Tom Cruise and science fiction usually were great together from “Minority Report” to “War of the Worlds,” despite the latter’s ending that I felt undercut the entire movie. The common thread was Steven Spielberg — the guy that revolutionized movies with such sci-fi hits as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “ET,” and “Jurassic Park” and is friends with the likes of George Lucas and is on par with James Cameron….
Yeah, none of those guys were involved in this movie.
OBLIVION takes place in the latter part of the 21st century when an interstellar war devastated the planet and tore the Moon in half, leaving humanity stranded in space to harvest what is left of Earth’s oceans. The harvesting machines are managed and defended from the straggling remnants of the alien forces by warrior technicians named Tom Cruise with a generic name. It’s Jack something. Seriously.
Anyways, there is a plot line about Morgan Freeman and lies from the humans to the technicians but to go more into it spoils the movie, however the way the story plays out goes almost according to convention and it would have been a surprise maybe 20 years ago. Today, in the post-Lost era, it is elementary.
That is not to say OBLIVION was a waste of time. I felt it was enjoyable but not movie theatre big-enjoyable. I guess if this were on a fight card, I would book it to go on at number four out of a possible 8-10 matches. Early to keep people interested but not the big hurrah that they paid to see.
The action holds up very well with some very intense sequences with very gripping danger. I actually felt the heroes were in jeopardy as they dueled with the alien forces on a wasteland New York (yeah, for the 1,983,044th time, the Big Apple has been reduced to rubble — think Independence Day and then Deep Impact/Armageddon happening within a year’s time).
Tom Cruise is well… Tom Cruise. He has his gimmick down to a science and it looks like art so no matter what he is doing, it works on multiple levels. Morgan Freeman, aka “God” in the movies, is the same way. I actually saw a “Outbreak” not too long ago and Freeman looks EXACTLY the same (the movie was a 1995 release, 18 years ago… I’m going to say it… black don’t crack). Cruise looks the same now as he did then too. Their acting styles, predictable, work in this type of movie. You don’t want to distract from the story, though there isn’t much for the human characters to do, at least do anything you have not seen them do before.
We get the typical rhythm of show the world present, reflect on its past, hint at the devastation event, twist and resolution. Just like that. It’s decent but not great.
So the movie is worth seeing though not in theater. This seems more like a Redbox night type of film.