Director Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion”, or as I like to call it, Tom Cruise’s newest movie starring Tom Cruise, is as generic a science fiction movie as it can get. It’s predictable, mundane and really only serves as an ego boost for Cruise, as he is literally in every single scene of the movie without fail.
The story/plot/film follows the final “mop-up” crew on an Earth ravaged by self-inflicted wounds suffered during a failed alien invasion. Jack (Cruise) and Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are on droid maintenance duty. The mission is uneventful until a crashed ship bearing humans in cryogenic sleep comes under attack by the very droids Jack is tasked to look after. The machines claim every life save one, a woman whom Jack remembers from a recurring dream, leaving him to question what he really knows about his mission.
Despite my necessary attempts to hold back any spoilers, some have probably figured out where exactly the story goes from here because it has been done before in some way or another. Throughout this movie, every “twist” was a clich?d trope of the science fiction genre, which made the movie extremely predictable.
In as popular a genre as science fiction is, it’s understandable for certain themes to be used by differentt creators when they find an original way to express those themes. Simply pulling a bunch of different themes together and throwing them into the same movie isn’t creativity; it’s laziness. Aliens attacking Earth, cloning and artificial intelligence bent on the extinction of organics have all been seen time and time again in movies like “Independence Day” and “I, Robot”. “Oblivion’s” writers, Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt, make no attempt to make these elements stand out in this movie.
While there were other actors in the movie, the only one who stands out is Cruise, and it’s not because of the quality of his acting. Even Morgan Freeman’s screen time lasted maybe thirty minutes as literally every second of Oblivion was focused on Cruise. I understand that he was the lead role; however, even lead actors share the spotlight in order to keep things fresh with new faces and altering points of view as opposed to focusing on the same actor throughout the entire two hour-film. I’d like to say that some of the scenery of a ravaged Earth was actual enjoyable, yet the poor [SM1] acting distracted from enjoying even that.
It would have been better had the lead actor actually excelled in his role as opposed to consistently trying too hard to play the badass science fiction hero whom everyone loves. This point is expressed perfectly in a scene where Jack clears an entire hanger of droids, practically single-handedly, because apparently no one else knows how to dodge oncoming gunfire. While the unlikely hero is a common archetype, this scene was just ridiculous as a mere droid engineer was capable of acrobatic maneuvers and surviving the impossible while the actual soldier characters were getting wiped out with ease.
Oblivion is a definite pass as its predictable and overused plotline are only made worse with Tom Cruise’s attempts at being a good science fiction hero. Sorry Cruise, but you’re no Han Solo. Oblivion gets 1 out of 5 paws.