Oblivion looks great on the IMAX screen. But the story—while mildly interesting—is not compelling. Plus, like many sci-fi films, Oblivion has a couple of head scratchers in the story.
The setting: 2077. Tom Cruise as Jack Harper resides in a gorgeous residence atop a tower overlooking what’s left of earth. Seems some pesky aliens attacked us earthlings and while, as Jack mentions, “we won the war,” the planet is generally uninhabitable. In two weeks, Jack and his partner, Victoria (played by beautiful Brit Andrea Riseborough), are destined to join other refugees on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.
Jack heads off to work each day via his phallus-shaped aircraft. Okay, many aircraft are phallus-shaped, but this one is downright Freudian. Victoria stays in touch via headset and touchscreen. Melissa Leo shows up on that touchscreen, in a primitive TV feed from a distant control center, frequently asking Victoria, “Are you an effective team?”
But trouble rears its head when Jack, on a drone repair mission, sticks his nose where he shouldn’t. Because the drones know he’s a “good guy” they refuse to attack him. So he stands between a drone and a sarcophagus containing a woman he knows from somewhere. Oh, yes! She was, in a former life, Julia, his wife! (Played by Olga Kurylenko.)
As memories begin to reemerge for Jack, the plot begins to get convoluted. If you become confused, don’t worry—there are plot summaries online to help you out. Some sci-fi geeks will embrace this movie and others thumb their noses, as they frequently do to movies which are not titled Bladerunner.
Oblivion’s redeeming qualities? It looks great! That glass house in the sky, with its cool pool, is one of the best movie homes this side of Tony “Ironman” Stark. Some of it was shot in Iceland, which has some gloriously stark landscapes. Morgan Freeman adds his beloved mug and his classic voice to the film, but has just a small bit of facetime.
Of course, the main reason to see the film is Tom Cruise. There are better actors in movies today, but very few who light up the screen like Tom does when he flashes those choppers.
One more thought: when you see Oblivion sometime down the line on Blu-Ray or HBO or even TBS, you might think to yourself, “Wow, I bet this thing would’ve looked good on the IMAX!” You’d be correct.