Released in various overseas markets (including Australia) a week earlier than in the US is probably a smart movie by Universal Pictures, as love or loathe him, Tom Cruise is a true movie star who continues to impress. Off screen indiscretions aside, he can act.
Entering back into the sci-fi arena for the first time since War of the Worlds (2005), Cruise is exactly that, on sombre cruise control. In this action adventure, his character is mostly subdued (for a reason?). He plays Jack Harper, a former Marine who is part of a clean-up crew of “techies,” working to maintain drones that extract the remaining natural resources from a post-apocalyptic desolate earth sixty years after an alien war wiped out most of the civilization.
It remains a high risk situation as there are always threats from an alien race known as the Scarv.
Jack lives in a floating space station above earth, and it’s only a couple of weeks until this particular mission ends. Upon discovering a woman inside a crashed spacecraft during a routine inspection, assorted unexpected events begin a chain reaction of “Twilight Zone” occurrences.
Jack is captured by a cigar chomping 102 year old mystery man Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman), who springs further surprises on Jack and his actual existence. These “truths” enlighten Jack and the viewer, changing the tempo of the film dramatically.
As to keep spoilers from this review, I will refrain from explaining too much more of the plot as Oblivion is still not a bad film, just no classic as the excellent trailer may have suggested. Some of the twists are recycled plot lines from a number of other films of that genre; fans will have little trouble spotting them.
Jack has two beautiful leading ladies to share equal screen time with, former Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko and friend of Madonna, Andrea Riseborough are significant in their opposed roles.
Freeman charges through his extended cameo with astute style, while Game of Thrones regular Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is an eclectic addition to the cast. He accelerates proceedings to say the least.
As you would expect from the director of Tron: Legacy, the effects are superior visuals and thankfully not in 3D.
Cynicisms aside, Tom Cruise is a quality performer turning Oblivion into a definitive movie worth seeing on the biggest screen you can find. The story stays interesting, even if some moments become quite familiar.
Oblivion releases in theaters and IMAX on Friday, April 19th.
Shane A. Bassett is a contributor for TheYoungFolks.com. Read more about him on our Partners & Contributors page.