Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Starring Tom Cruise and Olga Kurylenko
Reviewed by Derek Scarzella
4 out of 5 Arnolds
The last time Joseph Kosinski gave us this much eye candy it was his Daft Punk makeover of the Tron series, Tron: Legacy. That was a pretty amazing first movie, visually dazzling in every frame, but oddly hollow when it came to the actual people involved. With Oblivion he aims high again, this time bringing his own unpublished graphic novel to life on the big screen.
The story is simple, until it’s not. Earth is a barren wasteland after human beings won a costly war against invaders. Everyone is now on Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon, and giant cold fusion machines are sucking up Earths water to power our new home. Tom Cruise plays Jack, a “tech” who wanders a section of planet earth fixing drones that hunt and kill aliens. All is going well until a collection of humans fall from the sky and Jack must save them before the very drones he protects destroys them.
Somehow Spielberg gets the best out of Cruise
and everyone else gets a misplaced actor.
Olga Kurylenko is Julia, one of those survivors. When she gets thrown into the mix (along with Morgan Freeman as Beech), you really need to put your thinking cap on and follow the plot carefully, because the details are not spelled out for you.
Which is why I think this is one of the greatest sci-fi films of the year, if not the decade. It takes its core concept and runs with it. It manages to do so without becoming a confusing mess along the way (looking at you, Prometheus). It makes you ask questions because of what you are seeing, not because it’s convoluted.
The movie is also stunning. Kosinski already proved he can make amazing visuals, but here he delivers a much more robust sci-fi story that manages to venture into new territory emotionally and delivers far more intense action. When compared to the glossy but bloodless Tron: Legacy, this movie travels to new heights. Seriously, its attention to visual and plot details sells it over and over again.
Some elements do show weakness, however. The films over reliance and sentimentality drag it down at times, trying to manipulate the viewer’s emotions. Tom Cruise gives a good performance, and yet, at times he just doesn’t seem to fit his surroundings. The same cannot be said about Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, and Morgan Freeman. That core cast, along with Nikolah Coster-Waldau (of Game Of Thrones fame) create performances that pull you in and make you feel for this desolate world.
Is it Action A Go Go or Action A No No? ACTION A GO GO!
But that’s me nitpicking. This movie is a dazzling experience for all the right reasons and you should see it in IMAX. There are some minor quibbles but those are the only things keeping this movie from getting 5 out of 5 Arnolds. Kosinksi has proven once again that he is capable of making sci-fi movies. More impressively, he did two of them in a row.