WRITTEN BY: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt
DIRECTED BY: Joseph Kosinski
STARRING: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
RATING: 2 stars
I'm being very kind with this two-star rating, only because Oblivion is visually quite stunning. Director Joseph Kosinski showed audiences what he could do stylistically in Tron Legacy, which looked great but ultimately failed to engage most people. In Oblivion, he expands on that skill, providing some great cinematography and visual effects. However, in all other respects, including plot and acting, Oblivion is an awful film. The storyline takes so many odd twists and turns that it barely makes sense in parts. Kosinski worked on the screenplay with two other writers, which only served to convolute the story, rather than sharpen it. Ultimately, Oblivion tried to do too much, and as a consequence, it failed to achieve much of anything.
Oblivion is set in 2077. About 60 years earlier, aliens attacked the planet and humans used nuclear weapons to fight back. Humanity won the war but earth was left mostly uninhabitable. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last people left on earth and works on fixing drones, which are flying machines that kill remaining aliens, and collects earth resources for humans who are now living on Titan, a moon of Saturn. Jack has just two weeks left until his mission is complete and he can join people on Titan, but as he soon discovers, things are not quite as they seem. The plot gets quite complicated but I won't give away any spoilers.
Lately, it seems Cruise is doing just that – cruising through mindless action films and giving uninspired performances. Just because you're one of the biggest movie stars in the world does not mean you can be forgiven for such a long run of woeful films. He needs to do better to justify his big pay-check. Meanwhile, I'm dumbfounded as to why Morgan Freeman agreed to be in this film in a small but pivotal role. Surely this was a simple money grabbing exercise for him. Andrea Riseborough was good in parts but lacked any real empathy overall as Jack's sidekick and love interest, while Olga Kurylenko was beautiful but boring as Jack's other love interest. Both women are used more as pawns rather than key players in the film – it is always about Jack and his motivations.
Oblivion is just over two hours long. I got bored after the first 20 minutes. There were parts that were interesting and entertaining, but I doubt I will even remember this film a few years from now.