Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, and Michael Arndt
Stars: Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, and Morgan Freeman
It is the year 2077. Through voiceover we discover humans have fought and won a war against an alien race. But the victory came with a price, the earth itself. Mankind has resettled on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The only two remaining humans on earth are Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) and Jack (Tom Cruise). Together they serve as technicians that maintain the drones left behind to protect the hydrogen fusion plants from the scavengers–the last of the alien invaders that still roam the planet. In two weeks, when their mission is complete they will depart to the Tent, a large space station orbiting the planet where the remainder of humanity resides before heading to Titan.
Jack and Victoria function as a working married couple. Together they live in a home base in the sky. Victoria mans the base while Jack flies around the planet to repair damaged drones. Both report to Sally (Melissa Leo), their control officer stationed in the Tent. But Jack is haunted by dreams of a different time and place. It has been sixty years since the war and Jack was not born before it. Yet he has dreams of New York before the fall and meeting a woman at The Empire State Building. He is drawn to the earth and its ruins. Unbeknownst to Victoria he has created a home in ruins of a cabin by a lake where he has collected different items throughout his tour: books, records, paintings, and pictures.
But one day something different has happened. After stopping a transmission from the scavengers aimed out to space, an old capsule drops from the sky and lands at predetermined coordinates. Once Jack arrives there he discovers humans in stasis, but is only able to save one after the drones arrive to destroy the scene. The one he saves is occupied by the mystery woman of his dreams, Julia (Olga Kurylenko).
Oblivion is a beautiful film with fully realized visuals. Joseph Kosinski, the director, has a definite aesthetic for his art direction. Unfortunately, much like Tron: Legacy, his films are all style and no substance. You leave the theatre not really caring for the characters. At 126 minutes, the film feels the entire length of its running time. Editing the film down fifteen to twenty minutes may not have aided with adding substance to the characters, but it at least would have improved the overall pacing of the film.
As for the acting, it is solid across the board. Tom Cruise carries the film well, and his relationship with Andrea Riseborough as Victoria is believable. You understand how the both of them can be together, and understand the differences they have as people and ultimately what they are looking for. Cruise and Kurylenko also develop a good chemistry together for the short amount of screen time they have together.
Oblivion is more an homage to previous Sci-Fi films than an original effort on its own. Here is a little bit of Hal from 2001, and a bit of the Mother Ship from Independence Day, and lets throw in a few visual cues from Planet of the Apes and Omega Man, and a twist from Moon.
Overall this is a solid–and expensive–“B”-movie.
Grade = B-