My better half and I stayed up late enough to catch the 12:01am showing of ‘Oblivion,’ starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and (the very Adele-ish) Andrea Riseborough. I’ll admit; I’m usually a sucker for a well-produced sci-fi film, and this was a well-produced sci-fi film.
That being said, I came away feeling that Cruise and Freeman turned in rather flat performances and failed to make it’s audience feel an emotional bond to their characters – which is CRUCIAL , particularly for Cruise’s character, Jack. Freeman I can forgive, as his role was rather limited; but an actor of Tom Cruise’s stature shouldn’t be outperformed by a relative unkown in Riseborough, and yet she outshined him.
The story takes place about 60 years on a post-apocalyptic future Earth. We’re led to believe that after an alien invasion and war, the human race had won but also to had flee Earth en masse because of nuclear radiation poisoning most of the world. Apparently we had to nuke the “scavs” (the aliens) to chase ’em off.
So while almost all of Earth’s inhabitants have apparently relocated to Saturn’s moon, Titan, Cruise’s Jack Harper, paired with Riseborough’s Victoria, are the last humans on Earth, living on a futuristic home above the clouds on a platform, there to repair drones and pumps extracting the last of Earth’s resources for use elsewhere. While they were assigned to work together, obviously a bond had developed between the two over the years they’d been assigned to do their job – which is to wind down, as the movie begins, in two weeks.
The problem is, Jack keeps having flashbacks that take him back to a time before the war – 50 or more YEARS before the war – and a woman’s face (Olga Kurylenko’s Julia) – not Victoria’s – evokes emotions that he can’t figure out. To top it off, on a mission to retrieve a lost drone, Jack stumbles upon humans living in a rather large enclave below ground – despite his being led to believe he and Victoria were the last humans on Earth. That’s where we meet Morgan Freeman’s character, Beech.
That’s where I’m going to leave the synopsis, because there’s a few twists in the story that are worth you waiting for when you see this movie.
The bottom line? ‘Oblivion’ is a great story on a well-designed canvas, but Cruise’s flat portrayal of Jack Harper doesn’t endear a viewer to riding the emotional highs and lows that would come with the story. I’m gonna score ‘Oblivion’ with two and a half paws out of a possible four. Not a “dawg” of a film, but not pure pedigree, either.