The Earth of “Oblivion” has lost its moon, been overrun by aliens, and weathered a nuclear assault. It’s only recognizable by the tips of landmarks like the Empire State Building. Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, who has been left here to watch a hydroelectric power plant & protect it from scavenger Aliens. Dreams from a past he can’t remember and questions about these aliens lead him to doubt his current situation.
This is the latest from director Joseph Kosinski, who also brought us “Tron: Legacy” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” He has a background in architecture which explains why this dystopian society looks so amazing. The homes, modes of transportation, even the work suits are sleek & sexy, which makes “Oblivion” a treat to watch, even when the story gets slow.
Tom Cruise plays a variation of the same character he’s been playing for 10 years now. He still looks as capable as ever, as long as he’s riding a futuristic motorcycle or battling drones. When the pace slows & he has to actually ACT, the film hits a wall. Cruise exhibits about 3 noticeably different emotions, which is still MORE than any OTHER actor in this film. It makes it difficult to care about ANY of them. I got excited when Morgan Freeman and Nikoli Coster-Waldo showed up, but they’re never allowed to develop.
The pure spectacle of “Oblivion” is enough to carry the first half of the movie but the rest is weighted down by hollow characters and a ponderous story and that’s why I’m giving it a C+.
Like Tom Cruise himself, “Oblivion” benefits from being really nice to look at.