Tom Cruise is back at it again in one of the first science fiction films of the year.
Sixty years after a war leaves the earth in ruins, technician Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of two humans left on the planet for drone maintenance. After completing his tour of duty, Jack and his partner/wife, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), will leave Earth to join the rest of humanity on one of Jupiter’s moons. Of course, the pair aren’t really alone, as there is an army of Scavs (short for scavengers) lying in wait beneath the Earth’s surface.
As anyone who’s seen the trailer knows, not everything from Cruise’s opening monologue can be entirely trusted, though. Something about the war between mankind and an alien race is a little too fishy (bum bum buuuuuummm). There are several twists in this sci-fi tale, some are much more obvious than others.
One of the most interesting things about science fiction is the concept of world-building. While the laws of earth are pretty well known to us today, stories like “Oblivion” allow filmmakers to begin a new world with new features and limitations. This is why the first half of sci-fi films are so very interesting (“Looper”). Sadly the second half of these films often don’t match the excitement of their beginnings.
As for this film’s beginning, director Joseph Kosinski does an excellent job of creating a post-apocalyptic landscape 60 years in the future. From the barren wasteland to Jack’s castle in the sky, the visuals are exactly what an audience should dream for in a film such as this. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that “Oblivion” has amazing visuals and a captivating score, as Kosinski’s first film, “Tron: Legacy,” was widely praised for both. Much like that film, however, the director’s latest outing does fall flat in a few areas.
There is a great divide in theater audiences between those who like to have every detail of a film’s universe at their disposal and others who prefer to think for themselves and leave things open to interpretation. The first group could have a few problems with this film, but I promise that most of their questions will be taken care of by the time the credits roll. “Oblivion” can be a little agonizing at times with how minimal its answers to important questions are, but the film’s final act does well enough in explaining certain events.
The main criticism this film will receive is that its script could use another draft. As previously stated, the film does adequately answer most of the questions it raises over its 126-minute runtime, but some aspects of the story are shrugged off quicker than they should be.
Aside from these complaints, “Oblivion” is one of the best sci-fi outings released in recent memory. It’s design and concepts are breathtaking and Tom Cruise is at a very enjoyable level of Cruise-iness. Even the few action scenes that are in the film are well done.
Whether or not you’ve been looking forward to the film, it’s really your only option until “Iron Man 3” hits theaters on May 3rd, so why not give it a chance?