Tom Cruise does not try science fiction often, but when he does, the results are mediocre at best; until now. Oblivion would have to get much better to be mediocre.
Most reviews include a brief synopsis of the story, and with that, possible spoilers for the reader who have yet to see the movie. No risk of that here. First of all, don’t see the movie. Second of all, the story is a mess. That is synopsis enough.
There have been many summer science fiction films over the years that have been simple brain candy films full of excitement and energy. Oblivion has neither. It may occasionally be fun to look at, but that is about it.
The talents of Cruise and Morgan Freeman, who appears to be the antagonist for part of the film, are simply wasted here, as are the lesser-known Andrea Rise Borough, who plays the effective teammate to Cruise’s robot repairman Jack, and Olga Kurylenko, who plays Julia, the woman who conveniently comes from Jack’s dreams into his life.
Ok, yes, there may be some spoilers in the last paragraph, but it should not matter, because you shouldn’t see this movie.
Director/co-writer Joseph Kosinski has created a film with a 126-minute story that is so convoluted it may confuse some audience members, but is sure to create apathy in all. Add to that, one-dimensional characters and subsequent performances, and you have a collective shoulder shrug by the audience. The result is sad, due simply to the fact that there is so much squandered potential here, and a clear desire of the audience to like this product. In an effort to add depth to what could have been a fun story, Kosinski, much like what the aliens have done to Earth in the film, has stripped the plot of the resources necessary to sustain life.
Oh, stop complaining! Yes, there is another spoiler in the last paragraph. Don’t spend your money on this film and it won’t matter.
Recommendation: Ultimately what you have here is a wasted opportunity that will be on TBS before the summer is over. If you want Tom Cruise in science fiction, you would be slightly better off with Minority Report or War of the Worlds (2005), though, in the case of the later; the 1953 version is a superior film.
Don’t bother. There is much better science fiction coming in 2013.