Do you like science fiction films? 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Total Recall, Demolition Man, Independence Day, The Matrix, Moon, Wall-E? Any of those? Good. If so, you'll probably dig Tom Cruises' new film Oblivion. It's basically the bastard child of every major sci-fi film from oh, about the last 50 years. The familiarity factor makes sitting through Oblivion kind of fun...until that sensation morphs into a frustrating case of deja-vu.
It should be said that Oblivion has some good things going for it. First, the film is blessed with some amazing cinematography. I can't stress enough how gorgeous this film looks. Next, whoever designed the robotic drones deserves a high five in my book. Sure, they look like R2-D2 and HAL from 2001 on steroids, but they're just creepy as fuck and really stand out as one of the coolest elements of the film. Finally, Tom Cruise has two uber hot female costars who looked beyond gorgeous filmed in 4K. Cruise does his typical action hero stuff quite well here, again...like always. This leads us to some of the film's many problems.
Tom Cruise is too old for this shit. Like I joked in my Mission Impossible 13 review, Tom Cruise is just too old to believably sell this stuff anymore. Yes he's still in great shape, he's handsome, he does his own stunts and saves orphans from burning buildings between takes, but that's the problem! He's Tom Cruise man! Over the course of his *gasp* four decade long career, he's done it all. I've lost count of how many times I've seen him shooting guns, getting blown up, driving fast cars/motorcycles/jets and now space ships. Christ, this is his second movie in a row where he's plays a guy named Jack. When the plot of your movie "borrows," so heavily from other films, the last thing you want is for the film's star to start plagiarizing himself as well.
|"Now THIS is pod racing!"|
Oblivion basically goes like this:
Oh look, Ethan Hunt from Top Gun is totally winning this pod racing scene. HAL/ Dr. Zaius turned David from Vanilla Sky, into Arnie from Total Recall. So Morpheus is Dr. Ian Malcom and Minority Report guy is Will Smith? But I thought he was Neo?
Well that was fun...and kind of nauseating. So Oblivion is a way cool action/pop corn flick with amazing visuals that pays serious, like major league, homage to great sci-fi films of yore. Tom Cruise is competent as Tom Cruise but I really wish he'd age gracefully and start taking some meaty dramatic roles again. His films have already grossed something like 7 billion dollars...what else does he have to prove? Born on the Fourth of July, A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, Collateral...remember those Tom? Come back to us. Please.