OBLIVION: A Twisty, Ticking ‘Tom’…

Score.

Though one has to feel for Oblivion, the latest action catapult from some guy named Tom.

The film has got everything going on for it but.. time. Time, why, because blockbuster sequels and superhero movies have taken over the conscience of both nerds and “normal” people alike, whether they want to admit it or not.

One of the real locations in the film. Yum.

Oblivion goes the wayside when one witnesses the trailers — that both hit the net Tuesday — for Star Trek: Into Darkness and Man of Steel. There’s just something so emotionally electric in both of those previews that this latest film from Tron: Legacy director, Joseph Kosinski, just doesn’t have.

We’re supposed to cry at the end of Oblivion, and we probably won’t.

Is it because of Mr. Ray Bans? No. Tom Cruise not only adds another notch to his already impressively legendary filmography, he scores another win in his reign as the Greatest Action Actor to Ever Live. Sure, that’s a mouthful, but, really (at $61 million first day globally) no one’s ever been able to knock out consistent hits like this since Teddy Ballgame — in addition to doing a majority of his own stunt work, at the ripe age of 50, mind you.

Insane.

It’s obvious Tom knew what he was doing when he signed onto this film. Actually, he was told by Kosinski that Oblivion was green-lit and ready to roll when, in fact, the only thing official about the flick’s development were the pre-production designs that Cruise ogled over. When fans get a chance to see the film — particularly in IMAX — one thing’s for sure: you will be mesmerized by the absolute gorgeous world Kosinski created.

In addition to the stellar twists that save Oblivion from becoming standard science fiction fare, Tom appreciated the wondrous Icelandic locale. Monday night, Cruise offered his thoughts to Hero Complex Q&A moderator and LA Times film writer, Rebecca Keegan, on the beauty of Oblivion — besides the pristine, model-looking cast — to “unique mountains, real clouds and sunsets that were shot from cameras on top of a volcano. Oblivion wasn’t [just] CGI. Its reflections and emotion carry a certain haunting beauty and [such] a unique aesthetic that I wanted to be a part of.”

One of the real locations from the film. Yum.

And without a doubt, Kosinski picked the right guy to play Jack “Don’t call me Reacher” Harper, a blue-collar drone repairman searching for something more than just evil extra-terrestrials. That something follows a war 60-years into the future that left Earth nuked despite the fact..”we won.” Harper has his share of obstacles to overcome, including a deranged Mission Operator played by Melissa Leo (The Fighter). But nothing haunts Harper more than his own mental state, where his conscience floods of constant memories of a normal life, a normal New York City. Those pieces of mind become the clues we the audience have to piece together, in addition to little trinkets Harper picks up along he way.

Unfortunately, none of these pieces come to glue when the curtains close shortly after the 2-hour mark.

This mental intrigue is portrayed astutely by Cruise, however, and the use of Kosinski’s chest of scientific toys don’t hurt either, helping gel much of the script’s exposition. “Everyone like a laser gun every now and then,” Tom pans during Monday’s Q&A. “I just hope someone invents the [exotically impressive in-movie] pool and bubble ship. Especially the bubble ship — I’ll even test pilot if you want to!”

This reviewer loved him some bubble ship, but was most impressed by the droids; especially since these little metal critters are not the droids we know from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” cartoon. Yes, these bots are actually intimidating, dangerous and hauntingly persistent. Along with the cool ships and motorcycles, to which we can’t blame Cruise for non-stop gawking over (“a fine piece of jewelry”), these droids prove to be the most impressive gadgets. Though, Harper’s toughest antagonist in the film may just be… oh we can’t spoil that now, can we!? Cruise does hint at it best, though, with a classic Tom smile: “I never did a fight like that…and never will.”

Now, the question remains whether audiences will fight the urge to go see Oblivion, or merely wait for more Trekkie Darkness.

3.5 (out of 5) Bibles. A lovely looking film, which will be hard to beat for many Art Direction categories come award season. Tom Cruise does a bang-up job as Jack Harper, and proves he’s the best action hero alive, if not all time. The supporting performances differ, with typical magic from Mr. Morgan Freeman and the typical eye-candy stillness of Olga Kurylenko. Kosinksi has himself a great career ahead of himself if he allows someone else to write the plots for him, ’cause the story was one cliche too many. Better dialogue and we’d get a better film. His Sci-Fi creations are pretty mighty and a joy to watch on screen. If you like Tom (and lord knows if that many people do), and you’re a fan of “Minority Report,” “Tron Legacy,” or just about anything Sci-Fi really — and can afford both this and ST:ID — then give this one a chance.

 

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post