Will Tom Cruise get critical kudos for three films in a row? Probably not. “Oblivion” is not nearly as good as “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” or “Jack Reacher.” But, it looks great. Especially in IMAX.
And, it will probably make some decent box office. Cruise is enjoying a renaissance as an action star. And, this could have been another great project, especially acting opposite Morgan Freeman.
Unfortunately, they didn’t get the story right. The first three-quarters of the film is very predictable. And, despite a couple of nice twists in the last act, it’s not enough to counterbalance that predictability.
Okay, here’s the basic plot (free of spoilers, I hope): Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper, a security and technical expert assigned to protect the remnants of Planet Earth in 2077. The Earth and Moon were mostly destroyed by aliens known as Scavs. Harper lives thousands of feet above the Earth with his communications officer and lover Victoria (Andrea Riseborough). Humans have left the earth to the Scavs and live on a space station as they prepare to move civilization elsewhere. So, Jack fixes drones designed to protect an operation that extracts the planet’s remaining resources. Jack and Victoria are literally the last humans on Earth.
If I go into anymore detail, that will give away the huge “secret” the filmmakers would like to protect. It’s a secret that most people would figure out before the first ten minutes of this two-hour-plus film has passed.
There are still plenty of reasons to like “Oblivion.” The film is gorgeous. It looks like a very expensive sci-fi film. Tom Cruise is totally engaged as an actor. And, rest of the cast looks and sounds nice. Morgan Freeman is well, Morgan Freeman. He’s always great. It’s the fatally flawed screenplay that sinks “Oblivion.” Grade: C-