In Oblivion , Tom Cruise stars as Jack, a veteran stationed on what remains of planet Earth to repair security drones. The planet has become uninhabitable due to ecological disaster and nuclear war. Jack and his mission partner, Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), protect mining installations from Scavs, aliens who seek to destroy all humans and their tech. When Jack finds a human survivor in a crash landed spaceship, he begins to question everything he knows.
Not surprisingly, the film is very derivative of the creative team’s previous work, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wrapping in just enough ideas of persistent memory and identity with some seriously awesome action sequences, you can sit back and remember how summer blockbusters used to be awesome.
It’s possible that much of this film’s success is in its trailer, which appears to give away a lot, but really gives away nothing. The trailer sets up a certain expectation and it certainly delivers on those plot points, but the second half of the film turns from a Tron: Legacy mixed with 1968 Planet of the Apes style film into genuine, pure sci-fi.
Most interesting about Oblivion is that while it has a fairly large cast, the film rests almost entirely on the strength of Tom Cruise’s performance – something we haven’t seen since Minority Report. His strange affect of late seems to have left him, leaving audiences satisfied by at least shades of the old Tom Cruise. (Seriously, he doesn’t make the “crazy eyes” once the entire movie. I think they got him a coach.)
Cruise’s two largest supporting cast members, Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurlenko, do variable jobs of their roles. While Riseborough is excellent as Harper’s team partner, Victoria who seethes with love and duty, Kurlenko is kind of useless, seemingly cast in the film only for the purpose of having a very good looking McGuffin for the story.
Perhaps most satisfying is the time the story takes. The story takes its time, and even though it feels like a long movie (it clocks in around two hours, but feels longer), this is not a downside. When you come out you feel as though you have spent time in another world, which is the purpose of good cinema, quite frankly. The IMAX experience only enhances your immersion and belief in the story, making it totally worth the ticket price.
Is Oblivion opening weekend worthy?
Absolutely. Not only is this the first great blockbuster of the 2013 summer season, but it’s a deeply satisfying sci-fi movie that is more than worth the IMAX ticket price. See it with a crowd to share the energy created by action sequences that can only be effective on the big screen.
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