Oblivion Review


Poor Tom Cruise.

Everything this fallen hollywood behemoth used to touch turned to gold, but that was a long time ago in cinematic galaxy far, far away.

So I was as surprised as anyone when his new sci-fi epic Oblivion turned out to be his best film since the original Mission Impossible all those moons ago.

And, even more shocking, Cruise is pretty damn good.

The year is 2070 something and earth has been devastated by a nuclear war with an unknown alien tribe.

Humanity won the war but lost earth in the toxic radioactive fallout, which lead to the remaining population all doing one to Saturn’s most earth like moon, Titan.

Of course, starting civilisation anew is an energy sapping affair, so mankind has set up some giant mechanical devices that hover above our oceans and hoover up what’s left of earth’s natural resources.

Only problem being some of those nasty alien invaders survived and are still hell bent on disrupting humanity’s new, evolutionary curve.

For some reason, these scavengers still think there’s a war going on.

So this hoovering up process requires some murderous drone support, as well as human supervision of said drones, which is where Jack and Victoria come in to the equation.

This happy team live in a floating apartment in the sky, with Jack tasked to fix any mechanical breakdowns and Vicky co-ordinating his earth missions project from their futuristic living space.

But Jack has this recurring dream about a woman who is most definitely not the one he’s sleeping with.

Still, being a good military sort, Jack’s happy enough to suppress this dream and just follow his orders; namely, fixing all the broken bits of technology these alien scavengers keep on destroying so he and Vicky can join the rest of earth’s survivor’s on Titan.

Our Jack’s also a curious sort though, far more than Vicky who refuses to return to earth, and he wants to see what happened to his home planet with his own eyes.

Oblivion is the new film from Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski and, just like his previous new sci-fi adventure, it looks amazing.

Admittedly, everything at the Imax looks pretty amazing, but when it comes to cinematic spectacle sci-fi films are in a universe all of their own.

The execution of Kosinski’s own screenplay is pretty breath-taking to see and, for a film with as big a budget as Oblivion, I was also impressed by the subtlety of these special effects.

It’s so easy for sci-fi films to get carried away with what they can create in a studio and forget that the action is supposed to serve the story and not the other way round; but Kosinski keeps this in check, making sure the journey his characters take is the main event through some proper character development.

Of course, this isn’t enough on its own; what you really need is a hero you can believe in and a real human being who you’ll buy into the journey they take.


Tom Cruise used to be the best in the business at this, until success and other less than scientific things derailed him from delivering these kinds of performances for the past two decades.

But in Oblivion, Cruise goes back in time to deliver a believable performance as Jack, a man who’s desperately trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle that don’t quite fit.

It’s the first time since I can remember that Cruise has become his character in a film, instead of simply playing Tom Cruise in another of those Tom Cruise shaped vehicles.

Sharing this load are Andrea Riseborough as Victoria, Olga Kurylenko as Jack’s dream woman, Game Of Thrones second sexiest Lannister boy Nikolaj Coster-Waldau adds some Danish beef while Morgan Freeman does his usual thing of being the classiest actor in any film he’s ever been in.

The only down notes are the score that simply plagiarises Hans Zimmer’s Batman Begins Soundtrack in the opening scenes, how I wish Kosinski could get Daft Punk to do the music for all his sci-fi films, and the final couple of scenes involving Tom Cruise could have been better, or even not included.

Still, Oblivion is a great film to go and see at a cinema, and has even managed to stop feeling sorry for Tom Cruise.

Hell, if he keeps this up, I might even start looking forward to seeing his movies again.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2013