Oblivion, from the director of Tron: Legacy, places Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) on an Earth decimated after an apparent alien war. He’s part of the clean-up crew. The rest of humanity has left for Titan to form a new colony, or are waiting to do so in an orbiting space station called the Tet. Jack’s job, along with his partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) is to keep the machines running that convert the Earth’s oceans to energy for the trip to Titan – repairing the drones that protect them from the “Scav” invaders who still hang around despite the war being over. Of course, not everything may be what it seems. Melissa Leo, Olga Kurylenko, and Morgan Freeman also star.
First off, this film is gorgeous. The scenery – both CGI and natural – is breathtaking, especially on an IMAX screen. From the epic peaks of Iceland to a picturesque lake house in the woods, the natural beauty is displayed in full glory on screen. The high tech, ultra modern design of the vehicles, drones, and Jack’s living quarters are slick, tasty eye candy. Even the swimming pool is amazing to look at, and not just because of who happens to be in it. Everything is polished almost to the point of over-sanitation but thankfully it doesn’t quite cross that line. The world feels real and lived in, though not particularly unique.
Watching Oblivion, you can’t help but feel a nagging sense of familiarity if you have watched anything in the sci-fi genre. Oblivion is a loud, energetic mix tape of every other science fiction story you’ve seen. There are homages to and themes from The Matrix, Moon, The Island, Wall-E, Planet of the Apes, Portal, I Robot, Independence Day, and I am Legend just off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more I’m missing that you will catch.
There are some wonderfully choreographed battles and there is something really fun about watching the Portal-esque drones flying around shooting things. In the end, the visuals alone are worth the price of admission – it’s that pretty of a movie. There is nothing terribly wrong with the plot other than that there is literally nothing new about it. It is incredibly derivative and a bit predictable for anyone familiar with the genre, but it’s still a lot of fun, picking out all the good parts of other, more original stories.
It’s not going to end up as one of the classics it emulates, but it’s a fun, pretty ride with a few twists all the same.
My Rating: Three out of Five Hats
Mrs. Hamster Says:
“It wasn’t what I expected – but Tom Cruise.”
Oblivion arrives April 19 in 3,800 theaters, including IMAX