Several years ago, I remember watching a VHS enjoying my beverage and eating my popcorn as I watched through the previews. On this particular movie (I don't remember what it was), there were trailers for several films that I had never heard of before. One of them was for OBLIVION. I don't know why, but I found the trailer for OBLIVION to be hilarious and decided that if I ever had an opportunity to rent the movie, then I would. It took me almost a decade to locate a place that had the movie to rent, but now I've finally watched the movie whose trailer I found so humorous and intriguing all those years before.
OBLIVION is set over two thousand years in the future on a barren planet that is reminiscent of the Western landscapes of the United States. In fact, not only does the landscape remind one of the American wild west, so do the way people live and how they behave. For instance, mining is popular occupation of spectators, gunfights are common, and horses are a relatively common form of transportation. However, despite the similarities, there are also a lot of differences, e.g. the bank has an ATM; there are spaceships; the outback is populated my giant, ferocious, flesh-eating scorpions; and one of the chief villains is a humanoid reptile from another planet.
The story begins with a shootout between the Marshall of Oblivion (Mike Genovese) and the power-hungry lizard-man, Redeye (Andrew Divoff). Redeye has set a trap for Marshall Stone and Marshall Stone falls for it. With his death, Redeye takes over the town of Oblivion and begins turning the place into his home base for his various illegal activities. News of Marshall Stone's death reaches his only son, Zach (Richard Joseph Paul) who is working in the Outback mining for the highly precious metal dreconian. Zach heads back to Oblivion with a native he rescued from death and Oblivion's funeral master. Zach has no intention of getting even for his father's murder, but when he gets to Oblivion and sees how much damage is being caused by no one standing up, he decides to take control and bring law and order back to town.
As far as films go, OBLIVION really isn't terrible. The story is a typical Western-type story, but the production values are fairly decent.
The movie does have a very campy feel to it, however. This is because of two major reasons. To begin with, the film doesn't follow the pattern of any one genre. The movie is most like a Western, but it's not like any other Western I've ever seen. There's lots and lots of comedy, including dumb one-liners and off-beat visual effects, e.g. the funeral home looks like a casket and there are overhead fans outside. There's elements of sci-fi with the alien bad guy, the power metal of dreconian, and the giant scorpions. There's a little bit of gore, romance, and even some innuendo of bondage. The movie seems to start off wanting to be a straight action piece, then shifts gears into high comedy, before ending in the action genre again. The other reason for the campiness is the unusual well-known B-movie cast secondary stars. Julie Newmar (who played Catwoman in the 1960s BATMAN tv series) is dressed in a skintight cat costume portraying a woman named Miss Kitty who has some feline attributes and runs the local saloon, George Takei portrays the local doctor/inventor, Doc Valentine, and constantly says lines directly ripped from STAR TREK, Isaac Hayes plays a tavern/pawn-shop owner named Buster who has a soft and squeaky voice, and Carel Struycken (famous for Lurch on THE ADDAMS FAMILY movies) plays the funeral director and undertaker Gaunt. There are several other performers who parody other roles they have played which provide for some laughs, but is also something that becomes dry after awhile.
Overall, OBLIVION isn't a terrible movie and if you don't mind the camp-factor, then it can provide for a relatively fun ninety minutes of cheesy entertainment.
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