so
shockingly similar to Henlein’s story that it strains credulity to
believe that the creators of this film were not greatly influenced or
inspired by Henlein’s story.
are five writing credits, so I won’t bother to mention them here,
especially since I suspect that the story was purloined from the
aforementioned radio show. Even so, the script is well-written and the
story captivating. Although it runs for over two hours, Kosinski keeps
the pace moving. The story is told well as at the beginning the tension
starts and doesn’t let up until the final scenes.
Surprising for special effects–driven movies like this, the cast is
top-flight, including Morgan Freeman, Leo, and Olga Kurylenko, who seems
to be making an appearance in almost every movie I see recently.
many modern movies, this is clearly aimed at the videogame crowd,
because the special effects are straight out of that genre. Normally
these kinds of things are a big bore. But here they are essential to the
plot and are of high quality so do not overwhelm the movie.
film is visually stunning, shot with a new Sony F65 digital camera, it
has clarity four times a High Def image. There are a lot of stunts in
the film and it is claimed the Cruise does them all himself. I’m
generally dubious of claims (and it’s almost always that stars claim to
perform their own stunts) that a huge star would risk himself on
dangerous stunts and that production companies and insurance companies
would allow a star upon which the success of the film depends to take
such risks, but that’s what they claim. If he did do them, they are
out of this film pleasantly surprised. The less you know about the plot,
the more you will enjoy the film. But shame on them for not giving
Henlein any credit.